BMC Board member biographies

Find out who sits on the BMC's Board of Directors, and a little bit about their professional backgrounds and outdoor interests.

Roger Murray
Roger Murray – Chair (2021-2024)

My love for the outdoors blossomed from an early age, as my father introduced me to hill walking over 50 years ago and my school encouraged and coached me in hill walking, scrambling and rock climbing.  At university I joined the mountaineering club, where I was secretary, and it was during these years that I was introduced to winter climbing. My work took me to Scotland and my mountaineering career developed with visits to the Alps and development of my real passion today – ski touring and ski mountaineering. This passion has taken me all over the world. Throughout my life mountaineering has kept me sane at times of great stress and I have developed life long friendships through my time in the mountains.

After graduating in Geology at Durham University followed by Petroleum Engineering at Heriot Watt University, I started my professional career by joining BP where I practiced Reservoir and Petroleum Engineering in the UK and overseas. Over 10 years, I gained training and experience in senior leadership whilst developing the North Sea Magnus and Bruce Fields. The leadership teams were accountable for the fields as a whole – the overall strategy, offshore operation, future development, performance, and people management. The Joint Venture on the Bruce Field comprised five nationalities with different cultures which proved constructive and challenging, especially at major decisions.

I gained commercial and negotiating experience working within the Business Development team for the Forties Pipeline Business and with the associated refining and chemicals businesses before moving into the first of a string of roles within technology. My final role at BP was Technical Director during which I led BP’s $500 million Subsurface Change Programme from concept through to successful delivery of new work processes, clear expectations and associated hardware, data and software toolkits that are used today by BP’s Subsurface professionals in 15 countries.

After retiring from BP plc I have developed a portfolio career which includes: a three-year term as a Governor and Trustee to Heriot Watt University Court (Equivalent to a Non-Executive Director position on the Board of a private company), being a member of the University Audit and Risk Committee, working as a volunteer within the BMC as an independent member on ODG, chairing the Review of the Specialist Committees and Working Groups, and in 2019 advising the Board on the shaping of the 2020 – 2025 strategy.

Andy SymeAndy Syme – President & Director (2021-2024)

Based in Yorkshire, I have been a mountaineer for over 40 years.  Starting with hill walking with my family in the Peak District, I fell in love with climbing in my early teens, had my first alpine season at 16 and have climbed all over the UK and in the Himalayas, Greenland, the USA, Africa and Europe.   Now I mainly boulder, indoor and out, and trad climb in the UK, reserving my foreign trips for ice climbing in Europe.  A member of the BMC since my 20s, I joined the National Council through my local area in 2017.  I was heavily involved in developing and explaining the changes to the Articles in 2018 and was Deputy President from 2019 till my election.

After over 20 years in the Army, in 2006 I joined the NHS, working in senior roles in various national IT projects, before moving to the private sector in 2013.  I am now the General Manager of a software company supporting GPs, primary care and public health organisations.

Having been intimately involved in implementing the ORG changes since 2017 I have a detailed insight into what we intended, where this has worked, and where it has not worked.  As a member of the Board I want to ensure that in effectively and efficiently managing the BMC as a company the voice of the members is clearly represented and their needs and aspirations for the BMC remain central to every decision and action taken by the Board.

Flavia AlzettaFlavia Alzetta – Independent Director (2021-2027)

Flavia’s interest in the outdoors goes back to her teenage years in Italy, where she lived at the foot of the Alps north of Venice. She enjoyed hiking in the Dolomites in the summer and cross-country or downhill skiing in the winter. Her curiosity and eagerness to explore led her to learn the skills to allow her to fully enjoy mountaineering all year round. That is how Flavia started first to scramble and later to rock- and ice-climb.

Flavia has lived in London since 1998, and a significant part of her training and/or practice takes place in North Wales, in the Peak District or on the South Coast. Flavia also regularly goes to the Alps for higher-altitude mountaineering and ski touring. Whenever longer trips are possible she likes to go to the Andes (she summitted Aconcagua in 2017) or to the Nepalese Himalaya. Flavia has been a BMC member for several years and has participated in a number of BMC-supported training events.

Flavia works as a CEO for a European paytech business. She has more than 25 years of experience in general management with a passion for developing customer-centric businesses and building talented and high-performing teams. She also brings significant experience in transforming organisations and developing innovative commercial propositions and partnerships.

Peter Salenieks
Peter Salenieks – Council Nominated Director (2020-2024)

Peter’s enduring passion for the outdoors was nurtured through scouting and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award scheme. It grew through year-round hill walking, scrambling, rock climbing, snow & ice climbing and mountaineering in his college mountaineering club, combined with adventures in Europe & Scandinavia. He has belonged to a Welsh mountaineering club for over thirty years, including six years as chair.

Mountain leader training developed the underpinning skills needed for treks and expeditions further afield, including the Himalaya, Africa, the Middle & Far East and America. Travel to the wild places of the world sits well with his love of photography and a desire to inspire others through shared stories. Without setting out to do so, he has developed a penchant for climbing volcanoes.

Professionally, Peter is a Chartered Engineer, majoring in systems and software engineering and allied disciplines. He was previously engaged with his professional body at regional and national level. His hallmark combination of specialist skills and a holistic vision is well-matched to the needs of the BMC during a time of change.

Peter served on mountaineering club committees, before becoming active in the BMC South West and Cymru South Wales Areas. He has served on National Council and Members’ Council, been chair of Clubs’ Committee and was a founder member of the Pwyllgor Cymru - Wales Committee. He continues to serve as a Council Nominated Director. His outlook has been enriched through long association with mountains and mountaineers. As a BMC volunteer, he is keen to put something back.

Martyn HurnMartyn Hurn – Nominated Director (2021-2024)

I started climbing in 1966. We lived in Hampshire so early venues were Harrison’s, Swanage and the Avon Gorge. Trips up North to the mountains of Wales and the Lakes were infrequent but enough to get me hooked. Trips to the alps followed and finally expeditions to the greater ranges. I still climb whenever possible and also enjoy ski mountaineering and sea kayaking.

I trained as an Outdoor Education teacher at Bangor Normal college and then spent 13 years working in various outdoor centres culminating with a tenure at Plas-Y-Brenin. This was followed by a move into the outdoor industry, initially in marketing roles for various companies but finally moving into product development, I’d always been, and remain, a gear tinkerer. I spent the final 10 years as Head of Product Development at Lowe Alpine.

On retirement I set up my own consultancy serving the outdoor industry.  I have published a number of instructional books on skiing, fitness for climbing, off-piste skiing and ski mountaineering, and I also produced an instructional CD rom about how to navigate in the outdoors.

Neal Hockley – Nominated Director (2022-2026)

Neal is an enthusiastic jack of most BMC trades from indoor bouldering to ski mountaineering, but happiest when he can combine technical interest with a journey into quieter places. He’s been a BMC member for over 25 years and is also a member of the Climber’s Club and Swiss Alpine Club.

Neal is a qualified Winter Mountain Leader, Rock Climbing Instructor and Fellrunning Coach and is lead juniors coach for Eryri Harriers fellrunning club. Neal is Chair of the BMC Wales Committee, co-secretary of the North Wales Area and newly co-opted board member (since Oct 2022). In these roles he’s been involved in a number of local access and conservation issues in Wales.

Born in Pontypool, he’s lived in Llanberis since 2006 with his wife and two kids and speaks Welsh. In the day job, he is Senior Lecturer in Environmental Economics and Policy at Bangor University.

Mae Neal yn mwynhau y rhan fwyaf o ddisgyblaethau BMC o fowldro dan do i fynydda sgïo, ac mae'n hapusach pan fydd yn gallu ffeindio rhywfaint o ddiddordeb technegol yn lleoedd tawel. Mae wedi bod yn aelod o’r BMC ers dros 25 mlynedd ac mae hefyd yn aelod o’r Climber’s Club a’r Swiss Alpine Club.

Mae Neal yn gymwysedig fel Arweinydd Mynydd Gaeaf, Hyfforddwr Dringo ac yn Hyfforddwr Rhedeg Mynydd ac yn brif hyfforddwr ieuenctid efo Rhedwyr Eryri. Yn y BMC, Neal yw Cadeirydd Pwyllgor Cymru, Cyd-ysgrifennydd ardal Gogledd Cymru ac aelod newydd o’r bwrdd (ers Hydref 2022). Yn y rolau hyn mae wedi bod yn gweithio ar nifer o faterion mynediad a chadwraeth leol yng Nghymru.

Wedi’i eni ym Mhont-y-pŵl, mae’n byw yn Llanberis ers 2006 efo'i wraig a'u dau o blant, ac yn siarad Cymraeg. Mae’n Uwch Ddarlithydd mewn Economeg a Pholisi Amgylcheddol ym Mhrifysgol Bangor.

John Wilmott – Nominated Director (2022-2025)

John was appointed an Independent Director of the BMC in November 2022. Over his 36-year professional career he had held various senior operational roles across a diverse range of large companies, culminating as the Chief Operating Officer for Close Brothers Merchant Bank.   

John’s academic background was in geography and specifically glaciology, consequently he is an experienced arctic walker and climber, having travelled extensively in Alaska, Canada and Scandinavia.   More recently, his travels have taken him to Africa and the Americas, where he is undertaking the John Muir Trail in several stages.

Previously, John has volunteered as an assessor with the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme and as a group leader with Endeavour, helping empower young people by experiencing the challenge of outdoor adventure.  He is keen to support the future development of the BMC. In particular, engaging with younger members and ensuring the BMC values of Community and Respect are continuously enhanced.   

John is married to Dee with two grown-up daughters and splits his time between his family home in East Anglia, work in London & Manchester and, whenever the opportunity arises, hillwalking trips in the UK and travel to far flung parts of the world.

Laura Needham – Nominated Director (2023-2026)

Laura currently works at the UK Sports Institute (UKSI) for the British Triathlon Federation, leading the physiology service for Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Alongside her practitioner role, Laura leads to the physiology provision at the UKSI in a Co-Head role, supporting over 20 physiologists across the high-performance system in the UK. Laura was an accredited staff member at the recent Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Prior to this role, Laura was the physiologist for GB Boxing for the Rio 2016 Olympiad.

Previously, Laura worked with a variety of sports during her time as a physiologist at Sport Wales. Laura studied at Cardiff Metropolitan University for her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. She has a professional doctorate from the extreme environment’s laboratory at the University of Portsmouth.

Laura’s love of outdoors has always been a part of her life and has always been accompanied by dogs! Life in elite sport is fast paced, but whenever she can she seeks freedom and adventure in her campervan to explore all manner of outdoor activities including hill walking, trail running, paddleboarding and skiing. Laura is so excited to be able to combine her passion of the outdoors with her expertise in performance to help support BMC in an exciting era.

Trevor Smith – Council Nominated Director (2023 - 2026)

A childhood in South Devon meant early years walking and camping on Dartmoor, scrambling amongst its tors and exploring the coastline of Devon and Cornwall, both on and off the water. Later after graduating from university I moved further afield, discovering South Wales, Snowdonia, the Lakes and Peak District, completed my ML(S) and developed my skills as a DofE Gold Expedition trainer and assessor and voluntary youth leader.

Summer excursions in Scotland soon became full winter mountaineering expeditions, then summer and winter trips peak-bagging and trekking throughout the Europe. I hold the International Mountain Leader Award and worked as a professional mountain trekking guide leading charity groups, schools and commercial parties on four continents, fitting this in around my main work as an IT Consultant.

I became involved with computers very early on in my career and after many different roles in IT I moved to one of the big five international consultancies as a consultant and lecturer in their education division before turning freelance. A chartered member of the British Computer Society, there followed over 25 years as an Independent IT consultant, and before retiring I worked in many different industry sectors, including local and central government, utilities, telecoms, manufacturing, banking and finance. Usually operating as a project manager with an emphasis on business process re-engineering and change management I looked after a wide variety of projects, large and small, from simple package up-grades to national infrastructure developments and bespoke system design.

An affiliated club member for forty years I first became involved as a volunteer through my local BMC Area. I spent many happy years as deputy Chair of the Clubs Committee, contributing to the Hillwalking Working Group, Huts, MoM, National Council and other committees and now represent the South West Area on Members' Council.

 



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