Meet the
AMF Team

Our Team

Connect with industry experts in advanced manufacturing

Richard Swart

AMF Chair - Global Sales and Quality Director, Berger Group

AMF Chair, Richard has more than 30 years’ experience of working in industry globally. Currently he is 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 currently manages 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.

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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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Samantha Vassallo

AMF Board Member - Managing Director, Horizon Works

Samantha Vassallo is Founder and Managing Director of Horizon Works, a full-service business to business strategic marketing agency that specialises in working with businesses from the manufacturing and engineering, healthcare and life sciences, technology, and professional services sectors. Samantha has managed and delivered high profile marketing and PR campaigns for a diverse range of businesses regionally, nationally, and internationally. Utilising her experience and industry knowledge Samantha also hosts the AMF’s quarterly Marketing 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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Eddie Czestochowski

AMF Board Member - Managing Director, Cell Pack Solutions

Eddie is Managing Director and Founder of Cell Pack Solutions Ltd, a specialist in the design and manufacture of custom battery packs.

After obtaining a HND in Electrical Engineering at Manchester Polytechnic, Eddie spent 12 years working in a number of technical sales roles within the battery industry before he launched his own company, in 1998.

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Brian Tait

AMF Board Member - Business Unit Manager, Marshalls

Brian is the Business Unit Manager for Marshalls Landscape Protection, part of Marshalls plc. He is a Chartered Engineer and received the NEBOSH ‘Workplace Safety’ and ‘Overall Best Candidate’ award. Brian successfully runs a manufacturing business that designs, manufactures and installs landscape protection systems and landscape furniture. He is motivated by improving people and processes and has experience in Business Improvement, Quality, Health & Safety and Environmental systems. Additionally, he has significant experience in process engineering after starting his career as an apprentice at Swan Hunters.

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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.

HOW WE CAN HELP

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

UPCOMING EVENTS

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

14/10/2021

1:00 pm

Process Improvement Forum

Staff Development – Coaching

20/10/2021

12:00 pm

Monthly Meeting

Elis – Staff Culture and Adapting to Change and Process Improvement – Site Tour

25/10/2021

12:00 pm

Other Event

Wellness at Work Webinar: The Science of Mindfulness

28/10/2021

11:00 am

Technology Forum

Technology in Manufacturing – Practical Industry Insights – TBC

11/11/2021

11:00 am

Business Improvement Forum

Business Improvement in Manufacturing – Practical Industry Insights – TBC

17/11/2021

12:00 pm

Monthly Meeting

The Expanded Metal Company – Pioneering Metal Mesh Products for More Than 130 Years – Site Tour

24/11/2021

12:00 pm

Marketing Forum

Marketing and Sales Teams Working Together to Drive Results with Horizon Works

26/11/2021

12:00 pm

Other Event

Wellness at Work Webinar: Self-Confidence for Success