17th AUGUST  2021 was roaring success.

In 2020 circumstances were such that face to face events were put on hold but it was Engineering & Manufacturing Networks (EMN) desire to continue with the conference element of our EMCON show and as such created EMCON’F’. In 2020 this was a virtual event that engaged almost 240 persons around the theme of financial recovery with a range of speakers from our sector looking at how they have sustained through what has been a very difficult time whilst planning for a brighter future.

 This year saw the return of EMCON’F’ but we decided to create a live event albeit to a smaller audience using the same format of a speaker line up from our sector that would bring a wide range of expertise on our 2021 theme of ‘digital adoption’.

 The theme brings with it so many different aspects from systemisation to adoption of automation and all that this entails, hence our bringing together of speakers from the engineering & manufacturing community who have already progressed down this route and could share their experience, warts and all.

 This live event was the first of its type during ‘the return’ to normal and was received with welcome from NE businesses with a room full of attendees itching to network, share experiences and discuss their own part of the journey.

 Whilst it was not possible or appropriate to bring everyone together we have created a way of all taking the opportunity to learn from their peers by recording the event so it could be shared on our very own Youtube channel. This has been broken down into very brief sections covering the issues discussed so there is no need to listen to the entire 2 hour session if not desired, just watch the elements that appeal to your own journey.

View our 2021 EMCONF clips here!



Richard Eggington 

Richard has been involved in many areas of the business from shop floor to estimation, Product design and developing and implementing systems such as a full H&S system.

He has since worked in all areas of the business from design to HR to H&S and project managed the large scale expansion of Sotech’s new plant and state of the art machinery including the implementation of a new communications infrastructure and software throughout the business, this included the application, securing, managing and claiming One Northeast funding towards the expansion project.

From 2008 to 2012, he was the Operations Manager, project managing all projects through the business from reciept of order to site dispatch. During this time I undertook a Masters at Durham University in Enterprise Management and developed a new company marketing strategy including managing the implementation of a new award winning website.

Richard Bradley

Richard is co-owner and financial director of one of our regions best known innovative groups of fabrication and machining businesses, Dyer Engineering. He has helped lead the group into new markets and geographies with a wealth of experience gained over many years in the sector. He is a highly competent financial director having previously held the position of European Head of Finance for Formica Corp, Vice Chair of Make UK (EEF) NE and a director of Grange Interiors.

Richard is well known for his passion for the North East, seen in his part of the formation and building of Engineering & Manufacturing Network. He is widely recognised as the voice of the sme having supported a wide range of initiatives including ‘Powered by People’ a value seen clearly in his companies mantra ‘Smarter Stronger Together’.

Kaye Collins

Kaye joined EMN in 2019 and has brought with her a wealth of account management and sales experience, coupled with a strong academic background in marketing.
Her exhaustive experience in supporting manufacturers in their business development plans and economic growth adds a new dynamic to the network.
Working alongside our director of operations, Kaye is a daily point of contact for our businesses addressing their needs and providing proactive guidance on a range of topics.

Mark Coatsworth

General Manager at the Bignall Group

Having started with Bignall in 2018 following a career spent working predominantly in sales for the automotive and heavy goods industries for Global OEM’s and tier 1 companies, Mark now spends his time overseeing the general day to day business operations, sales and future strategy for Bignall Group, a small but diverse engineering firm operating three businesses from their site in Co Durham. Having served an apprenticeship with Tallent engineering I am also an advocate for supporting young people to get into engineering.

David Land

David has gained his experience by working within large organisations in the manufacturing and automotive industry. Starting out as an apprentice at Cummins Engines in Darlington, David developed his career and help high profile positions with responsibility in the UK, Europe and the USA. Since leaving mainstream employment David has co-founded and now directs in two consultancies as well as holding some none executive positions. He now allocates his time between managing those businesses as well as supporting many local organisations in the manufacturing and educational sectors.

David is a strong and pragmatic leader, who is able to identify and understand the needs of the business. Throughout his working career David has developed strong presentation and communication skills, whilst taking on new and challenging tasks. He has a positive approach to resolving situations and has a clear and transparent manner.

Current Business
Drive2Business Owner and Director
IA Growth Director and co-founder
Organisational Support
Chair UTC South Durham
Advisory Board Member Business Durham
Chair Engineering, Manufacturing Network. EMN
Governor University of Sunderland
Trustee Baker Dearing Trust
Chair Stronger Town Board for Bishop Auckland learning

Jim Imrie

Jim joined EMN board in 2016 following an illustrious career in defence engineering and now works with our regions SME’s supporting them as a non executive director across a diverse range of businesses.

Jim’s experience was gained as Managing Director for one of the business units at BAE Systems, working within the UK, USA, Australia, and India. He was also Managing Director of a Type-45 Destroyer project, responsible for managing the profit and loss of a £4bn programme.

Previously he had attained the position of Group Operations Director of Vickers Defence Systems further reinforcing his sector experience.

Sarah Slaven

Sarah Slaven is Business Development Director at Business Durham – a supporter of The Engineering & Manufacturing Network and EMCON event since their conception.

Sarah is responsible for promoting enterprise, fostering the environment for new businesses to start up, and enabling businesses in the county to develop and grow.

Contact us for details of the next event