Grant Thornton unveils faces of a vibrant economy in the West Midlands

Grant Thornton unveils faces of a vibrant economy in the West Midlands

Business and finance adviser Grant Thornton has unveiled its inaugural list of people who are helping to shape a vibrant economy in the UK, one which realises the shared potential of businesses, cities, people and communities nationwide.

In the West Midlands Paul Dransfield, Dr David Hardman MBE, Talisha Johnson, Dave Maclean and Guy Mucklow have been named as Faces of a Vibrant Economy. 

The list has been curated as part of Grant Thornton’s purpose to shape a vibrant economy, and unlock the shared potential of the nation by working together with government, businesses and communities.

These Faces have been photographed by Magnum Photos, the international photography cooperative, as a celebration of the contribution they are making to a more vibrant economy.

The inspiring faces of the West Midlands are:


Paul Dransfield, Birmingham City Council

As strategic director responsible for major programmes and projects at Birmingham City Council, Paul Dransfield has been at the forefront of some of the most significant redevelopment schemes in Birmingham, including the £600m redevelopment of New Street Station. Paul’s work includes projects as diverse as the development of the Life Sciences Campus in Selly Oak and the relocation of Birmingham’s wholesale markets. He is dedicated to facilitating collaborative working and forging diverse professional networks across the city.


Dr David Hardman MBE, Innovation Birmingham

Dr David Hardman, MBE, CEO of Innovation Birmingham moved to the city in 2008 to build on the legacy of the third oldest science park in the UK. He has done just that by transforming Aston Science Park into Innovation Birmingham, a focal point for the city’s digital innovators and entrepreneurs. David’s focus has always been on taking leading research and finding ways to apply it commercially, but he is most proud of Innovation Birmingham, which has been heralded “a model for the next generation of science parks”.


Talisha Johnson, Skool Girl, Birmingham

Talisha Johnson is founder and editor of Skool Girl Online, a magazine which connects thousands of young people to articles on business and enterprise, style, health and beauty, book and TV reviews. A graduate of the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy, Talisha received the Aspire Award in the West Midlands’ Women of The Year Awards 2015 and is former executive producer for the annual Celebrating Youth Excellence Awards, an event that recognises the positive achievements and contributions of exceptional young people in Birmingham and the West Midlands.


Dave Maclean, Packt Publishing, Birmingham

Packt Publishing provides books, ebooks, video tutorials and articles for IT developers, administrators and users. As CEO Dave Maclean is leading a business that is helping to democratise the learning space around IT; sharing learning for the benefit of us all and giving new coders and developers the chance to learn the trade. Packt is a co-founder, supporter and helps to run LoveBrum, an innovative charity engagement membership organisation that connects members to local grass roots volunteer-led causes, with members voting for the recipient causes.


Guy Mucklow, PCA Predict, Worcester

PCA Predict is a check-out optimisation and data-cleansing specialist, which attributes its success to its innovative approach. This innovation, which co-founder Guy Mucklow describes as being at the core of everything that PCA Predict does, delivers a check-out service that increases online conversion rates and boosts efficiency. Guy and his team have built an internationally recognised web brand by taking control and shaping their own future. It is Guy’s belief that business has and should play a wider role in giving back to the wider community.


David Hillan, practice leader at Grant Thornton in Birmingham, said: “Earlier this year we set out a clear purpose to shape a vibrant economy, and we know that no one organisation or individual can do this alone. Following the result of the EU referendum it is even more important than ever that we all work together to help the UK to build upon its strengths and ensure that our economy continues to grow.

“We are connecting and convening these inspirational figures to help us unlock the true potential of the West Midlands. Instead of seeking out the challenges, and focusing on the problems, we believe that by sharing inspiring examples from businesses, government and communities, we can look at how to replicate these across the UK for the good of the economy, and the communities in which we live and serve.”