Board of Governors


Name Position E-mail
Allan Durning President
Dennis Smith Vice President
Jeremy Daniel Governor
Jim Collins Governor
Adrian Forbes Governor
Catherine Towns Junior Vice President
Adrian Forbes Governor
Jason Sinclair Current Treasurer
Duncan Barker Governor
Steve Turner Governor
Stephen Thompstone Governor
Chris Hayward Governor
Sue Reed Governor
June Upton Administrator

Allan P Durning – President

Allan has over 30 years of experience in distribution and manufacturing of building materials. He has extensive experience in operations, marketing and sales. He has also spent a period in the Middle East working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He  is a Chartered Marketer of the Institute of Marketing, Fellow of both CIM and CMI.  Freeman of the City of London and Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Builders Merchants (WCBM).

He holds a BSc. (Hons) Politics and Government from the Open University and an MBA from the University of Northampton.

Third sector activities were Chairing the Green Open Space Group, Friends of Sedgley Beacon and being previously  involved in the local community as a Parish Councillor and School Governor at Tilstock.


Leadership for change in a turbulent market, Northampton University Press, August 2008


Dennis Smith MIBM – Vice President

Dennis Smith has enjoyed a successful career totalling over 40 years with a number of well known builders merchant companies. Starting as a trainee with the Jewson business in his home city of Norwich, Dennis progressed to a number of different roles with sales, commercial, operations and strategic responsibilities, including positions as branch and area manager, regional and operations director for Hall & Co Ltd, and 15 years as managing director of one of the regional merchant companies.

Dennis had also served as a director of the BMF for six years and was a member of the Unimer plc board of directors.

Now semi-retired, Dennis has his own management consultancy business but finds time to support a number of voluntary roles including being a governor of the Institute of builders merchants, acting as a director of a major Academy close to his home in Somerset, and being a Parish Councillor for his village.

Dennis is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Builders Merchants and involved in supporting a number of local charities.        


Catherine Towns – Governor

Catherine is PR & Client Services Director at CIB, a full service B2B agency specialising in construction. She joined CIB in 2005 and has 18 years’ experience in construction marketing, including roles as marketing manager at Arnold Laver Timberworld and Head of Communications for the trade division of ICI Paints.

Catherine has seven account teams at CIB, servicing many of the sector’s leading brands; from main contractors and consultants through to merchants, building product manufacturers and trade associations.


Jim Collins – Governor

Jim Collins is Managing Director at Collins M&A Consulting. After 36 years learning his trade with Saint Gobain latterly as their Development Director for Acquisitions, Jim now runs his own consulting company. He also has 9 years of experience as a Pension Trustee, is a Liveryman of Worshipful Company of Builders Merchants and a service member of the Builders Merchants Federation.

Jim is committed to a wide range of social issues including the environment, education, civil rights, social actions and health & social services.


Duncan Barker – Governor

Duncan Barker is Group Buyer and Category Manager at Howarth Timber and Building Supplies Ltd. He has held a variety of roles including salesman, branch management, area management moving into product focussed roles in 1996, which in turn led to procurement. Duncan has been a board member of Minster Insulation and Product Director at Saint Gobain.

Since May of 2014, Duncan has held the role of Group Buyer for the largest independent timber company – Howarth, based in Wakefield.



Jeremy Daniel – Governor

Jeremy Daniel is Sales Director at John A Stephens Ltd. Jeremy joined John A Stephens straight from school and has been involved in all aspects of merchanting, eventually specialising in bricks. Jeremy was appointed as director in 1985 and is currently responsible for general sales and purchasing of bricks for the company.

Jeremy joined the institute through the Business Studies course in 1980 and has always been involved in local IoBM meetings, serving on the East Midlands Committee from the late 1980s. Jeremy was co-opted to the Board of Govenors in 2011 and became a full governor in 2013.

Jeremy has also served on the BMF Brick & Block Committee since 1998 and became Chairman in 2005.


Adrian Forbes – Governor

Adrian Forbes is Sales Director at Keystone Group. He has over 25 years of experience in merchant management and selling to merchants and so brings a comprehensive business knowledge to the institute. Adrian is married and has two children. Living in East Cheshire, Adrian is a proud Cornishman at heart and enjoys travel, theatre, music and eating out.



Jason Sinclair – Treasurer

Jason Sinclair is Group Finance Director at Howarth Timber Group. He has worked with Howarth Timber since May 2011, initially as Group Financial Controller and then as Group Financial Director from August 2013. Prior to that Jason worked with Manheim Car Auctions as European Financial Controller (May 2008 ­ May 2011) and before that for 8 years with Cape PLC as Financial Controller, initially for the UK business and then the International business.

However, Jason learnt his trade with Malton Bacon Factory, joining as a trainee Management Accountant straight from University in 1992, where he stayed for 8 years filling a number of roles including Financial Accountant. Jason is a qualified Management Accountant (CIMA) and is the current Treasurer for the institute.


Steve Turner – Governor

Having graduated from the University of Birmingham in Medieval and Modern History, Steve began working at the Electricity Council as a graduate trainee, eventually becoming a marketing executive.
 From there he moved to motor accessory group Halfords as Advertising Manager and subsequently to DIY chain Sandfords as Marketing Director. In 1990 Steve was appointed as Marketing and Purchasing Director of Sharpe and Fisher Building Supplies. In 2000 he moved to Jackson Building Centres as Heavyside Director and retired in 2009. Currently (2016) Steve is Senior Warden of the Worshipful Company of Builders’ Merchants – a City of London Livery Company – he is their representative on the governing body of the Institute.


Stephen Thompstone – Governor

Stephen describes himself as a builders merchants industry professional who has always believed in excellent customer service – that your staff make the only real difference and that profit is not a rude word.  His merchant career started after A Levels in 1980, working with Rudders and Payne in Leamington Spa, Harcros Timber & Building Supplies and Jewson before joining Buildbase in 1998 and commencing 10 years of significant growth.  In 2008, he was appointed a Director of Grafton Merchanting GB, with sales of £1bn per annum, and MD for the Buildbase, Hirebase and Civils and Lintels businesses. In 2014 the company achieved the landmarks of 200 Buildbase branches, 100 Hirebase branches and 50 Electricbase branches. Stephen stepped down from his directorships at Grafton Merchanting and Buildbase in December 2014.