Three regional business leaders who have embraced innovation, social media and digital technology to grow their business will join Heather Mills on this year’s EMCON Industry Leaders’ Panel Debate.

The theme of the event will be ‘Transforming Business and Embracing New Technologies’.

Valda Goodfellow, Ryan Maughan and Steven Parker will all take part in the question and answer session, which follows Ms Mills’ keynote speech.

The Engineering and Manufacturing Network (EMN) panel debate has been organised in association with EMCON delivery partner Jackson Hogg Recruitment.

Valda Goodfellow is Managing Director of Goodfellow and Goodfellow, a fine dining specialist catering provider which counts some of the country’s leading Michelin star chefs and restaurants as well as five-star hotels among its customer base.

The Peterlee-based company, which has also seen its products appear on the likes of Great British Menu and MasterChef, has predominantly built up its multi-million-pound business using social media and digital marketing.

Ryan Maughan is Managing Director of Cramlington-based AVID Technology Group, a leader in the design and manufacture of electrified powertrain components and systems for heavy-duty and high-performance electric (EV) and hybrid vehicles (HEV).

Steven Parker is Managing Director of Digital Allies, which from its headquarters in Gateshead services clients in a range of sectors including education, retail and e-commerce, leisure, hospitality and professional services.

The company is a full-service digital marketing company that supports its clients in all elements of digital marketing, encouraging them to embrace digital as an important tool in their growth.

Richard Hogg, Managing Director of Jackson Hogg Recruitment, said: “We’re delighted to confirm that Valda, Ryan and Steven will join Heather Mills for this year’s panel debate, which will look at digital and social media as tools to boost business growth.

“All four panelists have embraced digital technology and marketing and have massively reaped the rewards as a result, so it’ll be interesting to hear what they have to say.

“Each will no doubt have different experiences to share and we think for anyone interested in learning more about how embracing new technologies, online branding and effective social media profiling can support business growth should book their place.”

David Land, Chairman of EMN, will introduce the panel members. He said: “Having Heather as our keynote speaker is a fantastic coup and we’re very pleased to be able to announce that hugely successful regional business figures Valda, Ryan and Steven will join her.

“Having individuals of their stature, whose reputations within the business community very much proceed them, is testament to the growth our event has undergone in recent years and will further enhance EMCON’s ability to attract the biggest and best names from the engineering and manufacturing sectors.”

This year’s EMCON takes place on Thursday, October 10, at the Xcel Centre in Newton Aycliffe.

Stadler Rail UK is once again this year’s headline sponsor while Business Durham maintains its gold sponsorship status.

Other sponsors include GOM, Lumo Tax and Horizonworks, which are all silver sponsors, and Lemon Top Creative, Air Compressors and Blowers North and E-Max Systems, which are bronze sponsors.

For more information on the 2019 event visit