Meet the
AMF Team

Our Team

Connect with industry experts in advanced manufacturing

Richard Swart

AMF Chair - Recently retired Global Sales and Quality Director, Berger Group, CEO Berger Closures

AMF Chair, Richard has more than 30 years’ experience of working in industry globally. He recently retired as Global Sales and Quality Director at the stock-listed Berger Group Europe, which manufactures metal closing rings for industrial packaging. Berger has 16 locations around the world, supplying over 50 countries.

Richard arrived from South Africa to set-up Berger Closures in Peterlee in 1988 on behalf of the German parent company. He went on to head the group in Germany, establish a new business in China - over a 5 year-period - and until recently managed key global accounts for the group, normally involving constant global travel.

Richard also Chairs the Open North Foundation – a not for profit organisation that he founded in response to supporting North East businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic. As well as being a well-connected and experienced individual Richard provides a voice to AMF members and supports collaboration between businesses.

In March 2023, Richard was appointed a Visiting Professor in Business and Law at Northumbria University.

In July 2023, Richard was appointed one of His Majesty's Deputy Lord-Lieutenants for County Durham.

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Rachel Mansfield

AMF Vice Chair - Global Service and Innovation Director, Tracerco Ltd

A Chartered Chemical Engineer, with almost 20 years’ field, management and leadership experience within the oil and gas sector, Rachel is joint AMF Vice Chair. She is also Global Service and Innovation Director at Tracerco where she is responsible for product management, development and innovation, as well the safe, efficient, and effective delivery of Tracerco’s specialised nucleonic measurement products and services.

Rachel’s non-core manufacturing background enables the AMF to view its future direction through an alternative lens which is focused on diversity and further broadening the reach of the network, both within industry and geography.

Rachel is building upon the AMF’s great track record in bringing together organisations and increasing the network’s reach in manufacturing, engineering, service and supply chain industries.

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Alan Metcalfe

AMF Vice Chair - Commercial Director, Zenith People

Alan is Commercial Director of recruitment company Zenith People and Zenith Training and works with and advises many of the North East's leading manufacturing companies whether global organisations or SMEs, carrying out large recruitment drives as well as advising on HR, skills, and training issues common to a lot of manufacturing businesses. Zenith Training is a sister company specialising in H&S and other training. Alan is also Vice Chair of the AMF and is keen to support all members not only with their recruitment and training needs but also on general business advice and of course collaboration.

Alan is also Chair of the South Tyneside committee of the North East Chamber of Commerce and is well connected to help with business introductions and networking. Originally an Engineer with Siemens, Alan’s passion are Engineering and Manufacturing, North East business as a whole and ensuring young people in particular get the right careers advice in choosing careers.

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Arthur Hodgson

AMF Forum Manager

Arthur has first-hand experience of the manufacturing sector and is skilled in relationship management having worked for leading North East organisations including Nissan, Arriva Ford, The Mussel Club and the North East Chamber of Commerce.

Arthur works with the board and strategic partners to support the needs of AMF members and further grow the forum.

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Jamie Gamble

AMF Board Member - Partner, Ward Hadaway

Jamie Gamble, Partner at law firm Ward Hadaway, specialises in employment law and provides advice to a wide range of clients, including many involved within the manufacturing industry. His experience includes acting for a major car manufacturer on the outsourcing of logistics and call centre operations and acting for a European manufacturer on the restructure of its UK senior management team following its purchase of the UK company. Jamie regularly shares his expertise on employment, HR, and staffing issues in the manufacturing sector for AMF members.

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Alastair Wilson

AMF Board Member - Tax Partner, MHA Tait Walker

Alastair is a Tax Partner and Board Member at MHA Tait Walker which is an accountancy firm with six offices in the North East of England. MHA is the UK member of the Baker Tilly global network of firms, providing MHA Tait Walkers clients with access to global advice. Alastair is a member of MHA’s national manufacturing sector advisory group and he advises manufacturing businesses throughout the UK on domestic and international tax issues. His role includes advising on tax reliefs which are pertinent to manufacturers such as R&D Tax Reliefs and Capital Allowances, and also current topics such as facilitating international trade.

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Brian Tait

AMF Board Member - Operations Director; HVR International

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Peter Shiels

AMF Board Member - Director, Phoenix Steel

Peter is Director of Phoenix Steel, a role in which he implements modern manufacturing techniques to help expand the business.

Peter has previously served a craft apprenticeship in Gateshead manufacturing power generation systems for the nuclear power industry, as well as holding various manufacturing roles, and working at Nissan in a QA role for almost 20 years.

Rachel Skeoch

AMF Board Member - Director at True North

CIM accredited with 10 years of industry insight, Rachel is a specialist B2B Marketing Consultant with a wealth of experience from start ups and scale ups to global FTSE 250 firms. Having worked in house managing marketing and communication strategies for some of the region's leading engineering and manufacturing brands, she holds a Masters Degree in International Politics and is a keen advocate for boosting the competitiveness of the north east business community on a national scale.

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Tom Coverdale

AMF Board Member - Head of Design & Development; Ebac

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Connecting manufacturers and providing support to drive collaboration.

The AMF provides an extensive range of benefits, insightful events, and exclusive opportunities to support our members in growing and developing their businesses.

Join us


Our events provide expert insights, practical tips and advice on specialised areas

From our Monthly Meetings to our Focused Forums, each of our events sees guest speakers share their real-life experiences and first-hand knowledge of the things that effect your business. With networking and Q&As, our events allow you to connect with and learn from leading industry experts.

Find out more


4:00 pm

Other Event

AMF Social at 3 Sixty Piano Bar, Hadrian’s Tower, Newcastle


12:00 pm

Monthly Meeting

AMF; April Monthly Meeting


9:30 am

Making Owt

Let’s Torque & Walk – South Shields


12:00 pm

Marketing Forum

AMF Marketing Club – Working Lunch


12:00 pm

Business Improvement Forum

AMF visit to Akzo Nobel, Ashington


12:00 pm

Monthly Meeting

AMF; May Monthly Meeting


9:00 am

Technology Forum

AMF Cyber Bites Breakfast event at ITC Services