Devon & Plymouth Chamber welcomes two new Vice Chairs to our Board

Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce has appointed two new Vice Chairs in Paul Philpott and James Smith.

Paul and James will hold a joint position on the Chamber’s Board of Directors, after Tim Jones’ decision to stand down from the role.

The Board is voted for by its members in regular elections. They are experienced, knowledgeable and leaders in their fields, providing the Chamber and its members with strategic and practical direction and advice.

Board members help make key decisions on strategy and each brings a certain specialism that provides expertise to the different functions of the Chamber.

Richard Stevens, Chair of the Chamber Board, said: “I want to thank Tim for his dedication and service to the Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce Board.

“I know that Paul and James will bring the same dedication and enthusiasm to the role, and look forward to working with them and our other Directors to help businesses throughout the region to connect, grow and succeed.”

Paul is Managing Director of Fresh Air Studios. A former presenter for Plymouth Sound Radio (many years ago), he turned his love of audio into creating one of the UK’s most respected independent production companies.

A driven, creative and passionate business owner, an avid supporter of all things SME and dedicated to delivering the absolute best level of customer service, innovation and support to clients and collaborators. 

The firm is proud to have a portfolio of national clients like Three, Royal Mail, two major universities and two of the top five banks.

Fresh Air Studios also produces the Chamber’s ‘In Conversation With…’ series of podcasts, as well as collaborating on a number of exciting projects and events for its members.

Paul lives in Plymouth with Gary, his partner of more than 25 years, and enjoys fitness (kickboxing in particular) wine and travel – with Budapest being a destination favourite.

He says: “I am truly delighted to be appointed Vice Chair, and am very much looking forward to supporting the Chair and our brilliant board of Directors. Of course, the most exciting part is having the opportunity to serve our membership at such a level.

“The Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce is a gem in the BCC (British Chambers of Commerce) network, and works tirelessly to support the region, lobby government and ensure our members are represented – including amongst other regional and national business organisations.

“Our diverse business community is hugely talented. We have national and multinational firms, yes, but we mustn’t forget the high proportion of SMEs and micro businesses in our region. We must also recognise and not be afraid to acknowledge diversity, and I can confirm the door to our Chamber is open for all, where the warmest of welcomes awaits.

“As an SME business owner myself, I feel it should be noted that the Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce strongly supports the importance of SME/Micro in our region (recognised in part by engaging my role as Vice-Chair), and I welcome any questions, comments or ideas, that you’d like to have raised to the board or membership.”

James, meanwhile, spent 22 years in the Royal Navy before launching Primal Europe Ltd in 2012. Since then he has been growing that organisation through Brexit and more recently the pandemic. In 2018, he completed his MSc in Strategic Business Management and became a Fellow in the Chartered Management Institute.

Two years ago James launched his own consultancy business, which has been integral in supporting entrepreneurs who want to import and introduce new brands into the UK market. This has included the new Perry eHopper eBike, which is available in GOOutdoors and Wiggle, along with the new Perry P4 e-scooter.

He also recently completed his PRINCE2 Practitioner course, along with his Managing Successful Programmes Course.

James says: “The Chamber is an integral & positive part of the community, local people connecting, supporting growth and creating space for success is something I am so proud to be part of.”

Find out more about the Devon & Plymouth Chamber board here.

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