Our Trustees

Neil Hartwell (chair)

Neil Hartwell joined Community Energy Plus as a Trustee in 2010. He lives in Fowey and works as a jeweller, but previous to that supported the fuel poverty charity National Energy Action’s 10 regional offices in England and Wales for seven years and was a Director of Warm Zones Ltd, who bring together local authority, energy sector and other partners to reduce fuel poverty.

A trained psychologist, researcher and designer with a M.Phil. in Occupational Psychology, a BSc (Hons) in Economics and a BSc in Technology, Neil has worked at board level for several companies and charities and in other roles encompassing Finance, IT and Human Resources.  Neil has also worked in the steel and manufacturing industries in London and Northern England.


Gordon Ackroyd

Gordon is an experienced social entrepreneur and senior executive with over 30 years’ experience in developing and engaging people, partners and managing change.

With a background in creative advertising and PR, and expertise across training and adult education, public services and social enterprise, engineering and defence contracting – plus huge experience of hospitality and catering, Gordon has a wealth of knowledge in starting and growing successful enterprises.

Gordon became a trustee in April 2015.


Justin Butt

Justin is a solicitor based in Exeter working as an Associate within Stephen Scown’s Renewable Energy team which involves acting on behalf of developers, landowners, funders and community benefit societies.

Before qualifying at Stephens Scown, Justin worked as part of the Green Team (Renewables) at EDF Energy, building up a broad experience of the renewable energy sector. Justin has been awarded two European Energy Centre Galileo Master Certificates in respect of Renewable Energy Solutions.

Justin joined our board of trustees in December 2015.


Neil Harris

Neil joined our board of trustees in July 2013. His career as a chartered engineer spans five decades and has involved him working on high profile projects both internationally and locally. For the past 20 years Neil’s career has been focused on delivering engineering services for renewable energy schemes. Formerly the Construction and Operations Director of REG Holdings Ltd, Neil has been responsible for developing and constructing wind farms and solar PV projects in the United Kingdom and Canada.

Neil studied Civil Engineering for a B.Sc. (Eng.) and Soil Mechanics for a M.Sc.(Eng.) both at Imperial College, London University.

His Fellowships include The Institution of Civil Engineers, The Institution of Structural Engineers, the Chartered Institute of Building and The Chartered Management Institute. Neil is a member of the Association for Project Safety and past chairman of the Devon & Cornwall branch of the Institution of Structural Engineers.


Howard Richards

Howard joined our board of trustees in January 2013 with a wealth of experience of private sector housing services within local government. His most recent role was as a Principal Officer in the Private Sector Housing team at Cornwall Council where he worked on projects to improve the standard of private sector housing, ensuring that they meet minimum legal standards. Before Cornwall Council became a unitary authority, Howard was a part of Carrick District Council’s Private Sector Housing Team.


Mark Summers

An energy engineer by background, Mark has over 30 years experience of working in both the private and public sectors in the South West. His most recent role was as the Low Carbon Lead of Cornwall Council’s Public Health team.

Mark joined our board of trustees in May 2013.  He is also a trustee of Devon and Cornwall Food Association and Chairperson of Cymaz Music, a musical inclusion charity working across Cornwall.


Oliver Thornton

Oliver is an entrepreneurial business management professional with over 20 years’ experience in finance operations, business operations and business development focusing on start-up, turnaround and rapid growth businesses.

Originally from the West Midlands, Oliver is a Chartered Certified Accountant who moved to Cornwall in March 2013 and set up Incite Ventures, a freelance business development company helping start-up and young companies.

Oliver became a trustee of Community Energy Plus in April 2015.


Maurice Vella

A semi-retired chartered architect, Maurice has applied sustainability principles to building design throughout his career and still plays an active role in planning appears and is a member of Truro City Council and previously with Carrick District Council.

As a founder member, Maurice has been a trustee of Community Energy Plus since 2003.