Ashford Economic Development Group

Group Members

  • Nettie Buss (Chair), Kennedys Accounting
  • Andrew Osborne, Ashford Borough Council
  • Dan Sherlock, Furley Page
  • Jason Rainbird, Flowbird
  • Maria Callow, Alexandra Patrick
  • Peter Heritage, McArthurGlen Ashford
  • Richard Lavender, Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce
  • Richard Stafford, Stafford Perkins Chartered Surveyors
  • Sharon Norman, Azets
  • Steve Garnett, Greenman Solar Ltd
  • Susan Bonett, Ashford College
  • Tim Sheppard, Smart Support

See the latest minutes here

Nettie Buss

Nettie joined Kennedys Accounting in 2015, bringing her background in business management, which encompasses a experience in banking, business development and business support, having also supported start-ups and previously worked for a CiC.

Her extensive experience in the running and development of companies is where her passion lies and she enjoys working directly with business owners.

Nettie is also on the local board of East Kent College as well as Chairperson for the Ashford Economic Development Group. An avid fan of Tennis and Rugby as well as playing golf.

Andrew Osborne

Andrew Osborne, Head of Economic Development at Ashford Borough Council – Andrew looks after the Economic Development team at the Council that includes, Tourism, Town Centre Regeneration, Arts and Cultural Industries, Heritage and Economic Development.

Andrew is also an integral part of the team leading forward the Council’s Super Six Strategic Projects, including the Ashford International Studios – Newtown Works, and Brompton Bikes projects.

Dan Sherlock

Dan is a lawyer and Partner in a leading regional law firm, Furley Page, working locally. He lives in the area and specialises in dispute resolution & construction.

Dan started his legal career by training and qualifying into a commercial litigation practice in Mayfair, London where he was regularly representing clients in the High Court before leaving for a family life outside the capital in Kent.

Dan successfully developed a client base nationwide and internationally over the following 20 years prior to joining the firm in 2023 to expand the team’s offering.

Jason Rainbird

Jason began his Flowbird CRM and Automation Agency journey in his garage ten years ago. Since then, Flowbird has expanded into a team of 11 experts implementing CRM software and empowering businesses in the UK and across the globe.

Spanning nearly four decades, Jason’s background started in sales. So, he understands the importance of CRM.

As much as Jason loves CRM and implementing software, his expertise lies in supporting businesses to achieve their full potential.

Maria Callow

Maria is a marketing consultant and founder of a well-established marketing agency based in rural Ashford.

She lives locally and specialises in strategic campaign management, brand activation and stakeholder engagement.

Maria is a curious, accountable, disciplined, marketer with 30 years’ experience and a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).

She is successful at executing creative, original campaigns and launching new brands to achieve growth goals. An active learner, thriving on identifying innovation and trends to deliver activation plans that have a positive impact.

Peter Heritage

Currently working for McArthurGlen as Deputy Centre Manager of Ashford Designer Outlet, Peter has a broad background including roles for brands such as Debenhams, Topshop, TK Maxx and Matalan. At Debenhams, Peter held various roles including Commercial Manager for Gift Cards and multi-site Store Manager.

Peter has been with McArthurGlen since 2017, where his roles have including Retail Manager positions in Ashford and Cheshire Oaks, before moving to his current role.

Richard Lavender

Following a successful career as an Aircraft Engineer, Richard retired to join the family construction business as its Financial Director. After 11 years with the company, he moved to the newly formed Eurotunnel Group was too much to resist, where he worked his way up to Director of Property Services in UK and France.

After retiring from Eurotunnel, Richard started a Property & Safety Consultancy and remained an active Non-Executive Board Director of the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce for which he is currently President of the Chamber.

Richard has spent recent years introducing Young Chamber into schools across Kent hoping to improve employability skills for school leavers.

I have been a Governor at Mersham Primary School and understand the complexity of our education system.

Richard Stafford

Richard is a Chartered Surveyor who has been practising in Ashford since 1985 and worked for several firms before creating Stafford Perkins in 2016.

Stafford Perkins Chartered Surveyors deal with all aspects of commercial property including sales, lettings and acquisitions, property management, valuation work and some planning guidance.

Richard has been actively involved with Kent Invicta Chamber during the whole time he has been in Ashford and indeed was Chairman from 1998 to 2000 and is still actively involved on the AEDG Committee.

Sharon Norman

Steve Garnett

With Steve’s 20 years in the energy industry and the focus on carbon emissions, Steve now sits on the Ashford Economic Development Group (AEDG) Committee.

He has been impressed at the co-operation between Local Authority, the Chamber of Commerce and business and looks forward to how his expertise in the renewables sector can help shape carbon reduction policy at a local level.

Susan Bonett

Before joining FE 9 years ago, Susan was an experienced Producer with a long history of working in the film and media production industry.

Joining us in the summer of 2021, Susan has become the second Principal of Ashford College under the management of EKC Group.

Now in her third year as Principal, her ambition for Ashford College continues to grow with student success and community involvement at the forefront of the college’s growth.

Tim Sheppard

Tim is a Business Advisor working with SMEs and has over 35 years of experience within the construction industry and business management as both client and supplier. This includes extensive sales, operational and commercial experience culminating in the successful delivery of services to Housing Associations, the MoD, The Highways Agency, local Government and private clients.

With involvement in the delivery of significant change programmes including the mobilisation and operational delivery of multi-million pound service contracts bringing financial success and strong operational performance.

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