I’m pleased to work with a number of experienced and talented associates at My Local Economy who work as project team members. Athey Consulting’s associates are listed below:


Natalie is a highly motivated, creative and enthusiastic economic development and planning professional with demonstrated experience in economy, housing and transportation strategy, working at national scale to site level master plans. Natalie specialises in developing and influencing spatial, transport, housing and economic policy, evidence and interventions to ensure that its implementation supports sustainable economic growth and regeneration.


Steve is a Geographical Information System (GIS) expert, currently working as a Research Associate for the Energy Efficient Cities Initiative at the University of Cambridge. Steve will provide the analysis and production of the maps/ mapping graphics for the analysis and report. In addition to this Steve has 9 years of experience as a GIS analyst working for a regional development agency and local authorities.


Julian Dobson is a highly-regarded writer, editor and facilitator and a nationally acknowledged expert in urban regeneration and placemaking. Julian is currently the Director of Urban Pollinator Ltd – a consultancy specialising in placemaking, regeneration and social change. We do that by writing, researching, devising training courses and learning materials and facilitating events and workshops. Urban Pollinators works in partnership with a wide network of associates.


Andy Hirst is an economist with over 25 years of evaluation and research experience in skills and employability issues. He has considerable experience in the development and implementation of skills strategies.  He recently completed a major analysis for the strategic expansion of Modern Apprenticeships in Scotland aiming to increase starts by 20% and secure 65% at Level 3 or above with the majority for young people.  He has just completed a study of Higher Vocational training in Lancashire that considered the potential for higher and degree apprenticeships within the context of the introduction of the Levy with an action plan for the local LEP.  He previously undertook research with young people in jobs without training in Suffolk identifying young peoples’ aspirations for skills and employment and the potential role for advice, guidance and learning support.  He is in the process of completing the design of a monitoring and evaluation framework for A Better Start Southend Work Skills and so is very familiar with the local context.


Steve is Director at Deyton Bell ( He has successfully implemented business and economic development programmes for local authorities, local, state and national Governments and corporate organisations. He focuses on projects involving business engagement, developing international trade and partnership linkages, and Inward Investment. Steve is on the project team due to his outstanding experience in supporting business growth and investment. In his previous role, Steve had 50 staff reporting, (dispersed around three regional offices) with budget responsibility of £4.5 million and eight direct reports. He was responsible for all marketing and partnership activities for contracts including UKTI Trade, Enterprise Europe, Foreign Direct Investment and Business Link. Steve has also run a high growth business in the digital packaging sector and worked as a consultant to over 600 small businesses, supporting their growth through sales, marketing and strategic business planning.


Alan McGregor is Director of the Training and Employment Research Unit (TERU) and Professor of Economic Development in the Adam Smith Business School at the University of Glasgow. A labour economist by background, over a period of 40 years he has worked in the broad areas of economic development. Alan’s principal areas of expertise include labour markets, worklessness, neighbourhood regeneration, economic participation, social inclusion, skills demand and supply in key sectors, business development, social enterprise, economic development strategy and partnership impacts and processes. In addition to his academic work he has been heavily involved in practical issues and in policy development. Alan has strong policy connections in relation to skills development across Scotland, the UK and the EU.


Meirion has over 30 years’ experience in economic and regional development where his expertise covers a range of interests including innovation and technology, research and knowledge transfer, investment financing and sustainable development. Throughout his career, Meirion has worked at a senior level with a wide range of businesses, sectors and organisations as an employee, partner, consultant and board member. His experience with organisations across the UK, Ireland and France and in many other European countries. Meirion is currently completing work for Welsh Government Ministers considering the case for a possible National Innovation body for Wales and advising the Irish Government, Dept of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation on their technology futures exercise as part of a refreshing of Ireland’s national science, technology and innovation strategy. Meirion is also an expert on services industry innovation, and was an expert advisor to Forfás, Ireland’s national policy advisory body for enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation.


Peter Tyler is a Professor in urban and regional economics in the Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge and President and Fellow of St. Catharine’s College. He has an extensive track record in undertaking research with a particular emphasis on urban and regional economics and industrial policy. He has been a Project Director for over seventy major research projects for Government, many involving the assessment of public policy resulting in the publication of forty research monographs of which twenty-four have been of book length. Besides his work in the United Kingdom for HM Government he has also undertaken research for the European Commission, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on urban, regional and industrial and evaluation policy. He has been an Expert Advisor to the OECD, European Commission and HM Government. He was a Programme Leader for the Cambridge MIT initiative involved in developing new thinking on regional innovation systems and is a Policy Fellow at the Cambridge Centre for Science and Policy.