Meet the Team
We are a team of professionals whose specialities range from event management, operational planning, marketing & brand Management, finance, HR, retail management, business development and sales; together we make up the ‘Planning & Strategy’ team at UNICUS at the University of Sheffield.
As individuals we have each garnered experience across a wide range of business environments & collectively work closely & very ‘harmonioUSly’ to strengthen our business by being very proactive in seeking new & exciting business opportunities, thinking ‘out-of-the-box’ & by acknowledging & understanding that our people are our strength & my motivating & empowering our colleagues we grow our team together.
Head of Commercial Services
Leading a multi-million pound commercial business at one of the world’s top universities.
Including 20 café’s & retail outlets, residential catering, international dining, a boutique hotel, sales and marketing, business development, fine dining restaurant, conferences, weddings, events, delivered hospitality and food production.
Leading a fantastic team and business to maximise future potential.
TUCO Ltd ‘The University Catering Organisation – Director
Gavin Brown, Head of Commercial Services at the University of Sheffield, brings a wealth of knowledge, craft and management experience to the role having held a diverse range of positions from General Manager at Derby County football club managing corporate hospitality and sales, Executive Chef at the University of Nottingham to Commercial Manager at the University of Sheffield. Much of Gavin’s career – over 25 years – has been developed within the Higher Education sector, of which he comes with a thorough and in depth understanding.
Gavin whose heritage with TUCO spans 20 years including winning a Gold Medal at the annual TUCO Skills Competitions – now aims to focus on how TUCO can help develop and share best practice from its member institutions, drawing on member expertise and the wider industry to look at new and improved ways of working across the sector as a whole.
General Manager, Retail Operations
With a background in catering that started with an HND in Catering Management at Leeds Polytechnic, I have over 30 years’ retail experience that has included hotels, fast food, department stores and most recently education. Retailing is about people, whether you are buying or selling, link the person, the product, the environment, build a relationship where you can understand each other’s needs. Make the customer the focus of your decision making process.
Leading a team of over 200 retailers is exciting, challenging and full of opportunities. Life should be fun and if relaxation is required long distance running is a wonderful thing although long distance cycling is definitely more sociable!
Human Resources Manager
An experienced, qualified generalist HR professional who has operated both strategically and operationally at officer, manager and HR Director level. My experience includes TUPE, employment law, computerised HR systems, developing, implementing and maintaining HR policies and procedures, developing efficient, smart and best practice, setting up and managing recruitment processes, dealing with employee litigation, arbitration and tribunal projects, managing redundancies, workforce planning, negotiating & consulting with trade unions, developing and delivering training & development including new staff induction, succession planning, absence management, performance management & budget management. I have undertaken specific consultancy work advising and supporting on employment policy & best practice, organisational change & design, managing redundancies and TUPE transfer &supporting senior recruitment processes.
General Manager, Halifax Hall Hotel
My role covers the day to day management of the 38 bedroom boutique hotel at Endcliffe in addition to the project management to convert a block of student apartments into an 80 bedroom hotel offering. On a broader scale I am part of the Commercial Management team.
I’ve worked in hospitality & leisure for 25 years having the privilege to work for ‘Mitchell’s & Butler’s, ‘Namco Europe Ltd’ and ‘Rank Leisure’ all of which have allowed me to gain valuable experiences and the chance to work in various cities across the UK including London, Leeds, Manchester, & Glasgow.
Brand Manager (Commercial Services)
I’m passionate about marketing, communications and brand impact and I have over ten years’ experience from the public and private sectors, both B2B and B2C.
After studying business and marketing at Sheffield Hallam University I have created & delivered high impact, multi-channel campaigns for a number of major brands in retail, food & beverage, professional services & education and from Sheffield to Sydney, Australia!
My experience covers everything from PR, communications and campaign management to brand storms & experiential events, with an impressive record of devising innovative marketing strategies that deliver great results and return on investment. I’m highly analytical and driven by customer insight and I thrive on introducing new ideas to exceed customer expectations and deliver results.
As Brand Manager I’ve developed new brand strategies and led a full rebrand of our retail & hospitality services, and it’s been a privilege to be a part of our exciting & on-going success story.
Kevin Kennedy Ryan
I started working at the University of Sheffield in 2013; since that time I‘ve been involved in transforming the cafes & bars through interior refurbishments, new brand alignments & product offerings & opening a diverse range of new venues and businesses.
I’m experienced in creating brand identities, retail communications, and political advertising. I’ve worked with diverse clients ranging from nightclubs, to political parties, cultural centres, and even an indigenous tribe in Borneo.
Originally from Atlanta, after a brief stint on a desert island and a somewhat longer stint in Chicago, I’ve settled in Sheffield as my adopted home. I’m passionate about design, branding, and communications.
General Manager, Hospitality Services
An experienced catering & hospitality manager with over 25 years’ experience in the private & public sector. I have a proven track record in high quality food production, event management, commercial awareness, project management and business growth.
I provide management of the hospitality sales & operations for a portfolio of venues and services offering events, delivered hospitality, external catering, conferences, weddings and restaurant for both internal and external customers, for business and leisure activities.
I am passionate about delivering a high quality customer experience that exceeds expectation and creates a ‘wow’ factor that leaves our guests wishing to return. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be in a position to inspire the same passion in each of my teams.
Sheffield born and bred I take great delight in supporting local suppliers and products, and developing relationships across the city and beyond to drive collaborative results.
I am privileged to be involved in some amazing events but key successes have been the successful delivery of the ‘UK School Games’, a one week sporting event of 3500 young people residing in our facilities, and the once in a lifetime opportunity of managing the hospitality for the VIP visit of HM Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh to the University.
I am proud to be part of a strategic management team that have such a diverse range of experience and skills, and who work together to explore new opportunities to drive future business growth
Business Development Manager
As Business Development Manager at the University of Sheffield my role is to pro-actively seek new clients (both internal & external to the University) to engage with & for them to use the services & facilities available across our commercial portfolio whether they be the venues for conferences, meetings or dinners etc, gUSto for delivered hospitality & to raise the profile of our retail offering within the hUStle & bUStle café’s & retail businesses.
I additionally am developing a much more account management style of business development so as I am aware of the requirements of my clients over the next twelve months so as I can match their requirements to the services provided within the university. Working collaboratively with other University of Sheffield faculties including the Management School, Sports Sheffield & the Enterprise Zone raises the opportunities to raise the profile of UNICUS more widely.
My business development experience has previously been with Universal Music, Leeds United Football Club, Huddersfield Town FC, Leicester City FC, Durham County Cricket Club & with Mitchells & Butlers in addition to gaining valuable marketing & brand developing experience with LoyaltyMATTERS Ltd., a marketing & brand consultancy & agency based in Harrogate.