Who's who

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Our experienced, skilled and committed team works across our Combined Authority and LEP areas, offering practical support, raising awareness of local energy schemes, attracting investment and developing innovative projects.

Karen Oliver-Spry

Karen Oliver-Spry

Net Zero Hub Manager

Karen joined the Net Zero Hub from the Hull and East Yorkshire and formerly Humber LEPs where she spent 8 years managing over £150m capital investment programmes, providing effective strategic and operational management of key programmes and ensuring exceptional delivery for economic and social benefit. Karen brings determination, rigour and attention to detail to her work and cares passionately that the best possible energy outcomes can be achieved for the North East and Yorkshire.

As the Hub manager, Karen leads the strategic delivery of the Hub co-ordinating its day to day functioning and acting as a key node in terms of reporting to the Hub Board. Karen also acts as the primary channel through which the Hub communicates with central government officers at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.

Photo of staff member Abbie Raynes

Abbie Raynes

Net Zero Hub Project Manager

Abbie joined the Net Zero Hub in June 2021 after relocating, from Edinburgh, back to her hometown of Middlesbrough. Her background is in environmental geography, housing retrofit schemes, and home energy efficiency and renewable technology programmes, which she managed while working with Energy Saving Trust. The Coronavirus pandemic has further highlighted the need for safe and comfortable energy efficient homes - which Abbie is keen to strive towards within her role in the Net Zero Hub.

Abbie manages the Hub’s regional funding and support programmes, including the Rural Community Energy Fund and Energy Project Enabling Fund.


Nicole Huston

Housing Retrofit Project Manager

Nicole has worked in roles across the housing and third sector for the past 10 years, both for Local Authorities, Housing organisations and charities, mainly in community, tenancy, sustainability, energy, environmental fields. She worked as a Project Development Coordinator at a national charity (NEA) part of the team managing a £26 million Redress fund on behalf of Ofgem and Central Government. This involved working on over 100 projects across the UK, working with Local Authorities and Housing Associations to deliver energy improvements to over 8,500 homes. Nicole joined the North East and Yorkshire Energy Hub in July and her main work involves supporting North East Local Authorities to deliver the Green Homes Grant Phase 2 Funding.

Nicole leads the Net Zero Hub’s housing retrofit activity, including managing the Local Authority Delivery Housing Retrofit Programme (LAD2).


Louise Jackson

Programmes Manager

Louise joined the Net Zero Hub from TVCA, her background has been working in the education, employment, and skills sector for over 14 years for both private and public sector organisations. She has also worked within TVCA supporting projects and programmes, ranging from festivals to capital builds.

Louise has experience of working with multiple stakeholders to deliver projects on time and within budget and is very methodical, process driven and organised.


Oluwafemi Omoniyi (Femi)

West Yorkshire Project Manager

Femi joined the team in June 2022, He has previous experience working on scientific projects on the energy transition particularly the uptake and distribution of Hydrogen and biomethane for heat and transport applications. He is also an associate member of the institute of chemical engineering, a published journal author and has carried out research on optimising the production process for energy gases particularly hydrogen from renewable sources.

Femi is the Hub-funded provider of local capacity support for the West Yorkshire area, helping to deliver local strategy in his area.


George Lee

South Yorkshire Project Manager

George joined the Hub in late 2021 from a role in energy and sustainability project development and delivery at Barnsley MBC. George has specialised in built environment, energy management, EV charging, and carbon accounting and net zero pathways, as well as dabbling in community energy. George is responsible for working with the local authorities and stakeholders across South Yorkshire and the Hub region to develop innovative projects and deliver on our ambitious net zero commitments.

George is the Hub-funded provider of local capacity support, for the South Yorkshire area, helping to deliver local energy strategy.


Laura Hood

Net Zero Projects Officer

Laura joined the Hub in November 2022, with a background in social housing, including 8 years within the Wandsworth and Richmond SSA’s Housing Policy Team where she was the strategic lead for climate change. Laura also led on funding bids and retrofit programmes in this role. Through the BEIS Technical Assistance Pilot, Laura helped to develop a strategy for reaching net zero across the Council’s stock, as well as on a project to improve asset data to enable the efficient programming of improvements.

Laura provides support to the Hub’s project and programme delivery, particularly around community energy projects.

Profile photo of Katie Privett

Katie Privett

York & North Yorkshire Project Manager

Katie supports energy project development in York and North Yorkshire, helping partners to drive change towards a regional target of becoming carbon negative by 2040. She’s got a particular interest in innovative approaches to reusing unavoidable food and agricultural wastes, via bio-refining and anaerobic digestion.

Katie is the Hub-funded provider of local capacity support for the North Yorkshire area, helping to deliver local strategy in her area.

John Hart

John Hart

Strategic Stakeholder Manager

John joined the Hub in March 2023 from Tees Valley Combined Authority, where he co-ordinated and authored the Regional Net Zero Strategy. The role also saw him manage the Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership, the authority's principle forum for engaging with the local business community and subsidiary group. He was previously an elected member for Durham County Council and has also worked as Communications Manager for Sunderland Software City, Associate Writer for the Local Government Information Unit, Press Officer for Newcastle City Council and as a freelance journalist.

John’s role is to promote wider visibility of the Hub and deliver better understanding of the Hub’s activity.

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Kay Wilson

Net Zero Projects Officer

Kay joined the Net Zero Hub in April 2023 from TVCA where she coordinated a number of programmes to support businesses within the Tees Valley. Her role saw her overseeing the SME Energy Efficiency Scheme which provided fully-funded energy audits to SMEs resulting in carbon savings for the business. Kay previously supported the Hub with the Rural Community Energy Fund, providing additional capacity and provision for successful delivery.

As Projects Officer, Kay provides support to the Hub’s programme delivery including the monitoring and reporting functions of projects.

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