People: Savills; Stone Junction; Alwayse Engineering; KPMG

Jack Cooper

Savills has announced the appointment of Jack Cooper to the rural agency team in its Telford office.

Cooper joins the firm’s growing rural division as an associate, after spending eight years working as a land agent at Balfours LLP.

RICS chartered surveyor and fellow of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV), he will focus predominantly on buying and selling farms across Shropshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire and North Wales on behalf of clients, working alongside rural director, Rhydian Scurlock-Jones.

Scurlock-Jones said: “We are delighted to welcome Jack to the farm agency team at this busy time. His experience in rural properties, sales and valuation is a huge asset to our clients, as are his contacts in and around the West Midlands, Cheshire and North Wales, which will no doubt benefit our existing and future clients.”

Jack Cooper said: “I am delighted to be joining Savills, serving Shropshire and the adjoining counties. The company has a longstanding reputation for providing best-in-class service and I’m looking forward to contributing to that. We already have some exciting new instructions to launch and anticipate a busy market across the West Midlands and beyond this year.”


Specialist engineering and science PR agency Stone Junction has hired a medical technology news editor Ian Bolland as an account manager as part of the company’s growth plans.

The Stafford-based agency has hired Bolland to bring his expertise in MedTech journalism, podcasting and trade shows.

Bolland joins after five-and-a-half years working on life sciences titles, as editor of Med-Tech Innovation News, as well as overseeing Medical Plastics News, hosting the MedTalk Podcast and contributing to European Pharmaceutical Manufacturer magazine.

Ian Bolland

His previous experience aligns closely with Stone Junction’s client roster, many of which operate in the MedTech sector.

He said: “As a journalist covering the MedTech industry, I’ve been privileged to see exciting developments in new recyclable materials, technologies that diagnose and treat conditions ranging from insomnia to Parkinson’s, and how the sector is navigating the changing and uncertain regulatory landscape. I can put this insight to work to help generate the attention that Stone Junction’s clients in this industry deserve.”

Leah Elston-Thompson, account director at Stone Junction, said: “Having worked closely with industry leaders, Ian’s network and insights will help drive current client success and support our growth in the MedTech market. One of our key objectives is to change the ways businesses market themselves — having built a relationship with Ian during his time as an editor, we believe he has the skills and ability to help us deliver strong science PR campaigns that help us do just that.”



Claire Umney has been appointed as the new managing director for Alwayse Engineering (Alwayse).

Umney, who took up her role in January 2024, brings with her a wealth of experience after holding leadership positions throughout the warehousing and logistics industry, most recently as managing director of Breathe Technologies (formerly Conveyor Networks) following 13 years at AEB International.

Her appointment follows the acquisition of Alwayse by Lifco AB in March 2023.

Claire Umney

Umney will work closely with David Mickelson, Chairman for Alwayse and Martin Linder, Lifco’s head of business area.

Additional senior hires include James Turner, who has joined Alwayse as head of sales UK & Ireland, who will report directly to Umney and will oversee the company’s UK sales team.

Claire Umney said: “As industry battles with the aftermath of a generational energy crisis, coupled with an urgent need to drive productivity while increasing employee wellbeing and loyalty, low-cost high impact solutions can play a vital role in unlocking efficiency. Ball transfer units provide a fast, easy-to-install offline solution to a variety of manual handling challenges without increasing power demands for end-users across a diverse install base – from air cargo and logistics operations through to advanced manufacturing and robotics.

“I am excited about the challenges that lie ahead – both building on the success of the last 85 years and in working alongside the talented team here at Aston to write the next chapter in the Alwayse Engineering story.”


A former KPMG UK trainee has returned to the firm as a director to help support tax dispute clients across the Midlands and beyond.

 Vicky Topps, who returns after 14 years, has taken on the role as Director in KPMG Law’s Tax Disputes team, and plans to use the knowledge and skills spent working at HMRC to help a wide range of firms of all shapes and sizes.

Vicky Topps

 Her most recent role at HMRC saw Vicky acting as deputy director overseeing the Large Business Midlands region, looking after the compliance affairs of 340 of the UK’s top 2000 businesses.

This work ranged from listed entities and household names to large privately owned groups, including utilities, companies, breweries, pharma companies, construction companies, transport and logistics.

 Topps was drawn back to KPMG UK because the tax disputes team at KPMG Law (2023 winner of Tolley’s Tax Awards for Best Tax Disputes team) have a great track record for dispute resolution.

 She said: “I was interested in working as part of a multidisciplinary team, which includes some dispute people with tax backgrounds, but also those with legal skills, and who have together been recognised for being ahead of the pack. The team are committed to growing the practice in early dispute resolution and advocating alternative dispute resolution as a tool to resolve issues through our mediators here.”

 Stuart Bedford, head of KPMG law in the UK, said: “It’s an exciting time to be at KPMG Law; not only as part of the rapidly growing and evolving UK Legal Services market, but also as we look forward to the opportunities Generative AI brings to the legal profession, ourselves, and our clients.

 “As we transform the ways we deliver trusted legal advice to clients, our people will continue to be our differentiator. There has never been a more critical time to ensure we focus on growing our business with high-calibre lawyers who see the advantages of our ‘Law plus’ model, which enables us to leverage the expertise of our colleagues in Tax, Consulting, and Deal Advisory to help create business solutions to legal challenges.”

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