ASDC Trustee, CEO, of The National Space Centre, and Former Chair of ASDC (2015 - 2019)
Chas worked in a range of operational and marketing roles at five visitor attractions across the UK, including Madame Tussauds and Alton Towers, before joining the National Space Centre team in 1999 and becoming Chief Executive in 2001. He is a board member of the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership and Leicestershire Promotions Ltd and works with the space sector on its recruitment and skills development needs. He has an honorary degree (Doctor of Laws) at the University of Leicester.
I have enjoyed my term as ASDC chair enormously and would very much like to serve a second. Much has been achieved on behalf of the membership, including stellar programmes in partnership with the UK Space Agency, STFC and NERC amongst others, and there are exciting things to come. Will Tim Peake get another mission? Will the Inspiring Science Fund deliver a sea-change in provision for under-represented and under-served audiences? How will intelligent machines influence our lives? There are also challenges: funding, footfall and finding that balance between mission delivery and mission enablement. And don’t mention the B word.
I hope my enjoyment comes through in the way I chair, saying as little as necessary to tee up debate and then summarising enthusiastically for the overt benefit of the minute-taker yet looking pleadingly around the table for nods of acknowledgement that I am not entirely thick. I am indebted to colleagues for their support and hard work in representing all quarters of the membership and ensuring, not least, that the Millennium centres don’t hog the agenda.
My proudest board meeting moment has been my question in the Large Hadron Collider. The answer was yes, once. He still has a hole in his head and the occasional epileptic fit, but remains alive and otherwise well forty years after the incident.
I remain as keen as ever to see how marginal businesses can be helped into sustainability and how the membership can inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, whatever deck life has dealt them.
What I bring
I bring a broad experience from the private sector that has steered my enthusiasm for long term business planning as the basis for a sustainable science centre. I have enjoyed political debate at local and national level that has helped position the organisations for which I have worked in the minds of funders and policy-makers. I bring a huge amount of enjoyment for the task ahead, yet a fallibility in many aspects of life – particularly when it comes to technical matters - that allows me to say, “I’m sorry, I don’t understand”.