Simon Middlemas starts his three-year term at a time when there are numerous opportunities developing in the region. The spaceport development at the Moine in Sutherland, several nearby offshore wind farm developments, and a hydrogen production facility at Gordonbush all present exciting prospects for future employment in Caithness and North Sutherland.
Simon has extensive business and personal links with Caithness, previously serving as Naval Superintendent at HMS Vulcan before joining Dounreay in 2004, where he became Managing Director from 2006 to 2012. Simon subsequently became Managing Director of UK Projects with Cavendish Nuclear in partnership with Dounreay, and he has been a long-time supporter of CNSRP and the organisation’s objectives.
He is also the President of the Thurso branch of the Royal British Legion and has instigated the ROSE project. Simon’s contribution to the nation was recognised when he was awarded the OBE in 2003.
Outgoing Chair, Ian Ross said:
“It has been a great privilege to chair the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership and I have very much enjoyed my four years in the role. I congratulate Simon on his appointment. He will bring energy, commitment and knowledge to the role of the CNSRP Independent Chair.
“The CNSRP has an increasingly important role to play in broadening and strengthening the sustainable economy of Caithness and North Sutherland. Much has been achieved, but more is required as the Dounreay site restoration progresses."
Paying tribute to Ian, Simon said:
“I’m very honoured to take over the position of Independent Chair of the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership from Ian Ross at a time where there is so much opportunity for our region, despite the many economic challenges we are all facing now.
“Over the next few months, we will be consulting widely to make sure the partnership is set up to take full advantage of these exciting opportunities locally."
Welcoming the appointment, Peter Faccenda, CNSRP Programme Manager said:
“Simon is well-known locally and brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and enthusiasm to the position, with a strong commitment for a shared collaborative approach. He will help build on the excellent progress of the partnership that Ian has fostered during a period of great uncertainty.
“This coming year will be a period of change for the Partnership. The recent and significant changes affecting the community and businesses following the pandemic make it an ideal time to look again at how CNSRP can best support the economic growth of the area. Having a fresh vision, with strong values will be an important step forward and I’m greatly looking forward to working with Simon to benefit the communities of Caithness and North Sutherland.”