WEAF Annual Conference 2020

20th October - 21st October 2020, Weston-super-Mare

15th December - Cancellation Policy

Please note all WEAF event are non-refundable

20th February - Trade stand's Sold Out

Trade Stands in the main conference area are now sold out, to discuss further exhibiting options please email samantha@weaf.co.uk


WEAF Annual Conference 2020 

Aviation Goes Green: Opportunities for Aerospace in the Next Decade 

Join WEAF for the South West Aerospace networking event of the year, the Pre-Conference Dinner 29th April 2020 and the Annual Conference, 30th April 2020 at The Winter Gardens in Weston Super Mare.

The WEAF Annual Conference will provide updates and information for all those working within the Aerospace, Engineering and Manufacturing sectors. Attendees will be able to attend four plenary sessions throughout the day. Delegates can expect to hear from leading industry speakers and network whilst viewing an extensive display of company exhibition stands, ranging from industry primes to SME’s across the region.

Key Topics:

  • Future Manufacturing Technologies
  • Future Flight Systems
  •  Future Propulsions Systems 

This year’s conference has a range of workshops designed for every attendee.  Attendance to these workshops is complimentary as part of your conference registration. With up to 3 workshops, split into 3 sessions throughout the day, there is plenty to choose from. 

We will also be hosting an exclusive roundtable meeting for CEO and Business owners to come together to benchmark, share ideas and discuss upcoming challenges in the sector.


Why Attend...  

• Share your solutions and visons at our biggest networking event of the year. 

• Learn from our expert industry speakers on future strategy, sustainability, supply chain opportunities and much more. 

• Gain valuable knowledge in our workshops focused on exports, productivity, and growth. 

• Showcase your capabilities, increase brand awareness and network with South West companies, from small SMEs to Global Industry Primes  

The Royal Hotel Discount 

We have set up a discounted rate of £50 per person per night for bed & breakfast, just quote 'WEAF' to receive the discount .

* Please note there will be a £20.00 per person per night non-refundable deposit on booking .

Winter Gardens, Royal Parade, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1AJ


Please note that the agenda is subject to change at any time.

  • 09:00

    Arrival, Networking & Registration

  • 09:30

    Welcome from WEAF CEO Colin Turner

  • 09:45

    Speaker 1

  • 10:15

    Networking & Exhibition Refreshment Break

  • 10:45

    Workshop Sessions

  • 11:30

    Speaker 2

  • 12:00

    Networking Lunch

  • 12:40

    Keynote Speaker

  • 13:35

    Workshop Sessions

  • 14:10

    Networking & Exhibition Refreshment Break

  • 14:30

    Workshop Sessions & Senior Round Table Meeting

  • 15:15

    Speaker 4

  • 15:45

    Thank you from WEAF CEO

  • 16:00

    Event Close


More speaker details will follow as they become available, so watch this space!

Photo of Richard Browning

Richard Browning - Founder and Chief Test Pilot of Gravity Industries

Pre-Conference Networking Dinner Speakers

Richard Browning is Founder and Chief Test Pilot of Gravity Industries.

Gravity Industries designs, builds and flies Jet Suits, pioneering a new era of human flight. The company was founded in March 2017 to challenge the perceived boundaries in human aviation and to inspire others to dare to ask “What if?”. It now scales towards an International Race Series.

Prior to founding Gravity, Richard was a Royal Marines reservist for six years and an Oil Trader with BP for 16 years. He developed business in many countries including Azerbaijan, Mozambique, Russia and conducted trade relations with many more.

He discovered and implemented major new technologies in BP including turning a $30k groundbreaking trade flow analytics (ship tracking) platform still at the heart of the global commodity industry to this day. It won the BP Group innovation Award and generated in excess of $50m within 3 months. He has also been a key participant and investor in a number of successful start-up ventures externally and is a passionate STEM advocate.

Gravity has to date been experienced by over one billion people globally with Richard and his cohort of growing pilots completing nearly 100 flights around the world and speaking at dozens of events from TED Talks to XPrize.

When he is not flying around the world, Richard is in Salisbury with his wife Debbie and their two children, Oliver and Thomas, kayaking and camping amongst other things.

Photo of Professor Iain Gray CBE

Professor Iain Gray CBE - Director of Aerospace

Conference Speaker

Iain Gray is the Director of Aerospace at Cranfield University. Iain joined Cranfield University in March 2015 after 7 years as the Chief Executive of InnovateUK. He is responsible for all aspects of learning, executive education and research in Aerospace for the University and for developing the Aerospace Strategy across the University Group.

Prior to this, Iain was Managing Director and General Manager of Airbus UK, whose Bristol operation he joined when it was still part of British Aerospace.

Iain Gray completed his early education in Aberdeen, culminating in an Engineering Science honours degree at Aberdeen University. In addition, he gained a Masters of Philosophy at Southampton University in 1989. Since then Iain has received Honorary Doctorates from Aston, Bath, Bristol, Aberdeen, Cardiff, Exeter and the University of the West of England. In 2014 he was awarded a CBE for services to innovation.

Iain is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow and Vice President of the Royal Academy of Engineering; a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and in 2007 was awarded the Royal Aeronautical Society Gold Medal.

In 2016 he was awarded the Baird of Bute Award for his contribution towards aviation in Scotland. He is Chair of Aerospace Bristol Museum, a Non-Executive Director for Graphene based company Versarien and is Chairman of technology company CFMS UK Ltd.

Martyn Ashford - Head of UK Strategic Development, Strategy and Innovation at Leonardo Helicopter Division

Photo of Stephen Cowan

Stephen Cowan - Vice President of the UK Global Technology Centre –GKN Aerospace - Civil Airframes

Stephen joined GKN in January 2017, having completed almost 30 years at Bombardier Aerospace in various Engineering, Operational and Supply Chain roles.

Stephen has recently taken up the role as head of the UK’s Global Technology Centre GTC from January 2020 as part of the One Aerospace reorganisation, up until then he held many Operational and Operational Excellence roles driving Best Practice into all of the GKN sites as well as Industry 4.0, H&S & Environment, Gold Operating System & Industrial Strategy to ensure that GKN exceeded both its customer’s and shareholder’s expectations.

Stephen holds an MBA from the University of Ulster and is an active member of the Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP) and Chair of the Manufacturing Supply Chain Working Group. Stephen is also a member of the MBA Association of Ireland and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (FCIPS.)

Outside of work Stephen is a keen Cyclist and Squash player.

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