People: Optimum Finance; Ramsdens Solicitors; Hawkswell Kilvington; and more

Optimum Finance, a provider of invoice finance solutions to UK SMEs, has promoted Paul Green to senior regional director.

He will be supporting Optimums’ national head of sales, Iain Hendry, in both guiding and helping to further grow the sales team.

Whilst this is a national role, Green, based near Leeds, will continue to have a particular focus on the North of the UK, where he has an established and valued network.

He said: “As an industry, we hold the keys that can unlock funding for vast numbers of UK businesses, many of which may not even know that invoice finance exists.

“Businesses need to ensure they receive the right type of funding at the right time, and invoice finance can play a pivotal role in this.

“I’m looking forward to taking this new position and helping even more amazing UK businesses.”

Hendry added: “Paul’s promotion recognises his contribution to the business, and we look forward to seeing him support us in reaching new heights.”

Green joined Optimum Finance three years ago as a regional sales director, with particular focus on the northern regions.

Prior to this, he worked within Business Development teams at both RBS and HSBC, introducing Invoice Finance to local businesses and SMEs.


Ramsdens Solicitors, which has 11 offices across Yorkshire, is continuing to build on the success of its private wealth team with the appointment of James Knowles as partner.

With over 20 years’ experience as a private client lawyer, Knowles joins from the York office of Knights, where he was a partner in the tax and wills and estates teams.

He also spent more than two years as a partner with Langleys Solicitors and over six years at Weightmans.

His areas of expertise include capital tax planning for high-net worth individuals; complex will drafting; succession planning; and managing trusts. He also specialises in long-term care planning, and estate administration.

Chris Reynolds, partner and head of Ramsdens’ private wealth services team, said: “As we continue to build the expertise of our private wealth team, James’ extensive knowledge of business succession planning will further strengthen our services to business owners, and individuals.

“James is a well known figure in the private client arena in both North and West Yorkshire, having worked for some of the large, national firms, and his strong network will be invaluable, helping us to grow our presence across the region.”

Knowles said: “Joining the Ramsdens team is an exciting opportunity to help build the brand as a leading firm in Yorkshire and raise awareness of the extent of our private wealth offering.

“I’m looking forward to being part of a traditional law firm which focuses on people, whether by providing an outstanding service to clients or helping to develop talent within the team.”


Yorkshire-based niche construction law firm, Hawkswell Kilvington, is continuing its organic growth with the promotion of Prudence Walton and Samantha Murkitt to the role of associate within the firm’s contentious and non-contentious departments.

Partner at Hawkswell Kilvington, Tom Salter, said: “Since joining the firm in 2020, Prudence has gone from strength-to-strength and is already an integral part of the disputes team.

“Her promotion is testament to the hard work she demonstrates internally and with clients, handling a wide range of matters across a broad spectrum of dispute resolution forums, including adjudication, mediation, and litigation.”

Walton said: “I am really pleased with the promotion and look forward to continuing my work alongside some very talented and inspiring people.”

Murkitt, who specialises in providing non contentious construction advice, said: “I am delighted to have been promoted and I am really looking forward to continuing to develop and grow alongside the firm.”

Rachel Heald, partner, added: “I have worked closely with Samantha for several years and it has been great to watch her gain in experience and confidence over that time.

“Samantha now handles a variety of complex and interesting work and regularly receives repeat instructions from her clients. Her promotion to associate is very well-deserved.”


York-based railway engineering and design company, PBH Rail Group, is expanding its rail infrastructure services.

It is introducing a civil engineering division and appointing Gary Robson, an experienced industry engineer, to spearhead the new team. 

With 25 years in the rail industry, Robson is joining the PBH Rail Group from Spencer Group and will be taking on the role of managing director for the Civil Consulting group company, tasked with developing the team and growing the business stream.

The new division and appointment come after a successful 2023, which saw the group’s annual turnover increase by 10% to £11m. The new Civils division will sit alongside the existing Survey, Overhead Line (OLE), Track Engineering and Permanent Way teams.

As a chartered engineer and fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Robson brings a portfolio of experience and qualifications to PBH Rail and will focus initially on integrating the new Civils division with wider business activity. 

Offering tailored solutions in design, construction, and engineering in civil infrastructure, the Civils division will bolster PBH Rails’ expertise in the industry, delivering tailored, full-service rail engineering. 

Robson said: “I am honoured to be joining PBH Rail. I have collaborated with the team on many projects in the past, and our shared mindset in terms of our approach to projects, clients, and staff made the decision to join PBH Rail an easy one.

“I am also hoping to continue to develop younger professionals entering the industry to help to address the skills gap within the industry, which is currently a real and critical issue.

“Over the years, I have held supervising civil engineer roles for the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and managed local training programs to bring new professionals into the industry.

“Moving forward, my plan is to build a team in a way to help the PBH Rail Group develop and mentor professionals, planning for long term security of skills, knowledge, and resources.

Managing director at PBH Rail, Mark Bonner, said: “We are thrilled to be embarking on what feels like a new chapter for the business.

“I have worked with Gary on numerous projects previously, and his commitment, dedication, and knowledge of the rail industry is inspiring.

“His role within the PBH Rail Group underpins our commitment to delivering full-service rail infrastructure consultancy and making the rail industry more accessible and enjoyable for current and future professionals.”