Business Advisory Panel

The Centre draws on the experience and knowledge of successful family entrepreneurs and family business owners from a Business Advisory Panel to understand the actual needs of families in business.


Andrew Beale

Managing Director, Beales Hotels

Andrew Beale, Managing Director of Beales Hotels, is the eighth generation of the Hertfordshire family business which was founded in 1769 and the only member of the Beale family of his generation in the firm. Beales Hotels currently has two four-star hotels, West Lodge Park in Hadley Wood and Beales Hotel in Hatfield. While not large, both hotels are right at the top end of the four-star hotel market and enjoy a loyal clientele and high ratings on Tripadvisor and elsewhere. The company has a turnover of about £6m and 160 members of staff with over 800 years of service between them. After two buyouts of cousin shareholders in the 1930s and very recently, the company now has just six shareholders from the immediate family.

Andrew started his hotel career at the age of 18 washing up in the Alps, and after studying Geography at Lancaster University has worked in front-line and management positions in hotels and restaurants in France, Switzerland, Canada and New Zealand, and in London and Bath in the UK.

Edwin Booth

Chairman, Booths Supermarkets Ltd

Edwin Booth is the Chairman of Booths, a family-owned and -operated independent supermarket with 29 stores across Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cumbria, Cheshire and Greater Manchester.

Edwin represents the fifth generation of the family that has operated the business since 1847. He entered the business immediately after school and quickly discovered a hunger for retailing. The purchase of wine became his speciality for many years, enabling him to gain Booths national recognition for this important area of the business. Edwin was an HRH The Prince Of Wales Business Ambassador for the North West in 2005. He has also been awarded the Institute of Directors' Director of the Year for Lancashire and the North West, and has been recognised for his business pursuits by the North West Society of Chartered Accounts and as the Lancastrian of the Year in the Be Inspired Business Awards 2009.

Edwin has worked closely with the Lancashire universities in the areas of leadership and business change programmes and chaired the Business in the Community (BITC) Advisory Board for the North West from 2007 to 2014. He is the Non-Executive Chairman of Symington’s Ltd in Leeds and in 2010 became a trustee of the Prince’s Countryside Fund. In 2011 he was appointed as Chair of the Lancashire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership).


Chris Cox

Managing Director of the third-generation family construction group George Cox & Sons

Chris has been MD for 20 years , overseeing a steady year-on-year increase in turnover, equating to an average 10% increase every year over this period. The company employs 100 staff out of three offices within the North West of England, focusing on long-term framework contracts with local and public authorities.

Chris is very much a 'hands on' Managing Director, maintaining direct responsibility for all the Framework Bids, estimating, and quality management systems within the organisation, as well as overseeing the financial control of the group. The award-winning £15m prt annum turnover business specialises in high-quality highway and footway projects, has its own in-house apprenticeship and mentoring programme, and was one of the early pioneers of the 'Investors in People' within its sector. Its own employees lead the company Community Charity. Numerous external reviews of the company have identified a strong family ethos within the organisation, supported by the fact that it currently employs nine sets of father and sons as well as three pairs of brothers.

Chris is an Engineering graduate from Swansea University, and recently completed the LEAD programme at Lancaster University. He has also acted as both a Business Mentor and a Youth Programme Mentor, as well as ten years as a Junior Football Coach, followed by a two-year stint as the Club Chairman.


Gill Hall

Owner, Butlers Farmhouse Cheese

My name is Gill Hall and my company, Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses, was started in 1932 by my grandparents Richard and Annie Butler who bought the family farm where my brother now milks 300 cows and 1,000 goats to provide the milk to make our farmhouse cheeses. My parents Tom and Jean Butler started cheese-making in 1969 to increase the income from the farm, and in 1989 they built a new dairy, which created the opportunity for myself and my husband Colin to join the family business.

The business then went through a period of rapid growth; it had an artisanal product and a new dairy at a time when retailers wanted provenance and increasing hygiene standards. We developed new varieties to add to our Farmhouse Lancashire and started to cut and pack our cheese into retail portions which we continue to do for all the major retailers, including M&S and local retailer Booths.

Today we make a range of cheese suitable for cheeseboard and premium everyday use, including traditional Farmhouse Lancashire, Blacksticks Blue and Kidderton Ash soft goats cheese. We have an innovative culture and produce a variety of cheese-based gifts and hampers, including wedding cakes and cheese selection packs. We also use Lean manufacturing techniques to increase engagement with all our staff and help us to achieve our mission to be "the Farmhouse Speciality Cheesemaker of Choice for customers, farmers and staff." 

Lancaster University has played a significant role in our journey since 2008 when I completed the LEAD course. This was followed by GOLD and Top Teams for key staff. I went on the Silicone Valley learning journey in 2013 and continue to get support and motivation from various interactive forums, including being an Entrepreneur in Residence and involvement with the Centre for Family Business. Long may it continue!

Professor Ellie Hamilton

Associate Dean for Enterprise

Ellie Hamilton has 15 years experience in the setting up and management of a range of small businesses. Her research interests include: the influence and impact of intergenerational learning in family businesses, entrepreneurial learning, entrepreneurship education and curriculum and marketing/entrepreneurship interface.


Dr Joseph Horak

Director of the Family Owned Business Institute (FOBI), Grand Valley State University.

As Director of FOBI, Joseph Horak leads the strategic direction, overseas operations and services provided by the Institute, including education, research and advocacy.  Joseph has taught family business at GVSU since 2007. He began consulting with family owned businesses in the late 1980’s as a Senior Family Therapist at Henry Ford Hospital in Dearborn, MI.   He has helped many family owned and privately held companies through transitions for over 25 years.


Professor Alfredo De Massis

Director of the Centre for Family Business

Alfredo De Massis is Director of the Centre for Family Business and Professor in the area of Family Business at the University of Bergamo (Italy) where he co-founded the Center for Young and Family Enterprise (CYFE), which he ran as Deputy Director until October 2013. He also serves as Chairman of the STEP European Leadership Council and Member of the Global Board of the Global STEP Project for Family Enterprising founded by Babson College (USA). Engaging over 200 scholars from 41 leading universities, this global applied research initiative explores the entrepreneurial processes within business families and generates solutions that have immediate application for family leaders. He is also a member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Institute for Family Business (IFB) Research Foundation.


Robert Roth

President/CEO RoMan Manufacturing (USA)

Robert is President/CEO of RoMan Manufacturing, Inc.  Founded in 1980, RoMan Manufacturing is a second generation family business with operations in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Burlington, Ontario; and Shanghai, China.  RoMan Manufacturing specialises in the design and manufacture of water cooled transformers and DC power supplies used for industrial applications such as resistance welding, glass melting and forming, plating, and furnace applications.  Robert is a member of the second generation and joined the business in 1987, after his employment with the Hydra-matic Division of General Motors from 1980 until 1987.  Robert graduated in 1985 from Kettering University, formerly General Motors Institute with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Administration.  



Daniel McLaughlin

Enterprise Strategy, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Dan works on enterprise policy and strategy at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The team has a key role in driving growth by promoting the enterprise agenda across Government and more widely and are committed to make the UK the best place to start and grow a business. The team led on developing Small Business: GREAT Ambition which was published in December 2013. This is the Government’s commitment to making it easier for small businesses to grow.

Alison Park

Owner, Low Sizergh Barn Ltd

Alison Park is one of four members of the Park family running a family business that has developed from the family dairy farm near Kendal, now employing 50 people. Alison heads up Low Sizergh Barn with its farm shop, tea room, craft galleries and farm trail. A social enterprise, Growing Well, supporting mental wellbeing, is based on the farm. Low Sizergh Barn has since 1991 received many awards and accolades, most recently appearing in lists of Britain’s top farm shops in both The Times and The Telegraph.


Mike Roberts

Owner, Frank Roberts & Sons Ltd

Mike Roberts is a fourth-generation member of the family-owned bakery business in Northwich, Cheshire. It was founded in 1887 and celebrated its 125 anniversary in 2012. Mike joined the business in 1976 and has undertaken a number of roles, mostly in manufacturing and sales. He became a Director in 1985 and has been involved in all the major developments since then.

The business has seen considerable growth and investment, with the board and family setting a new strategy for the future. Mike became Deputy Chairman in 2008. In 2010 a small bakery business was purchased in Derby. The company employs around 800 people and turnover was £90m in the year ending August 2013.

Mike is Chairman of the Frank Roberts Family Council which meets regularly with the shareholders and fifth-generation members of the family. Mike is a Director of the Institute for Family Business and is its North West Regional Chairman. He is a Director of Bakers Basco Ltd, a jointly owned bakery industry basket company. He is also a governor of Sandbach School in Cheshire. The school with 1250 students became the country’s largest Free School in September 2011.