Below is some background on our directors, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Many were involved from the very start as B4RN’s founding management team.
Director and Company Secretary, Monica Lee, was Visiting Professor of HRD at Newcastle Business School, and based at Lancaster University Management School for many years. She has worked with a wide portfolio of organisations in the UK, Central Europe, CIS and the USA, coordinating and collaborating in management development, research and teaching initiatives. She is a Chartered Psychologist, and is a Fellow of the CIPD and the RSA. She is actively involved in the local community and is Chair of Governors of Cawthorne’s Endowed School, Abbeystead, and a Trustee of the Cawthorne Educational Foundation. She is also a Director of L&K Group Ltd. which comprises a group of companies that serve the agricultural communities in the North West. She is a founding member of B4RN, and is one of the first directors as well as being on the management team. Monica also started the ‘Friends of B4RN’ charity. She sees the amazing effect that B4RN has upon isolated rural communities and is in awe of such a large co-operative volunteer effort that is changing people’s lives.
Director, Chris Carr, is a Yorkshireman by birth and studied law at Oxford. He was Principal of St Martin’s College in Lancaster for ten years and the first Vice Chancellor of the University of Cumbria before retiring in 2009. He is a Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire.
Chris lives in Aughton and with Hilary championed the drive to bring B4RN to the village. Chris remains active in digging in the B4RN network beyond the boundaries of Aughton and joined the Management Committee of B4RN early in 2015.
Director, Peter Hearne, was born and raised locally and has spent most of his adult life in and around the Lune Valley. Convinced that the B4RN venture would be of massive benefit to the community, he was an early investor and has been an enthusiastic supporter of the B4RN project from the beginning.
Originally qualifying as a Works Manager specialising in Production Planning and Control, Peter spent much of his early career in Sales and Marketing roles for large multi-nationals before building his own technology business from the early 1980s onwards. His on-going business interests reflect his long-term involvement with the built environment, with a special interest in historic listed buildings.
Formerly Chair of Governors of Beaumont College and currently a Director and Treasurer of North Lancashire Citizens Advice, Peter has been actively involved in community and voluntary work for over thirty years.
In all, Peter has close to 50 years’ experience in the development and management of organisations in both the commercial and charitable sectors, experience that he now brings to the board of B4RN.
Director since December 2016, Ian Thompson, born in Cumberland (not Cumbria), studied Industrial Technology & Management at Bradford University and worked with manufacturing businesses both as an operations manager and as a management consultant. Following fifteen years living in Australia and Asia, Ian returned to the UK and settled in North Yorkshire.
Ian joined B4RN as a volunteer in September 2014 in order to connect the houses in his immediate community but caught the bug and likes nothing better than to be at the bottom of a muddy hole. He holds the record for the number of chambers dug up, replaced and moved to new locations!
CEO & COO
Chief Executive Officer, Michael Lee, is a Chartered Engineer who hails from Lancashire and studied engineering at Cambridge. His early career was in the army, where he served initially with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and then with the Royal Dragoon Guards. His post-military career has largely been with specialist consultancy companies and has involved a considerable focus in defence-related work. Michael started work in February 2021 – replacing B4RN founder Barry Forde. who retired in 2020.
Chief Operating Officer, Tom Rigg, has many years experience in planning, developing, installing and maintaining service provider networks. Before joining the B4RN team he worked as the Senior Network Engineer at Lancaster University Network Services, where he helped expand the network capabilities to ensure excellent service to the educational sector across Lancashire and Cumbria. He was one of the first volunteers to help bring the B4RN network online and was delighted to join the company full time in 2015. He is excited to play a part in bringing rural areas true high speed broadband. Tom lives in Heysham with his Wife, Daughter, Son, Barnaby the dog and Alfie the cat.