The Lincolnite’s 30 Under 30 celebrates the rising stars in Lincoln and Lincolnshire, with the 2022 edition bringing a new generation of talent, ambition and drive to the fore — making them the young people to watch.
From entrepreneurs to musicians, mental health advocates to sportspeople, our city and county is buzzing with an energising drive from its ambitious young people — and we strongly believe they all deserve recognition for their tireless work.
The Lincolnite, along with our sponsors Sparkhouse, Lincoln College, Ringrose Law and Streets Chartered Accountants, Visual Design & Print and Strait & Narrow are proud to present the 30 rising stars of 2022. They all impressed judges with their inspirational stories and determination to create a lasting legacy in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, and beyond.
The 2022 Lincolnshire 30 Under 30
Scroll down to find out who’s on the list this year — in alphabetical order
Photography by Steve Smailes
DIRECTOR, ROCK RETRO AND PICK VINTAGE WHOLESALE, 25
Adam and his partner Shelley Ayscough have built a recognisable brand and shopping experience in the heart of Lincoln, in a way that helps the planet too.
Rock Retro Clothing sells vintage and retro clothes directly from its Guildhall Shop seven days a week.
It was set up off the back of Adam’s success selling from his bedroom and was expanded in 2020, despite the challenges of the pandemic.
Not only this, the company is a vintage wholesale operation, launched in 2021, supplying second hand clothing to other businesses as an importer of preloved clothes from worldwide sources.
Adam works extremely hard to make improvements. Specifically, he has made Rock Retro more eco- friendly. By nature, the company sells clothes that would be destined for landfill, but it also chooses environmentally friendly wash powder and fabric conditioner, and makes repairs to clothes that would otherwise be unwearable.
Seeing an opportunity to create an event which will provide space for other small businesses, and also showcase the talent of local musicians, Adam and Shelley host kilo sales at The Drill arts venue in the city. The pair have become an institution in Lincoln among young people, and prove that second hand can be both environmentally friendly and on trend.
DIRECTOR, LEGLESS LTD, 23
University of Lincoln graduate Alistair Moss launched Legless Ltd while studying for his Master’s degree. In June 2021, Alistair came to business partners Tom Doherty and Lily Brown with no money, but an idea that would launch them into a world of flourishing retail success.
To begin with, the trio had 500 units of their first product, a daring card game called Let’s Get Legless. With no budget, they managed to market the product, gaining 112,000 TikTok followers, 17,000 Instagram followers and generating over 22,000 product sales in the first year of trading. In addition, they also hired two interns from the University of Lincoln and taught them everything they know about social media marketing.
In May 2022, Alistair came to Tom with another proposal, and Vitmi Ltd was born – a transdermal vitamin patch company. Met with the challenge of selling to a completely different target market and with a vastly different business model, Alistair has powered through, unintimidated by any new territory and learning the new skills required of him.
He has spent hours and hours researching transdermal technology and how to market subscriptions to customers. The business is doing well, down to Alistair’s determination.
OPERATIONS DIRECTOR AND VIDEO PRODUCER, WALLBREAKER, 29
Ashley Wilks is operations director and one half of Wallbreaker, a corporate video production company founded eight years ago with Creative Director Luke Winter.
Ashley works with highly reputable brands and flies the flag for the county worldwide. With more than 11 years of experience, Wallbreaker offers state-of- the art video production for corporate use, advertising, events, products, 3D animation and more.
The company worked with Viavi Solutions, BT and Openreach and Stagecoach producing national adverts, recruitment campaigns and corporate videos.
It is also used to filming emotive subjects, such as with Carers First, and recently directed a music video and social media content for Samsung Galaxy Music/ Universal Studios for artist A1 x J1, as well as filming for a number of celebrities.
2021/22 was the best financial year in the company’s history, and 2022/23 is looking to see an ambitious firm turnover of £500,000.
The pair recently developed SaaS platform My-ROI, which syncs with a company’s accounting software to track conversion rates from marketing channels, as well as metrics like customer spend. The software is currently being tested by a number of Lincoln businesses after securing investment and grant funding, and will be launched to the market soon.
Not only this, the unstoppable duo have created a developing platform called Stage – a project management tool that focuses on the UI of the customer’s experience. Ash and Luke hope it will be useful to web developers, graphic designers and other production agencies.
OPERATIONS MANAGER, ADHD 360, 24
Ashlie Thorpe wields leadership ‘magic’ and skills that her colleagues say ‘could make her a fortune if she bottled them.’ Ashlie joined assessment and treatment provider ADHD 360 as the company’s first hire two years ago. Quickly rising through the grades, she has now grown her team from her alone to 26 members of staff.
As awareness of mental health rises, the help offered for ADHD has also increased. Ashlie has driven quality improvements, setting and maintaining standards for all those who seek guidance. The service is now assessing 700+ new patients a month, a four-fold increase on a year ago, and Ashlie is singularly responsible for operationalising that delivery.
While not a fan of academic learning, Ashlie has developed herself beyond recognition, with the company’s support. Graduating with management qualifications and role specific achievements underpins her capability to come out of her comfort zone.
Ashlie is said to carry herself with humility and an enriching knack for communication. She has the ability to coach and develop those around her, many of whom are older and more experienced. She manages ‘up’ with aplomb and is greatly respected by her peers. Leading by example, Ashlie’s empathy with 360’s patient group is inspiring.
Ashlie is now on a path to become the company’s Chief Operating Officer, with complete oversight of what will be 70 employees.
OPERATIONS DIRECTOR, FEATURED GROUP, 27
Bradley McKenny is the Operations Director and co-owner of Featured Ltd, which includes advertising and marketing agency Distract (founded with business partner Peter Watson in 2015), conveyancing firm Fletcher Longstaff (acquired in 2020), Mortgage company Rippled (launched in 2020) and healthcare business Certified Health (2021).
From a young age, Bradley and his business partner Peter Watson wasted no time in stacking up experience with leading media agencies and the pair started their first company while still at university.
Bradley’s marketing experience began in his teens, and he offered freelance graphic design online at just 16. He also interned at industry-leading advertising media agencies in London such as BBH, VCCP and Posterscope.
In addition, Bradley volunteered as a Youth Board Member to the Ideas Foundation, a charity that widens participation and diversity in the creative industries.
Bradley has gone on to be one of the most exciting young entrepreneurs to watch in recent years, with a sharp eye for opportunity, by taking risks and proving himself with outstanding results. The portfolio of businesses he and Peter have created echo their hunger for scalable ideas, and their determination to bring them to life.
Expanding into recruitment, property and pharmaceutical markets demonstrates Bradley’s eye for opportunity. An incredible amount of work has gone into each of the pair’s companies, and Bradley has proved himself as a worthy winner of the 30 Under 30 accolade for the third time.
CEO, SUNSCORCHED STUDIOS LTD, 20
Calvin Parsons is already four years into his goal to put Lincolnshire on the map as a credible hub for the British gaming industry.
As CEO of Sunscorched Studios, a remote gaming studio in the Lincolnshire Wolds, Calvin manages an international team of 11 developers, working on survival horror game Negative Atmosphere. The game, which is dedicated to tension and dread, builds on the nostalgia of 90s game Dead Space.
The game, which began as a GCSE project when he was at school in Louth, grew through his work around his studies, his creative talents, through skills to connect with the online gaming community and all managed from the spare room of his parents’ house.
SunScorched Studios was formed in April 2019 after attracting the attention of industry giants like YouTuber RoanokeGaming. EGX London also invited him to attend its trade fair, which gave him a major platform to display his project.
Calvin completed his studies with UTC Lincoln during the pandemic, gaining A Levels in Computer Science, Product Design and English Literature. He decided against going to university, choosing to back himself, and now manages a team which spans three continents, learning from contacts across the gaming world.
The team’s 2022 revised pitch, which included a 2-3 year through to 10-year plan, finally won the investment needed, meaning Calvin can realise his dream from the heart of Lincolnshire.
Chris Mark Featherstone
AIR SPECIALIST 1, ROYAL AIR FORCE, 25
At the age of 25, Chris Mark Featherstone has a lifetime of experience and seemingly limitless entrepreneurial flair. The Air Specialist 1, based at RAF Coningsby, went from delivering newspapers aged 14 to waiting tables and launching a drop shipping watch company ‘Featherandstone’ at just 16.
Increasing his knowledge base in investment, stock and real estate markets, social media growth and affiliate marketing, Chris was a self- employed sales executive in financial services and had set up a successful investment company by the age of 19. In this venture, he had the opportunity to travel across Europe and deliver motivational conferences, all while locking in clients.
In April 2021, Chris created a self-titled marketing and PR business, which reached a significant number of sales in the first two months, gaining the interest of national tabloids. He increased his network while working with models, businessmen, influencers and content creators.
Outside of work, Chris has enjoyed judo, football and ballroom dancing, and even reclaimed his passion for drumming in the COVID pandemic. He composes music under his artist name of C.M.F and has over 250,000 streams to his name
Chris also raised more than £1,420 for the Benevolent Fund in the last couple of years, as well as acting as a STEM Ambassador for Lincolnshire.
MAIN CONTACT (CHAIR), SPECIAL OLYMPICS LINCOLNSHIRE, 25
Danielle Booth is an athlete who has Downs Syndrome, but her condition has never stopped her from achieving incredible things in the sporting and athletics world. She is described as an inspiration to young people with learning disabilities, and, equally importantly, a “lovely person”.
Danielle started playing football at the age of six for Lincoln DS Active. Since then, she has appeared in numerous competitions, winning trophies in Bradford, Doncaster and The National DS Tournament.
In 2017, she took up badminton, winning two silver medals at the Special Olympics 2018 games in Sterling. This year, she took part in the Special Olympics Great Britain Summer Series of Sport, achieving Gold, Silver and Bronze in singles, doubles and mixed doubles matches. In addition, she has attended many regional events and won silver at the 4 Nations Disability tournament in Scotland.
Danielle has completed four 10K runs and training for a full marathon. She is also working on a six week course with SOGB to run workshops for all athletics across Lincolnshire too.
The Special Olympics Lincolnshire family regard Danielle as a credit and an inspiration to the club. They said she is interested in all athletics and pays particular attention to congratulating others on their achievements.
MARKETING MANAGER, LINCOLN MINSTER SCHOOL, 29
University of Lincoln graduate Darren Hill has spent the last decade building a career in educational marketing. Starting out as a Market Research Intern at the university in 2015, he gained promotions to Social Media Officer and then Senior Social Media Officer, before becoming one of the youngest managers at the institution as Digital Media Manager in 2020.
In this role, he was responsible for managing large budgets, implementing nationwide campaigns such as cinema and TV adverts, as well as establishing the university’s digital presence. He transformed the media department from one person to a full team, which led to multiple awards.
Last year, Darren became the Marketing Manager for one of Lincolnshire’s largest independent schools, Lincoln Minster School (LMS). Within a short time, he has transformed the school’s marketing both internally and externally with his ethos, creativity and technical ability. He has restructured the way marketing assets are managed for cost and efficiency, as well as implementing a new digital admissions process – reducing the manual process time by 70%.
Darren’s work has been nationally recognised by the Independent Schools of the Year Awards 2022, and shortlisted in the Marketing Award for Effective Brand Communication category.
In his spare time, Darren supports LincHigher, Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, the University of Lincoln and Bishop Grosseteste University with Widening Participation initiatives. Coming from a low-income household, Darren takes great pride in helping to raise young people’s aspirations.
FOUNDER, MY SQUARE METRE LTD, 30
Seasoned DJ Edward Crowther had made an impact in the Lincoln, Nottingham and London music scenes, when he felt he still had another calling. Ed’s past experience on an organic farm led him to tackle the rapid decline in biodiversity in the UK.
My Square Metre was born from Ed’s desire to offset carbon, and create a biodiversity legacy. The company works with experts to find spaces and research the best way to use the land. It then plants new areas of wildflower meadow every time a person or business chooses to offset their carbon.
Since its conception, My Square Metre has already received orders to plant 500 square metres and secured the first 4,700 square metres, ready to build an oasis of nectar for wildlife in the Lincolnshire countryside. It was also nominated for a sustainable business award, and became a finalist.
Recently, Edward spoke at a TEDXBrayfordPool event about helping people to understand their carbon emissions, and how to lower them. He then provided each audience member with some wildflower seeds.
On top of his success with this project, Edward works for YMCA Lincolnshire as their Music and Arts Youth Worker, encouraging young people to consider arts and music
as an accessible career path. He still regularly DJs in Lincoln bars and clubs to fund his eco mission.
STUDENT, LANCASTER UNIVERSITY, 22
There is no doubt Elizabeth Train-Brown is destined for greatness in the world of writing. Beth left William Farr High School with Grade 9 across all GCSEs, plus three A*s and one A at A Level. She was also the Lord Lieutenant’s Army Cadet and has wowed a number of Lincolnshire dignitaries with her other talent – fire breathing!
Beth’s passion for writing led her to the English Literature and Creative Writing course at Lancaster University. Through her studies, she has been published more than 60 times and is also lauded for her journalism work with student news website Scan, where she achieved Winner of Best Social Media, Rising Star, the coveted Best News Coverage and Reporter of the Year accolades.
She has also produced two highly successful plays, and won high profile awards for her writing, including Best Submission, Young Poets Prize at the Stratford Literary Festival, Artist’s Choice and High Commended in the 2021 Erbacce Prize for Poetry, and has been shortlisted for many others too.
Her extensive list of published works can be found in esteemed poetry titles, magazines and festivals. Among her latest achievements is a collection of poetry, published by Renard Press ‘Salmacis: Becoming Not Quite a Woman’. It has already received a number of commendations and is tipped for huge success.
Beth now plans to publish a series of novels aimed at young adults. The series, which has been in the making for some time, is something she is extremely proud of.
DIRECTOR/PRACTITIONER, HOPE MEADOWS EQUINE ASSISTED RECOVERY CIC, 27
Emily Walters’ life-affirming alternative therapy business was created from her love for animals, and her passion to fill a much-needed gap in access to support for mental health.
Emily dedicated her life to horses since the age of 10, even taking a brief break from her studies at the University of Lincoln to set up a riding school. While completing her Masters at Loughborough, she also worked at a crisis house and then took on a position in an NHS mental health team.
After some time, she became frustrated by the challenges presented to people who needed access support for their mental health. Emily decided there was something constructive she could do to help, and Hope Meadows Equine Assisted Recovery CIC was born.
Emily has worked tirelessly to build an accessible, affordable, alternative therapeutic environment that is available to all. She removed referral barriers and, where possible, the cost barriers, as well as adapting and striving to open new funding avenues for the business.
In the early days, practitioners consisted of Emily and her mum Mel. Over the 16 months that Hope Meadows has been open, the practitioners have increased to four, there have been over 160 clients supported and there are over 100 active clients.
Under her leadership, Emily’s vision will continue to grow, increasing its offering to meet the needs of those struggling with their mental health.
Emily is returning to University to undertake her doctoral studies in counselling psychology, continuing to work at Hope Meadows to support clients throughout.
CLUSTER HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER, DOUBLETREE BY HILTON LINCOLN, 29
In her first role as Human Resources Manager for DoubleTree by Hilton Lincoln, Emma was responsible for driving excellence across the HR function, and her outstanding track record has propelled her quickly upwards. In just three years she has tripled her remit. She now oversees three hotels, is responsible for 250+ team members, manages a HR team, and is the youngest Cluster Manager in the company.
Emma is described as a cornerstone of the management structure. She is a trusted advisor to the hotel’s seasoned General Managers, and has grown her remuneration package by nearly 40% with the company. Emma’s first promotion came after just one year, to Dual-Site HR Manager, overseeing the HR function for a second hotel in Grimsby.
A third hotel in Hull (the biggest she had ever supported) was added to her remit in February 2022, making Emma a Cluster HR Manager. Under her watch, the average YTD employee retention rate is 95%, she has a clean track record of no employee tribunal claims and her HR Compliance Audit Score is consistently 100%.
A true yellowbelly, and a Sports Development and Coaching graduate from the University of Lincoln, Emma can also be found representing Ruston Sports Women’s Football Club, as well as coaching. She is an advocate for Lincoln College, where she achieved her Level 5 CIPD HR Management qualifications, and links the hotel with the community through work experience opportunities.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER, FIZZCO LTD, 26
Stepping into a new job in the days before a global pandemic could have spelled disappointment, but Hannah Lockwood- Geck’s contribution to commercial and wholesale decorations business Fizzco over the last two years has coincided with unprecedented growth for the company. Her work has helped to protect jobs, reduce financial risk, increase revenue streams and ensure business longevity.
Hannah first joined the company as Fizzco’s Marketing and Communications Lead, and through innovative ideas, worth ethic, initiative and instinct, she has created strong and sustained marketing and sales performance.
In 2021, Hannah supported the business to achieve its most remarkable growth to date, and maintain strong financial performance, increasing revenue by 55%, increasing organic acquisition by over 200% and growing online search visibility from 3.3% to over 11.5%. As a result, Fizzco has seen revenues from existing and new product lines increase across every brand and service offering.
Hannah has now been promoted to Business Development Manager, and this year she will oversee all marketing and business development of the company’s nine brands, simultaneously delivering projects and overseeing portfolio management. She has been identified as a vital member of a new Development Management Team, created to train, coach and mentor key staff members.
Fizzco’s Managing Directors describe Hannah as “someone who distinguishes herself from others in her dedication, proven track record and constant drive to grow, learn and succeed.”
FILMMAKER/COMPANY DIRECTOR, VIEW SHIFT PRODUCTIONS CIC, 23
Filmmaker and photographer Harris Tomlinson-Spence set up his production company View Shift Productions while he was still at college in Lincoln — and the young artist has climbed to exceptional new heights since.
The Community Interest Company creates film projects within local communities, with the aim of increasing diversity in the indie film industry. One of View Shift’s latest films, ‘Salt Water Town’ was produced in association
with the British Film Institute and stars Owen Teale (Line of Duty and Game of Thrones) and Tom Glynn Carney (Dunkirk and House of the Dragon). The film made the selection for various BAFTA and OSCAR qualifying festivals and was nominated for the OSCAR Qualifying award Best Narrative Film at the In The Palace Film Festival in Bulgaria.
Since making the 30 Under 30 list for the first time in 2021, Harris’ projects have increased in quantity and size. He has been directing and producing multiple short films and music videos, alongside touring the globe documenting bands and artists. He directed a music video for LA artist Ariza, while continuing work on further music videos for local artists like Pylons and Duccbod.
A UK tour with the band Airways was followed by a European tour with Nothing But Thieves. He documented them during the festival season as they played at the Groupama Stadium in Lyon, supporting the Rolling Stones.
Harris is continuing to work on documentary content for clients like Sony Entertainment and RCA Records. All the while, View Shift Productions is in post production for the latest film 2K5, shot this summer, and Harris is also celebrating after acquiring a new studio space in Lincoln.
TRADE SALES REPRESENTATIVE, TRADEGLAZE (LINCOLN LTD), 28
Lincoln Law School graduate and Tradeglaze trade representative Jonathan Brewer has been instrumental in the transformation of the company and its retail subsidiary Jackson Windows to a modern, customer-facing glazing supplier.
He joined the business in 2019 and today wins 7-figure sales each year. He is a professional, dependable and highly respected by his customers and colleagues.
Jonathan was promoted to the company management board in 2020, making him, at 28, the youngest senior manager at the company.
He continues to grow the business through innovation, excellence and mentoring others. Jonathan never stops learning and growing professionally and he invests much of his time training his team, whom he brings to monthly Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce Construction and Property Network meetings.
Two of Jonathan’s projects were selected as finalists in the national 2022 Installer Awards held by Glass & Glazing Products at the Albert Hall in Manchester in March. He was then selected as one of ‘30 Under 30’ professionals in national awards at the industry’s leading annual event FIT show in April. The following month, Jonathan earned the prestigious Rising Star of the Year award in the Lincolnshire Business Excellence Awards, hosted by Stonebow Media.
Not only is Jonathan an exemplary ambassador for the glazing and manufacturing industries, but he also this year became a father, and has been praised for his admirable job balancing work and family life.
CEO, RUNNING IMP LTD, 27
Josh Illsley’s first day at Running Imp saw him engraving medals in the warehouse and packing parcels. Intimately learning the business, and gaining respect of the staff were his priorities on his way to the top job at the multi-million pound company by the age of 27.
By 2018, Josh had become Operations Manager, getting to grips with purchasing and importing from China, and exporting all over the world. Showing real leadership qualities, he was promoted to Operations Director in 2019, in charge of 60 members of staff.
The events business was sadly decimated when the COVID pandemic struck in 2020, but Josh took charge of a ‘Virtual Runs’ campaign, and slowly but surely events bought into the ethos.
Josh had to make some bold financial decisions during tough times and had the difficult task of announcing redundancies. The key to the business’ survival was Josh’s decision to change approaches to turnover and profit, and his analysis of figures and jobs sustainability.
This year, he negotiated a new contract with the London Marathon, securing the supply of all their finishers’ medals, as well as acquiring the finishers’ medals for the Great North Run. At the end of the fiscal year in December 2021, the company had increased turnover by 10%, and the gross profit increased by more than 20%.
With Josh at the helm, Running Imp Ltd is looking at a bright future. Not only this, dad Chris is delighted that the family business will be continuing into the next generation.
MANAGING DIRECTOR, TALOR GARDEN FURNITURE LTD, 24
Not only has the enthusiasm that Kyle Cassidy brings to the table propelled his business to success in the heart of Skegness, but he is also credited with changing the lives of everyone at the company. Kyle had always dreamed of running his own business, and since his landscaping apprenticeship at 17 he worked hard to become the company director he is now at the age of 24.
TALOR Garden Furniture comprises a diverse team of seven who work diligently thanks to a ‘realistic but modern approach to work/life balance.’ The small business puts customer service and staff wellbeing at the top of the priority list.
Kyle was nominated by his staff for his “approach to work as a leader and a friend.” They say he has a progressive attitude to mental health and actively makes time for his staff.
Kyle also makes a significant effort to support other local businesses wherever possible, believing in a supporting mindset to help the community to succeed. He is a beneficiary of Greater Local Enterprise Partnership support, and strived to repay kindness and express gratitude to the people of Lincolnshire, while pushing to create the best business he can.
DIRECTOR, LEGLESS LTD, 23
Events Management graduate Lily Brown is described by her business partners as “resilient, hardworking and passionate”. Lily part-owns and runs two businesses, Legless Ltd and Vitmi Ltd, managing six employees while also studying for a full time masters degree in Education at the University of Lincoln.
Lily is responsible for the social media accounts that the two companies own, generating a combined following of over 130,000 people globally. She has overseen a meteoric rise in Legless Ltd, creating a TikTok account that averages 12 million views per month and generating £80,000 in sales in December 2021 alone.
Legless Ltd is the company behind Let’s Get Legless, a dares card game marketed at students, parties and hen/ stag dos. Vitamin Ltd is the company’s latest venture and sells transdermal vitamin patch subscriptions.
Lily passes on her expertise, and mentors the six employees she manages, all of whom are students. Lily always puts employees first, allowing them to have flexible working hours, and making herself available for help at all hours of the day and night.
Lily is extremely well thought of by her colleagues, and has been credited with leading Legless Ltd from nothing to a global brand, selling products in more than 60 countries. She has put together and managed a team that generates 10 million views on average per month.
She works all hours and ensures that everyone around her has the best opportunity to be successful.
CREATIVE DIRECTOR, WALLBREAKER, 30
Luke Winter is one half of video production company Wallbreaker, alongside Ash Wilks.
It’s been eight years since the inception of the company, and the business now works with a huge range of clients, from transport specialists to chartered accountants and celebrities. The pair have produced social media adverts, animations, music videos and collaborated with the likes of BT and Openreach, Stagecoach and Samsung Galaxy Music/ Universal Studios.
The team also filmed with celebrity Tim Lovejoy, producing six episodes featuring guests like Jason Fox, Iwan Thomas, DJ Locksmith, Jazmin Sawyers and Megan Hine. A future episode is in the diary to include astronaut Tim Peake.
Wallbreaker is unafraid of self promotion, and its iconic Action Man ad campaign has generated more than £200k from paid LinkedIn advertising. Brands like Viavi Solutions discovered the company through the ad.
Together, Ash and Luke have devised an SaaS platform, My ROI. It syncs with a company’s accounting software to show ROI from their physical and digital marketing.
The pair took part in several workshops with the Angel Network and InnovateUK, which pushed their business plan forward and gained them investment and grant funding to build the MVP of the software – currently being tested by 20 Lincoln businesses for three months ahead of its launch to the market.
Not only this, Luke and Ash are developing a platform called Stage, a project management tool that focuses on the UI of the customer’s experience – producing team tasks and project reports.
MARKETING MANAGER, SMARTMOVE HOTELS, 26
Nathan Bryant is a champion of the Lincolnshire town of Boston. In a personal capacity, and in his role as Marketing Manager for Smartmove Hotels, he has gone above and beyond to rejuvenate the town.
Nathan’s skills with social media drive the hotel chain’s engagement growth daily, and his stylistic graphic design approach is recognised by many visitors to the company’s group of properties.
His determination to make Boston a welcoming place shines, with his involvement in the Boston Town Deal, Connected Coast Board and Boston in Bloom committee. He is happy to upsell the town, encouraging return visits, footfall and local spend to boost the local economy.
In the instance of a recent tragedy in the town, Nathan’s quick thinking aided guests to access areas and avoid police closures. His knowledge of security systems also helped officers to gain high quality images of a suspect, before it was requested.
Nathan’s passion for Boston was clear in a devastating fire in the town centre on the hottest day of the year. He ensured the hotel was accessible to victims of the fire and emergency workers, offering use of showers, toilet facilities and drinks. He later agreed with hotel owners to offer complimentary accommodation for the victims of the tragic fire, totally free of charge.
Colleagues say they are astounded by the volume of voluntary help Nathan offers to friends and small businesses to set up basic marketing and brand plans and praise his generosity.
AUCTIONEER, MASONS AND PARTNERS LLP, 24
At 24, Oliver Chapman is a role model for young people interested in finding rewarding careers in the agriculture industry. As auctioneer, Oliver has been credited with building on the success and status of Lincolnshire’s only remaining livestock market in Louth.
Oliver is a passionate sheep farmer with considerable knowledge in livestock and farming (not to mention his ‘Greatest Showman’ status for his Pedigree flock of Charollais). He has been a supporter of the market since his days there as a teenage seller, and also contributed to the campaign to save it from closure in 2017. It was
there he met the now King Charles III, who recognised the importance the livestock market plays in the rural community of Lincolnshire.
Under Oliver’s direction, Monday’s livestock market has grown to attract vendors and buyers from the county and beyond, and events like the Partney Fair have seen record sales. Sheep numbers have also doubled. Louth now achieves some of the highest prices in the country for local farmers, while also ensuring high quality and sustainably-reared field to fork produce ends up in local butchers and restaurants.
The market has also become a hub for farmers to meet and connect. During the pandemic, Oliver went live on Facebook with the weekly auction and helped connect the agricultural community with the 4,000 plus viewing live.
Oliver is currently studying for a Livestock Market Operations and Management course at Harper Adams University and, once graduated, will become a Fellow of the Livestock Auctioneers Association.
MANAGING PARTNER, FEATURED GROUP, 29
Peter Watson is Managing Director and owner of Featured Group, a portfolio of companies including advertising and marketing agency Distract (founded by Peter and business partner Bradley McKenny in 2015), conveyancing firm Fletcher Longstaff (acquired in 2020) and online mortgage company Rippled (founded in 2020).
Their latest venture in 2021 brought pharmaceutical and healthcare business Certified Health under the group’s umbrella. The business sells multi-disciplinary pharmaceutical and healthcare products. Brands under the name include Unthin, a hair loss subscription service for men.
Alongside business partner Bradley, Peter has turned his eye for opportunity into award-winning successes and has been one of the county’s most exciting young minds to watch in recent years.
Already an entrepreneur from the age of 16, with a popular car audio YouTube channel, and eventual shop for his already engaged audience, the next chapter of starting a social media agency seemed a natural fit. Distract filled a gap in the market for innovative and disruptive advertising, and the pair had the business up and running by their second year at university.
Peter has ensured that the business has continued to stay one step ahead of the curve by offering the most advanced techniques available in the region, and finding solutions to marketing and advertising challenges.
HEAD OF MARKETING AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, VISUAL PRINT & DESIGN, 30
Rachael Hunt has been a familiar face in the Lincoln business community for nine years, and has spent the last three years making waves in the world of print at Visual Print & Design.
Since graduating from the University of Lincoln, she rooted herself as a professional to watch in the marketing field. In 2015, she was awarded Lincolnshire’s Young Business Person of the Year (Lincolnshire Media Awards), was a finalist for Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2020 (Lincolnshire Technology & Innovation Awards), and most recently received the Printing Charity Rising Star Award.
Thanks to her latest accolade, Rachael received a grant that allowed her to enroll in the Marketing Week Mini MBA Marketing Course – in turn signaling her promotion to Head of Marketing and Business Development.
Rachael considers it to be an honour to be a woman in a print industry leadership role, and gives back by speaking in schools about her career lessons. She was also included in a feature about International Women’s Day in Print Week.
Rachael has helped to put Visual Print and Design in place as one of the leading print companies in Lincolnshire. Whether it’s through viral TikTok posts (more than 10 million views of the Visual team bust a move) or developing creative campaigns with a 1,503% return on investment.
When she’s not at work, Rachael sits on the committee for the Lincoln Business Club, supporting the club with marketing, and volunteers as a Brownie Helper – encouraging the next generation of inspiring young women.
TRANSFORMATION OFFICER, SOUTH & EAST LINCOLNSHIRE COUNCILS PARTNERSHIP, 25
Rebecca Cooke is a Transformation Officer at East Lindsey District Council and also working across Boston Borough Council. Last year, Rebecca joined the Partnership’s Future Leaders employee development programme in order to learn more about local government, grow her skills and become involved in new initiatives.
She quickly secured a promotion to the Transformation Officer role and in a short space of time she had earned a number of exceptional achievements. Rebecca played a key part in facilitating the South East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership in the lead up to its formation in October 2021 and thereafter. This is the largest council partnership in the country and recently won the Local Government Chronicle Public Award.
In addition, she developed and delivered a new internal policy for the partnership’s workforce of almost 1,000 people, created the first partnership employee awards and was given the 2022 personal development award for her commitment and dedication to learning.
As part of her ongoing learning, she is also interim Police and Crime Panel Officer, assisting the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel in its duties to scrutinise the commissioner. As well as this, she has become the partnership’s Staff Forum Chairman and is presently co-ordinating the Local Government Association’s Peer Review arrangements.
Rebecca is an ambassador for the programme and continues to play a part in its ongoing success, helping to shape it for future cohorts and discussing her experience with other councils.
DRUM STUDENT, MELODY MUSIC ROOMS, 10
Sam Bickmore is not your average 10-year-old. After three years of committed practice, he has become a drumming prodigy and known around the world for his exceptional skills.
Sam’s teacher Peter Coppin, of Melody Music Rooms in Grantham, would have expected a young student to have mastered the basics in their first three years on the stool, maybe edging close to playing intermediate material. In this time however, Sam has passed the advanced Grade 8 (A Level equivalent) with distinction. He achieved 93%, which makes him the only student in the country to get this grade, at his age.
Following his outstanding exam results, Sam created a YouTube channel to critical acclaim. Hundreds of comments follow each of his uploads, and he is quickly amassing dedicated subscribers.
His musical magic caught the ears of the media, and soon Sam was featured on four television reports from BBC East Midlands, Look North, the national BBC News and ITV. He was showcased across the country, and the globe. Peter’s school was abuzz with excited students, sending him messages like “I’ve just seen you and Sam on the telly!”
The snowball grew further, and Sam was given the chance to perform on the then Blue Peter. The top Cymbal company Zildjian offered Sam an endorsement, even inviting him to the headquarters to pick what he wanted and sending him a package of sticks and merchandise.
Teacher Peter says Sam goes above and beyond, but is pretty modest. He adds “he has a bright future ahead of him”.
OWNER, MILK AND HONEY WELLBEING, 28
Samantha Crowther’s accomplishments make her one of the most qualified beauty therapists in Lincolnshire. From her early career as an established dancer, landing a place at one of the UK’s leading dance schools London Studio Centre, to her natural transition to the world of beauty and wellbeing, she has stunned peers with every turn.
Samantha did her training at Champneys Beauty College in Hertfordshire, where she won ‘Student of the Year’ upon her graduation in 2019. She also received her CIDESCO qualification, an internationally acclaimed awarding body which trains beauty therapists to the highest standards alongside the organisation’s award for excellence – given to one person only in each cohort.
After just four months working in a local spa, Samantha set up one of Lincolnshire’s hidden gems, Milk and Honey in Sturton by Stow, with high-standard treatment rooms in a beautiful countryside setting.
The manner of precision and discipline with which Samantha runs the business has recently earned her the Navy Professional Standard – one of the industry’s highest hygiene ratings.
For her hair styling and makeup work, Samantha regularly travels to top London hotels and stately homes across the country. As well as wedding commissions, she has also been scouted for celebrities, and her work has appeared in major publications like The Sun, Daily Mail and Country Life magazine.
Never one to sit idle, the COVID pandemic inspired Samantha to launch Samantha Kate Designs, where she puts her artistic talents to jewellery creation.
PARA-ATHLETE / STUDENT, 18
Thomas Talbot is truly proof that you can succeed no matter what life throws at you. He has lived with cerebral palsy diplegia since birth, resulting in physical disability. His permanent brain damage means he cannot independently walk. Despite this, and being told by doctors he would never talk, Thomas proved them all wrong, and went on to achieve some remarkable things.
Thomas is a professional para-athlete in the discipline of FrameRunning. This involves running on a three-wheeled trike with no pedals, at distances from 100m to 800m. He is a former world record holder and represented his country at the CPISRA European RaceRunning Championships. He was also a World RR2 800m silver medallist at the Cerebral Palsy CPISRA World Games in 2018.
In 2022, Thomas’ incredible efforts resulted in his selection for a number of esteemed sporting programmes, gold and silver medals at the England Athletics AAA Senior National Disability Athletics Championships, a World Number 2 ranking for 100m and UK Number 1 rankings across 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m, among other astounding achievements.
Major reconstructive surgery meant he has to undertake regular physiotherapy and has to live with almost constant stiffness in his legs, arms and trunk. Despite this, he has thrown himself not only into his training, but also his A Levels – in which he achieved two As, an A* and a diploma in his sporting excellence programme.
Thomas has now secured a place at the University of East Anglia to read Economics and has been selected for an Elite Sport Scholarship at the university.
MANAGING DIRECTOR, IDENTITY AGENCY LIMITED, 26
Tommy Atkins’ happy clients say he has “energy, drive and zeal”. “If hard work was the only element to success, he would already be a millionaire,” they added.
Tommy’s commitment to his fledgling company, his team and his clients is impressing all who meet him, and he is beginning to build a sterling reputation for going above and beyond the call of duty.
While studying for his law degree at Sheffield Hallam, Tommy founded Identity Agency Ltd, offering graphic design and branding to begin with, balancing this with his studies, and spent two years growing the services portfolio.
The business was ready to reach top gear by the time Tommy graduated. Within a year, his solo venture had become a team of five, dedicated to helping companies with their image, plus new services like websites and social media.
This is against the background of the COVID pandemic, a daunting environment for any new graduate to be making their first moves in business.
Along with his business partner, Tommy has also designed and launched a new alcoholic drink called Festico, and has already made this product into a viable proposition and produced thousands of units.
Waldo Fox Kennedy
DIRECTOR, WALDO CUSTOMS, 24
In just two years, Waldo Fox Kennedy’s bedroom business has blossomed into a limited company with international manufacturing, worldwide sales and a six-figure turnover. And by the end of the year Waldo Customs will move into its first offices.
The company specialises in the production and online sale of Airsoft products. Together with his business partner, who is based in the Netherlands, Waldo makes and sells parts and accessories from their website – waldocustoms.com
The secret to the pair’s success is described as a great understanding of the market, high quality products and great customer service, but Waldo’s real gift is in marketing. If you ask his peers, bigger companies in the market can’t hold a candle to the quality and impact of their reach in social media.
At just 24, Waldo’s knowledge of his customer base and marketing finesse make zero budget look like big budget. Retailers know the level of expertise offered by the company and while they sell directly to players, the wholesale business has flourished.
Waldo Fox Kennedy was nominated because “he is exactly what a young entrepreneur should be. Hardworking and creative, with a great understanding of the market.”
WHAT WOULD YOU ATTEMPT TO DO IF YOU KNEW YOU COULD NOT FAIL?
The 2022 cohort of talent in this year’s list demonstrates the very best Lincolnshire has to offer, from athletes to entrepreneurs, students to marketers and everything in-between.
MyLocal and Stonebow Media are proud to work alongside our sponsors Lincoln College, Streets Chartered Accountants, Ringrose Law, Sparkhouse, Visual Print and Design and Strait and Narrow.
Katrina Burrill, Director, Stonebow Media and MyLocal Lincolnshire