Tilhill’s Dragon’s Den Winners Announced

Tilhill hosted ‘Dragon’s Den’part of the ‘Unlocking Potential’ Management Development Programme facilitated by Explore Training with the 2022 cohort.

The ‘Unlocking Potential’ programme is designed specifically to stretch and harness the talent and potential within Tilhill and help everyone focus on their strategic aspirations for the future. It was launched initially in November 2008. 

The Unlocking Potential course concludes in a ‘Dragons Den’ style experience where the delegates pitch their business idea to a panel of ‘Dragons’. The ideas are then carefully considered by the panel and a winner is chosen 

The Dragon’s (judges) took the form of Gavin AdkinsTilhill’s Managing Director, Stuart Pearson, Business Development Director, Iain McMurtrie, Harvesting Manager and David Edwards, Forestry Director.  They were joined by Tony Lockey, BSW Group Learning and Development Manager and Explore Training coaches. The following cohort included Senior Area Timber Buyer, Ewan Robertson in Northern Scotland also.


We are delighted to be able to announce the Dragon’s choices as this year’s Innovation prize and Dragon trophy winners: 

1st Place: Paige Brown, Assistant Forest Manager, for an innovative business proposal to help tackle the use of the plastic bags used to transport trees to site ready for planting.

Runner up: Tom Newton, Harvesting Contracts Manager for his presentation on building efficiencies for groups of small woodland owners and farmers within woodland management and timber harvesting.

Second Runner Up: Alistair Gray, Assistant Forest Manager for his presentation on using more structured methods when conducting beat up assessments in order to improve reliability and provide more accurate estimation of tree requirements.

1st Place: Ashleigh Hope, Supply Chain Controller, for Central Haulage Planning.

Runner up: Sian Laud, Assistant Harvesting Manager for her presentation answering; ‘Forestry is a mans world?’

Second Runner Up: Edward Watson, Assistant Harvesting Manager for his presentation on Forest Menstruation.

Tony Lockey, Group Learning and Development Manager said:

I am always astounded at how many inspirational ideas and eureka moments are discovered when we run training of this type. Some of the simplest ideas can make a huge difference to our business financially, in terms of gaining new customers and in terms of making us more sustainable. The work and effort that our 2021 graduate entry future managers put into the training they receive from our friends at Explore, highlights and compliments the benefits of development in Forestry and the ability to build our own people. Stuart Glen of the ICF has praised Tilhill for being ‘best in class’ with a graduate programme that he believes is second to none. The work that our graduates have done will be shared through the Tilhill Board and all the ideas will be reviewed and if possible, taken further. Congratulations to all that took part and to those that help make this such a memorable event including the Dragons and Explore Training. Here’s to the continued success of our graduate programme that reinforces and excites our business.


Ian Redmond, Managing Director at Explore Training & Development Ltd said:

Another amazing round of Dragons presentations, the quality and breadth of innovative business ideas continues to captivate the dragons. I am so proud that the Unlocking Potential programme and its immersive style stretches the delegates in many ways and provides an inspiring platform for their future careers.