Bondholders' Collaboration

Bondholder Smith Partnership has appointed fellow Bondholder Sky Recruitment Solutions to manage its employment vacancies in Derby.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in business in 2017, Smith Partnership made a strategic decision to outsource its recruitment process to utilise the multi-sector agency’s expertise.

Claire Twells, Partner at Smith Partnership said: “We are really looking forward to working with David Torrington and his team at Sky Recruitment, to help us find high quality candidates for all our Derby vacancies, from legal professionals to a range of administrative and support staff roles.

“We believe this is new partnership will offer greater efficiencies to our business and help us attract even more vibrant, talented people from across the Midlands."

The Human Resources team at Smith Partnership will be working closely with David Torrington, Managing Director of Sky Recruitment Solutions.

David said: "Sky Recruitment Solutions are delighted to be working with Smith Partnership and developing our relationship – I feel that both of our businesses have similar values, and that as the partnership grows we will be able to add value to Smith Partnership, and ultimately their client base.

"We recognise the status of Smith Partnership as the leading Derby based Law Firm, and we are proud to enhance this reputation further."

YouTeachMe Becomes Export Champion

Bondholder YouTeachMe has been selected  as an Export Champion by CommonwealthFirst.

CommonwealthFirst, in partnership with Royal Mail, was established to encourage small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to trade and invest across the Commonwealth; a market comprising 52 English speaking countries with a combined population of 2.2 billion.

Export Champions work as part of an intensive world-class 3-year programme with international support, which include:

  • Tailored trade missions: to fast growing Commonwealth markets such as Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, Nigeria and South Africa;
  • Training and mentoring: support from leading UK exporters, country and technical experts;
  • Assistance from UK Government, Trade Associations, Chambers of Commerce and a network of Suppliers.

Paul Rose, Owner of YouTeachMe, said: "We are so proud to be selected by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council to be part of this prestigious programme. 

"We look forward to seizing this great opportunity to further Derby's reputation as the UK Capital of Innovation."

Prestigious Award for Matt

Matt Wheatcroft, Managing DIrector of Bondholder Purpose Media, is celebrating after scooping a prestigious business award from the Institute of Directors (IoD).

Matt was named the IoD’s East Midlands Young Director of the Year at the awards ceremony last week and will go on to compete for the national title, in London, in September.

The judges were impressed by his “straightforward approach to business which is all about delivering value to customers and proving that by showing them tangible results”.

The annual IoD awards celebrate the achievements of the region’s most hardworking and innovative business leaders. Ron Lynch, IoD East Midlands Regional Director, said: “They recognise excellence on the part of directors in the East Midlands. Those who have done something special and achieved something very significant. All our entrants deserve praise for their achievements in a challenging business environment.”

Matt said: “Purpose Media has undergone a huge amount of growth and change over the past two years to get us to where we are today, and this award reflects the hard work, passion and determination that has gone into making Purpose Media a success.
 
“Personally, it’s a great accolade to receive, but it also reflects the efforts, support and commitment from Tim, our leadership team and all our fantastic, hardworking staff, who I pay tribute to. It’s been a great journey and a real team effort.
 
“The way we have grown the business means we can now offer the perfect blend of creativity, technical expertise and real business acumen to ensure every project we deliver is commercially successful and our clients gain a return on their investment as a result of our advice, expertise and services.”

Freeths Top 50 Employer for Social Mobility

Bondholder Freeths has featured on what is believed to be the first ever social mobility index.

The new top 50 list is produced by the Social Mobility Foundation and the Social Mobility Commission, and ranks UK employers in accordance with the practices and procedures they are implementing to ensure they are open to accessing employee talent from all backgrounds.

David Johnston, chief executive of the Social Mobility Foundation, said: "All the top 50 firms in the Social Mobility Employer Index should be applauded for the progress they are making towards ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to get in and get on — regardless of their background."

Freeths has been ranked 32 out of 98 companies in the Index for the commendable work it has taken to tackle this and enable those from lower socio-economic backgrounds to succeed.

Colin Flanagan, Chairman of Freeths, commented: "Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of the Freeths people strategy, and so we are delighted to be ranked number 32 in the first ever social mobility index. This is also encapsulated in our brand values touchstone as one aspect of "Doing the Right Thing".

"Our diversity committee delivers initiatives such as our right to read scheme, apprenticeship programmes, flexible graduate programmes (including the use of contextualised recruitment), legal scholarship schemes, careers labs workshops and mentoring programmes. We also celebrate a wide range of social and faith events to emphasise that all groups within our organisation are recognised and valued.

"Whilst this ranking is a great achievement, we know that it is only one step on our journey and we are committed to continuous improvement in this key area of our business."

Next Phase of Castleward Ready to go

Bondholder Compendium Living is to submit its planning application for the second phase of its award winning Castleward development, following local consultation.

A pre-planning consultation event was held on Wednesday 21st June at the Castleward Sales and Marketing Centre, where local councillors, residents and businesses could see the draft plans of the next phase.

Dave Bullock, Managing Director of Compendium Living, said: “Our Castleward project has been influenced by the views of people in Derby.

“We believe in the importance of engaging local councillors, residents and businesses with our proposed plans, which is why we ensure that we hold pre-planning consultation events to allow people to enquire and give their opinions about the plans before we submit them.”

The application for the second phase of Castleward will be for around 100 new homes across two sites. One of the sites is on Liversage Street, while the other site is the Sovereign car park between Canal Street and Wellington Street.

Dave further commented: “We are very excited that the plans for the next phase of Castleward will soon be submitted. We are proud to be able to continue to offer a mix of high quality housing which Derby people will benefit from.”

Gold Star for University

Bondholder the University of Derby has been awarded Gold by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in the country’s first ever Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), putting it in the top 20% of all providers in the UK.

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Derby delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students, and is of the highest quality found in the UK.

In its decision letter, HEFCE highlighted the University’s engagement with employers, personalised learning, engagement of students, outstanding resources, and its culture of excellent teaching, as particular areas of strength.

Professor Kathryn Mitchell, University of Derby Vice-Chancellor, said: “I am incredibly proud that the University has been awarded a Gold rating for teaching excellence.

""We have built a strong reputation in terms of our teaching quality, and the Gold rating is confirmation that we are delivering to the highest standard. We put our students at the heart of everything we do and are pleased to see that our excellent student experience, and the hard work of our staff, is recognised in the TEF.

“We have huge ambitions for the University and our students, and this Gold rating provides the perfect platform on which to further build our academic quality and our regional, national and international impact in the months and years to come.”

The University is also rated number one in the East Midlands for the employability of its students.

Developers Invest in Derby

Developer confidence in Derby is on the up, as Marketing Derby Managing Director, John Forkin, unveiled the latest investments into city at the Derby Property Summit. 

John highlighted a number of recent investments into Derby from several developers. These included St Modwen's £70 million scheme, Derby Triangle, which will create 3,300 new jobs for the city once completed. 

Developer Goodman International has invested £175 million into Derby Commercial Park, which will create approximately 3,000 new jobs across the site. While local developer Ivygrove Developments is set to convert a seven-acre site into a £10m industrial estate, which will help create up to 500 jobs, once completed.

LCR, which own a significant property portfolio in Derby at the RTC on London Road, have been investing heavily in its facilities by refurbishing key sites and investing in a new catering block. 

This latest round of investments is characteristic of the developing landscape of Derby.

 

 

 

Business at the Heart of the City

Russell Davies, partner at law firm Smith Partnership, shares his views on office space in the city centre.

A few years ago now, at one of those always inspiring Annual Business Events organised by Marketing Derby, the subject of discussion was “Suits on the Street”.  The point was made that, as a city, Derby had a particularly low percentage of office workers on the street during a lunch hour compared to other cities.  Marketing Derby and the City Council recognised this as a disadvantage, and one that they wanted to put right. 

One of the products of that policy was the flagship Copper Building which was built speculatively a few years ago, with the intention of housing a corporate headquarters. Thankfully, the building is now home to the impressive University of Derby Law School.  

The benefits of Suits on the Street are obvious.  Office workers spending money in shops, cafes and sandwich bars at lunchtime is great for the retail economy of the city.   All this has been brought to my mind over the course of the last 6 to 12 months.  I should explain why.  The lease on our office building comes to an end in the next 12 months.  About 12 months ago, we began to consider where we would like to relocate our business for the next 5 to 10 years.  In any event, the end of our current lease seemed a sensible time to start thinking about whether or not we wanted to move and, if so, where we wanted to relocate. 

Like any business, where we are located is an important decision for us.  It reflects all sorts of things about our business, and it is always important to see these things through the eyes of your clients.  Marketing Derby and the City Council are very keen for us to remain in the city centre. 

We have looked at various locations but what we hadn’t expected, was the dearth of good quality office space in the city centre. 

Over recent years, there seems to have been a headlong rush to city centre living, with many smaller office blocks (including those adjacent to our own) being converted to apartments.   There are some new build projects underway, but unfortunately none of them are likely to become available before the end of our lease, despite the best efforts of the City Council.  

In January, at the Innes England Property Review of 2016, Nick Hosking bemoaned the lack of available office space in Derby.  Our search for new premises has certainly borne out that comment.  Unfortunately, I am not able to offer any solution to this particular problem.  There are others far more expert than me who may have some ideas, but I guess they can all agree that there is no simple solution. 

It is, however something which the city needs to address, and quickly.  A lack of usable, affordable city centre office space will simply drive firms such as ours out of the centre, to the detriment of the city. 

It would indeed be ironic if all the workers moved to city centre living, only to find there were no offices to employ them, resulting in them having to drive out of the city centre to find work. 

We are currently working closely with a landlord to secure a prime city centre office space – watch this space!

Derby's Architectural Talent

Derby Property Summit 2017 saw the culmination of an annual collaboration between the city and students from the University of Derby’s School of Architecture, showcasing the best of the new architectural talent coming from the city.

As part of their final year projects, University of Derby students were asked to create schemes that take key Derby City Centre Masterplan sites and provide a vision for the future. Schemes for this year’s Property Summit included Derby Riverside, Middleton House and the Assembly Rooms.

Following nine months of work, the University’s Big Show provides a showcase for the projects where the best schemes are selected to be exhibited to Property Summit delegates.

This year’s winners included Mike Jepp for his Joseph Wright Centre on Irongate and Ben Edwards for his vision for the Riverside.

Speaking in front of the audience, Mike said, “in developing my scheme it was important to understand the social and cultural history of Derby to ensure a sense of place and civic pride.”

Tom Erskine, Inward Investment Executive at Marketing Derby, helped select this year’s winners, saying, “The standard of work from these students is always exceptionally high and presents difficulties in selecting winners. We were very impressed with all six projects exhibited here, with all of them showing the ambition, context and excitement that we want to see as Derby’s regeneration journey continues.”

Mid-Size Businesses Contribute £4bn to Economy

BDO, one of the country’s leading accountants and business advisers, has launched its Derbyshire Growth Barometer at the Derby Property Summit. The report evaluates the growth of mid-sized businesses in the county, with turnovers ranging from £10m - £300m. Contributing over £3.9bn to the local economy, up 69% in the last 3 years, the list demonstrates the strength of the local economy.

Gareth Singleton, partner at BDO, said, “Mid-sized, high-growth businesses are an essential and dynamic part of the county – yet these businesses are frequently overlooked and undervalued. We wanted to give a voice to these businesses and recognise these fast growing businesses.”

Derby-based Mortgage Advice Bureau topped the list with a phenomenal 534% growth over the past three years, leading the professional services sector to come out in first place for the fastest growing sector with an average growth of 107% overall. In addition, there has been a huge 88% increase in employment across the sector.

Chief Executive of Mortgage Advice Bureau, Peter Brodnicki said, “Although we have grown significantly since forming the company in Derby, our head office remains here as it is a great location to do business. Innovation and investment has been key to our business growth and we hope to continue to stay ahead of our competition.”

Professional services is closely followed by the county’s manufacturing sector, which reported 100% growth in turnover and a 35% increase in job creation in the same time period.  This growth reflects Derby and Derbyshire’s longstanding pedigree in advanced manufacturing.  Leading the way in terms of job creation for the mid-sized market is the technology and media sector.  Whilst only three of the top 50 companies are in this sector, technology and media firms increased jobs by 92%.

Chief Executive of Marketing Derby, John Forkin, said: “Being at the centre of the Midlands Engine provides a platform for trans-regional collaboration, leading to the attraction of new business investment to Derbyshire. We need to continue to be a centre of innovation and ask ourselves the big questions that help us adapt to a changing economy.”  

Debenhams on Market

Derby City Council is continuing to make progress on key regeneration sites in the City Centre Masterplan, with Greg Jennings, Director of Regeneration, Housing and Property at Derby City Council, formally announcing at the Derby Property Summit that the former Debenhams building on Victoria Street – part of the Becketwell regeneration site in the city centre - is now on the market with agents Cushman & Wakefield.

The purchase of the former Debenhams building by Derby City Council means that the Becketwell site can be unlocked with a preference for an ice rink to be constructed on Duckworth Square.

Greg Jennings also confirmed that the city's Cattle Market is also now on the market, and one of the largest properties owned by Derby City Council, Middleton House, is on the verge of being sold to a major East Midlands developer specialising in residential schemes.  Subject to planning permission and completion of the sale, the building will be transformed into a mixed-use development, including high-end residential units.

The announcement of £8.6m of Local Growth Funding from D2N2 earlier this month brings closer the demolition of the existing Assembly Rooms and its replacement with a new performance venue at the Heart of the City. Recommendations for the scheme are expected to be considered by Derby City Council in September.

 Cllr Martin Rawson, Deputy Leader of Derby City Council welcomed the D2N2 funding announcement, saying “We are on course to transform Derby into a vibrant city of choice for businesses, investment, city centre living, cultural offerings and leisure”.

Speaking as a panellist at yesterday's Derby Property Summit, Mr Rawson said "it is vitally important that we get the city centre right and provide a high quality offer to help local businesses recruit and retain top talent from across the globe."

Property Experts Weigh in at Summit

Yesterday's annual Derby Property Summit saw 350 delegates come together at the city’s Pride Park Stadium to hear from leading figures in the UK property sector talk on the theme of ‘Shaping the Post-Brexit City’.

With keynote speakers Melanie Leech, Chief Executive of the British Property Federation, and Yolande Barnes, Director of World Research at Savills, this year’s Summit reflected on how cities are evolving and how global trends will impact on cities like Derby.

Speaking on the topic of “The Fifth Age of Cities”, Yolande Barnes noted that by 2025, 75% of the world’s workforce will be millenials and “there will be increased demand from people who want to be in cities that work for them, and this brings opportunities for cities like Derby”.  The digital age enables high-value workers to be more flexible and as such they favour street environments where they can live, work and relax - such environments are creating growth economies globally. She recommended that cities think carefully about their streetscapes, to make them attractive to all, and to put up buildings to accommodate flexible working and lifestyles.

Investment trends are also changing.  Yolande Barnes told delegates that “investor investment is moving to alternative sectors which offer long-term, higher value income streams”.  Investment in student residential and logistics are seeing growth and, as global investors find it difficult to find anything in gateway cities outside London, they are looking increasingly at cities like Derby.

Melanie Leech followed this with a discussion on the challenges to come for the property industry with her talk on “Thinking Beyond Boundaries – Tomorrow’s Property Challenge,” saying that Derby had a global outlook, productive local economy, innovative environment and connected workforce and should work these assets in order to attract investment with a clear, compelling offer.

She saw a partnership approach, such as that already advocated in Derby through initiatives like its public-private Derby Renaissance Board, as key in place-making and in attracting investment, advocating a "long-term vision" for the city - a point reflected by Derby City Council's new city centre Masterplan. She said:

"Long-term investors consider place and care about their customers having good experiences where they can come together.  It is important to knit people together in communities, not just put up buildings".

The headline speakers were subsequently joined on a panel to discuss the topic “Regeneration in the Regions”, chaired by the Summit’s host Declan Curry.  Panellists included Martin Rawson, deputy leader, Derby City Council;  Julia Bevan, acquisitions manager, Grainger Plc; Nigel Lax, director, iSec Group and Russell Davies, partner at Smith Partnership law firm fielded questions from the floor.

Russell Davies endorsed Melanie Leech's earlier points saying "Derby does partnerships very well and has a great opportunity to attract people to live and invest here.  Delivery of key sites in the city centre Masterplan will help create a fantastic city centre."

With delegates attending from across the country, the Derby Property Summit is the biggest property conference in the Midlands. Delegates come to hear about a variety of topics, focussing on the macro factors affecting the industry globally and nationally, whilst also receiving critical information about developments and opportunities in Derby.

The Sky's the Limit

From 28th June, Marketing Derby and Bondholder East Midlands Airport will join forces to drive key business development and support growth aspirations of the airport and the region.
 
Lindsey Hatfield, Commercial Development Manager for Marketing Derby will work alongside East Midlands Airport's marketing team to strengthen existing relationships, and to ensure new airline routes are developed to support businesses.

East Midlands Airport

This exciting opportunity will help shape the future growth of East Midlands Airport and businesses in the region.
 
Howard Ebison, East Midlands Airport Commercial Director commented “Lindsey has a wealth of experience and knowledge in developing and harnessing relationships with businesses in Derby, which we know she’ll be able to expand on our behalf across the wider region.” 

John Forkin, Managing Director of Marketing Derby adds “East Midlands Airport is crucial to the region’s economy and we are delighted to be able to support their work in developing new routes."
 
Lindsey will be seconded to the role of Business Development Manager at East Midlands Airport on a short-term basis whilst still holding her position at Marketing Derby.
 
You’ll start to hear from Lindsey as part of her new role at East Midlands Airport very soon.

Derbyshire Companies' Revenues Soar to £4bn

Bondholder BDO launched its Derbyshire Growth Barometer at yesterday's Derby Property Summit, highlighting that Derbyshire’s fastest growing mid-sized companies have contributed almost £4bn in revenues in the last year, increasing 69% over the past three years.

The publication analyses the mid-sized market in the region, which boast turnovers ranging from £10m – £300m, and names the top 50 fastest growing businesses by average turnover growth in the last three years.

Fellow Bondholder Mortgage Advice Bureau topped the list with a phenomenal 534% growth over the past three years, leading the professional services sector to come out in first place for the fastest growing sector with an average growth of 107% overall, In addition, there has been a huge 88% increase in employment across the sector.

Professional services is closely followed by the manufacturing sector, which reported 100% growth in turnover and a 35% in job creation in the same time period.

Peter Brodnicki, Chief Executive of Mortgage Advice Bureau was interviewed as part of the report and said: “Although we have grown significantly since forming the company in Derby, our head office remains here as it is a great location to do business. Innovation and investment has been key to our business growth and we hope to continue to stay ahead of our competition”

BDO Partner Gareth Singleton, who heads up the Derbyshire team, was thrilled to see such a wide range of businesses featuring in the list: He commented: “Mid-sized, high-growth businesses are an essential and dynamic part of the county – yet these businesses are frequently overlooked and undervalued. We wanted to give a voice to these businesses and recognise these fast growing businesses.

John Forkin, Managing Director of Marketing Derby, said: “Being at the centre of the Midlands Engine provides a platform for trans-regional collaboration, leading to the attraction of new business investment to Derbyshire. We need to continue to be a centre of innovation and ask ourselves the big questions that help us adapt to a changing economy.”

Derby Remembers

As part of the Derby Remembers programme, run in conjunction with the Weeping Window display at Derby Silk Mill, Bondholder QUAD has developed a digital trail. 

The free to download Derby Remembers Digital Trail is an app for smartphones and tablets designed to give a walking tour of the city centre, featuring eleven monuments and stories of Derby and its resident during the First World War. 

The Trail covers significant historical and cultural sites in Derby – including The Silk Mill, and Bondholders Déda, Derby CathedralDerby Museum & Art Gallery, QUAD and Royal Crown Derby.

To get the app for iOS devices on the App Store, click here.
To get the app for Android phones, click here.

Freeths Skydive for Charity

Over forty members of staff from Bondholder Freeths took part in a charity skydive, raising over £22,000 for The Alzheimer’s Society, taking the firm's total during the year to £37,000.

44 members of staff in total jumped from six airfields across the country. The weather almost scuppered the plan at a few locations but eventually everyone got to complete the challenge, reaching heights of 10,000ft at speeds of up to 120mph before making the leap with a qualified skydiving instructor.

Freeths aim to raise as much as possible throughout the rest of the year to help Alzheimer's Society lead the fight against dementia. 44% of people in the UK will be affected by dementia in some way.

$1.5bn Order for Rolls-Royce

Bondholder Rolls-Royce has won a major order from Ethiopian Airlines to provide Trent XWB engines for ten new Airbus A350-900 aircraft with TotalCare® service support, further increasing their order book for new engines. In addition, the order includes TotalCare for 14 of the aircraft already in service or on order. In total, the deal is valued at $1.5 billion.

Ethiopian became Africa’s first A350 operator in 2015 and currently has four of its initial 14 aircraft in service.

Tewolde Gebremariam, Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopian Airlines, said: “We have been impressed by the performance of both aircraft and engines in service, which gave us confidence to go forward with our order for ten additional aircraft which will bring even greater levels of comfort and service to our customers.”

Eric Schulz, Rolls-Royce, President – Civil Aerospace, said: “A repeat order from Ethiopian is a huge testament to the performance of our engines in service. We look forward to continuing to deliver excellent efficiency to a customer that continues to bring the latest engine and aircraft technology into its fleet.”

National Win for Rachel

Rachel Morris, Chapter Steward at Bondholder Derby Cathedral, has won the Property and Facilities Management category of the national WeAreTheCity Rising Star Awards.

The Rising Star Awards, now in their third year, are the only awards to solely focus on the UK’s female talent pipeline. They celebrate 100 individual female contributors who represent the future leaders and role models of tomorrow across twenty different industries.

The Awards are run in partnership with The Times.

When asked about her win, Rachel said: "I was delighted to receive the news on Monday that I am a winner in the national Rising Star Awards, and I am very grateful to everyone who voted for me. The news of the terrible attack in Finsbury Park, on top of other recent tragedies, has meant that it is quite difficult for me to really celebrate at the moment.  

"It is certainly good to receive some positive news, I am pleased to be considered a role model for women in business, and every day I am thankful to occupy a role responsible for safeguarding the heritage and history of Derby Cathedral."

The awards were entered by 1,250 individuals were judged by a panel of 33 independent judges. Over 35,000 public votes were received for the 200 shortlisted nominees. 

£900 Million Contract for Bombardier

Bondholder Bombardier has landed a contract with South West Trains worth almost £900 million.

First Group/MTR, the new franchisee of South West Trains, announced that it had selected Bombardier to supply 750 carriages. The deal, worth £895 million, is the third largest contract the Derby firm has won since 2014, and represents the largest ever single Aventra train order.

First Group/MTR has also chosen Bombardier to maintain its trains throughout the duration of its seven-year franchise, which starts in August.

Richard Hunter, UK managing director at Bombardier Transportation, said that the contract "demonstrates further confidence placed in this market-leading rolling stock, designed and built in Britain.

"Aventra offers enhanced performance and increased passenger capacity, which will play an important part in helping First/MTR satisfy continued levels of passenger growth on the South Western network. The contract builds upon our strong credentials, following the selection of Aventra for Crossrail, as well as for the East Anglia franchise. We look forward to deepening our collaborative relationship with First/MTR."

 

 

New Chair for Quad

Bondholder Derby QUAD has announced a new Chair of its Board of Directors. Following eight years, Gordon Mitchel has stepped down as QUAD’s Chairman and Professor Judith Lamie, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of External Affairs at Bondholder the University of Derby, will take over the role.

Professor Judith Lamie said “It’s an honour and a privilege to take over from Gordon, and I’m looking forward to being involved in QUAD. As well as being a cultural hub for the city, QUAD works with a wide variety of people, especially the Creative Wellbeing programme: from young people within the Autistic spectrum to the dementia friendly film screenings.

"In my role of promoting Derby outside of the city, I’m also really interested in the impact of QUAD’s FORMAT International Photography Festival.”

Adam Buss, Chief Executive of QUAD, said “‘Gordon has been a key driver in the establishment of QUAD as a key cultural venue in Derby and in driving our national and international reputation. His guidance and skill has been crucial and he has enabled us to reach hundreds of thousands of people every year.

"Judith Lamie will take over as chair and her role as the lead for External Relations for the University of Derby plus her international development experience will enable QUAD to continue to thrive and grow.

"I would like to thank both Gordon for his incredible hard work and diligence and Judith for taking on this role and helping to guide us through our next phase of development.”