Operations Director


I would like to use my experience of 34 years in the Army and 8 years directing the operations of Carlton Lodge Activity Centre to help organisations to deliver improved operational performance and to offer alternative approaches to problem  solving and planning.

After I left School in 1973 I worked to save money to go to Australia in 1974. I worked in Perth, Melbourne, Victoria, Sydney, Cairns and in South Australia. I returned in November after 10 months and went to  the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in January 1975. I was commissioned into the 5th Royal Innisking Dragoon Guards and served with my Regiment on and off until 1997. After amalgamating with the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guard in 1992, I became the 2nd Commanding Officer of the Royal Dragoon Guards in 1994. 

In 1997 I then ran a training facility, the Command and Staff Trainer, where we ran exercises to practice Battlegroup and Bridade Comanders and their staff in planning  and decision making during the simulated excecution of their plans, in order to help them prepare for major exercises and operations. At that time I completed a diploma in performance coaching, business, through Newcastle College. Using what I learned through this course and wider reading, I began to use questioning to  coach the different staff cells at different levels of the headquarters to  tease out what they were doing and why. This helped them to change their focus from doing process for processes' sake to becoming focused on contributing to their commander's plan. Over time my team and I developed 7 simple questions that needed to be addressed to come up with a plan. The 7 Questions, as an approach to planning, or as a framework for thinking, was adopted into Army Doctrine and since 2001 has been taught to all ranks from Corporal to Brigadier.

In 2001 I moved to the MOD and became responsible for ensuring the non-equipment lines of development(People, Training, Doctrine/Concept of Use, Logistics and Support) for the Services' new Digital Radio and supporting Applications were properley developed to enable the full capability of digital communications to be fully exploited. I learned 3 importand lessons for working in a large organisation; first that my job was to help get problems solved by the person with the power and cash to solve them; 2nd that the 7 Questions gave me a useful framework for problem solving meetings with the interested parties; 3rd that if I got an e mail that had been passed to me from more than 3 people, I would walk it backwards and found that I often got more than the original issue resolved. 

I was, after this Job, promoted to Colonel and went to work as the chief of Staff to the Director General Training Support, who was responsible for individual and collective Command, Staff and Staff training of Battlegoup/Formation Commanders through learning and practising scenarios both through sinthetic simulation and for real on field training exercises to prepare them and their assigned forces for operations; I was at the same time Commander Warminster Garrison with a separte Headquarters. While in this post I met a Professor from Surrey University who was interested in using the 7 Questions for his focus on Defence reseach projects and more widely. After a day explaing their suitability he invited me to apply for a visiting Professorship at Surrey University, a position I held for 4 years. 

I left the Army in 2009 and took up the post of Head of Carlton Lodge Activity Centre, part of the Charity, North Yorkshire Youth ltd. As Head of Centre I am responsible for dealing with new and repeat customers, processing their bookings, going out to new customers to present to teachers, parents and children about their residential coures of adventurous activities. I am responsible for ensuring my 2 mangers, and their staff have the information required for the delivery and deconfliction of all the bookings we have each week. As one of two senior managers, I assist the Chief Executive by being a member of the marketing, Health & Safety, Site deveplopment and fundraising committees with Trustees. In my 8 years, I have learned the importance of cash flow, ensuring excellent customer relations and achieving a consistently high standard of delivery of the service.

I am a pragmatist and outcome focused in my work and enjoy coaching people to help them do their jobs in a more efective and efficient way at the operational level. I believe in 'walking the job' to engage with employees at every level. I am interested in working in both the public and private sectors, and charities/the 3rd sector. I believe that I have a broad range of experience working in small, medium and large orgainisations that, along with my 7 Questions approach, equip me to contribute to a  wide range of orgainsations as a Non Executive Director.


  • Charity/Not for Profit
  • Education
  • Manufacturing & Industrial
  • Technology, Telco & Internet
  • Sport, Leisure & Travel
  • Government - Central and Local
  • NHS & Healthcare
  • Corporate Responsibility
  • Business Transformation
  • Professional Business Services
  • Procurement


  • Operations Director
  • Non-Executive Director/Chairman


  • Start up
  • Early stage
  • Up to £5m t/o
  • £5m - £15m t/o
  • £15m - £50m t/o
  • £50m t/o +



Head of Centre North Yorkshire Youth Ltd January 2009 - Ongoing

I served 34 years in the Army 1975 - 2009. I was Commanding Officer of The Royal Dragoon Guards from Nov 1994 - Feb 1997 serving in Germany and Northern Ireland on an operational tour for 5 months. I then spent over  4 years training commanders and their staff in planning and decision making. In so doing I changed the approach to planning for operations for all ranks from Corporal to Brigadier. I did 3 tours in the MOD as a major in the Army Personnel Centre, as a Lieutenant Colonel, working on the non equipment lines of development of the Army Digitization programme and finally as a full Colonel responsible for the Organisation & Devevelopment of Service personnel working in or for the MOD. My first job as a Colonel was Chief odf Staff to the Major General Commanding the Land Warfare Centre responsible for the Collective Training Organisations in UK, Germany, Canada, Kenya and Belize; at the same time I was also Commander Warminster Garrison. 

I left the Army from my final job in the MOD to become Head of Carlton Lodge Activity Centre, part of a charity, North Yorkshire Youth Ltd. The Activity Centre has 12 Acres, including accommodation for up to 100 plus and extra 40 camping; the site includes a large lake, a High Ropes Course, a Zip Wire, a low Ropes Course, Archery Ranges and lots of wooded and field space for other adventurous activities. As the Head of Centre I direct the operation of the bookings for up to 6,000 young people a year. Our customers include Schools, Youth Groups, Special Needs Schools and Groups and occasional Corporates doing day and residential programmes of adventurous activities. I deal with all our customers from enquiries, to bookings and throughout the delivery of the bookings. The Centre earns around £500K per year. During my time as Head of Centre, with the CEO and the Head of Youth Development, the business has been turned round from making a loss of £40K in 2010/11 to making a surplus of  £50K after depreciation and loan repayments in 2015/16. This has been achieved by reducing the management posts and increasing bookings and income from Youth Development activities. My interest is very much in the operations side of the business and leading my staff to working in an integrated and synchronized way. I intend to remain working at Carlton Lodge for at least  another 6 years.  


Planning and Decision MakingDuring my time training Army Commanders and their Staff, I used questions to help subject matter leads to understand what they were doing and how it contributed to the overall plan as well as encouraging them to think about the impact of what they were doing on the other subject matter leads. The purpose of this coaching was to ensure different cells were working towards the achievement of the mission in an integrated way and not is silos. Over time this


pscHM Forces ArmyDecember 1987I am a graduate of the Army Staff College
FCMIChartered Management InstitueMay 2007I was a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute 2007 - 2016