Britain’s Energy Coast names new boss

West Cumbria's economic development agency has recruited Steven Szostak from Regenerate Pennine Lancashire as chief executive.

Szostak replaced acting chief executive Tom Gilroy who returned to Sellafield Ltd following a secondment of two-and-a-half years.

Originally a town planner, Szostak was deputy managing director and head of investment at Regenerate Pennine Lancashire, the economic agency for east Lancashire. His responsibilities included establishing a countywide Regional Growth Fund initiative, managing land and property operations, acting as east Lancashire's inward investment lead officer for Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and establishing new income streams.

He previously worked for Doncaster Central Development Trust, Business Link Bradford & District Ltd and Blackburn Council.

He also edited three TV documentaries including 'Changing Places' for BBC which celebrated mixed cultures in Bradford as part of the Eid celebrations in 2004.

Szostak said: "I'm relishing the opportunity to bring my experience and expertise to the huge challenge that lies ahead for West Cumbria and Britain's Energy Coast. My passion has always been to help build stronger, business-friendly economies that improve the job and career prospects of local people. West Cumbria is in the extremely fortunate position of facing huge investment in the local nuclear industry and has all the ingredients to grasp opportunities in Clean Technologies, in particular wet renewables. BEC exists to help build a strong and diverse economy that brings benefits to all and I'm honoured to be leading the organisation in this exciting period."

Britain's Energy Coast was created through the merger of West Cumbria Development Agency, West Cumbria Development Fund and Westlakes Properties. The organisation plans to maximise the potential of the energy sector in West Cumbria following a 15-year blueprint.

Outgoing boss Tom Gilroy said: "I'm immensely proud of what I and my team have achieved in the past few years and I'd like to pay tribute to their hard work and determination during this time. I always said my focus was to bring these organisations together, to get traction into our packed programme of projects and to develop a clear and understandable strategy for the future – the West Cumbria Economic Blueprint. With these key tasks achieved it is right for me to hand over to someone to take the organisation forward. Steven has a solid background in economic development and – backed by a strong executive team – will be well equipped to lead BEC during what will be a tough yet exciting time."

Szostak is supported by David Jones, head of projects, energy and business support; Tim Hirst, head of property; Andrew Martin, head of finance and administration; and Luke Dicicco, head of communications and inward investment, who are in turn supported by 30 members of staff.

Britain's Energy Coast is funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Nuclear Management Partners and Sellafield Limited to deliver socio-economic developments across West Cumbria. This includes business support programmes funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Linkstart for start-ups and Backing Businesses to help companies grow, and the Sellafield-funded Energy Opportunities Supply Chain projects to help the West Cumbrian nuclear supply chain to strengthen and diversify.

BEC also delivers support to encourage energy innovations as well as funding for major capital schemes including the Britain's Energy Coast Construction Skills Centre, Lillyhall; the Albion Square office complex, Whitehaven; and significant improvements to the Port of Workington.

The organisation also owns and operates Westlakes Science & Technology Park near Whitehaven and managed workspace at Workington and Blencathra Business Centre in Threlkeld near Keswick.

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A sadly neglected, yet beautiful part of the country. Let’s hope things continue to improve from here with more economic traffic channelled into this area. Trevor Green –

By Vision Impact

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