Horticulture Wales Key Personnel
Dr David Skydmore (PhD, MA, BSc, FLS, FCMI) – Project Director
With nearly 30 years of industry experience, David brings vast knowledge of the horticulture sector, plant science, and sustainability to his role as Project Director.
A former Chair of Horticulture Network Wales, biology graduate David achieved a PhD in plant health from Bangor University and completed a doctorate on plant pathology and epidemiology at the University of Wales, before carrying out additional post-doctoral work on the diseases of horticultural crops and forest trees. Having previously held lecturing posts at Cambridge University and the University of Manchester, David now combines his role at Horticulture Wales with the position of Academic Head of Biology and Environment for Glyndwr University.
He currently sits on the committees of both the UK Plant Health Strategic Advisory Forum and the Horticulture Strategy Group for Wales.
Helen Eustace – Project Manager
An economics graduate from the University of Wales, Swansea, Helen brings significant experience in the food sector to her role as Project Manager. As a producer herself – growing herbs and salad leaves on a 12 acre smallholding in North Wales – Helen has an exceptional understanding of the supply chain issues the industry faces.
Prior to joining Horticulture Wales, she headed up the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s DairyCo Datum Market Intelligence department.
Katina Davies – Market Analyst
Psychology graduate Katina is tasked with accessing all manner of statistics, figures, market data, and intelligence of relevance to the Welsh horticulture sector, then interpreting this information to help identify opportunities for the industry to grow, diversify, and thrive.
With a keen eye for figures, Katina joined Horticulture Wales after working for the probation service, while she also has previous experience in local government and running businesses alongside her husband Jason, a golf professional voted one of the UK’s top 100 coaches by Golf World Magazine.
Michael Evans-Jones – Market Analyst
A Durham University graduate having achieved a Degree in Classical History and an MSc in International Relations, Michael’s role with the project focuses on gathering and interpreting a wide range of statistics relevant to growers, producers, processors, and consumers in Wales.
Michael joined Horticulture Wales following a successful spell as Events and Communications Manager at business development agency Westminster Business Council, where he put his international relations knowledge to good use by staging a number of events with embassies and diplomatic officials.
A keen sportsman, he has represented Wales in both fencing and touch rugby, while he is also a qualified sports coach.
Karen Rodenburg – Project Development Officer
As Project Development Officer, Karen is very much the ‘eyes and ears’ of the team, travelling around the country to meet with growers and producers to find out what’s going on in the Welsh horticulture sector.
A psychology graduate who has worked in sectors as diverse as banking and food marketing, she plays a key role in identifying and organising the project’s ever-popular study tours.
Karen also has significant experience of living and working in Holland, and has strong links to the horticultural hotspot Boskoop, which is renowned for its nurseries.
Chris Owens – Communications Officer
A politics graduate, NCTJ-trained journalist Chris has significant media and communications experience. After starting his career in regional newspapers, he moved on to an in-house content development role at a software and publishing company in Wilmslow, before a spell as part of the search engine optimisation (SEO) team at one of the UK’s leading price comparison websites.
A member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, Chris joined the Horticulture Wales team following almost three years working at the largest PR and communications agency in Shropshire, and is responsible for the project’s website and social media management, media and stakeholder relations, and general communications activities.