Ipsum Utilities

Our Executive Leadership Team
Ipsum's Executive Leadership Team are committed to providing the highest standards of customer service and quality services. Combined with decades of industry experience, our ELT drives for success with training industry specialists and ensuring the customer is the main focus of what we do.

Richard Thomas

Chief Executive Officer

Richard has extensive operational and commercial experience within the utilities, support services and rental sectors.

Prior to joining Ipsum Group as CEO, Richard worked for A-Plant where he held a number of senior management roles including Specialty MD and CEO. Richard played a key role in transforming A-Plant from a provider of generalist and commoditised rental equipment aligned to the construction sector to a more wider ranging rental group with a specialty solution focus and exposure to a broader range of markets such as events, utilities, infrastructure and industrial sectors. This outcome was achieved through a combination of a buy and build strategy and focussed organic growth. During this time he also successfully led a business merger through a rigorous Competition & Markets Authority process, and helped grow A-Plant to the number 1 rental business in the UK whilst achieving a 10 fold increase in return on investment.

Richard has also worked for Enterprise plc where he held a number of senior management roles during a period of extensive growth. With his experience Richard has a keen focus on drawing out and integrating the core capabilities of an organisation and developing a business and growth strategy that is grounded yet significant in its value creation.



Susan is an experienced Commercial CFO having worked across a range of construction sector businesses, including Finning International, Hewden Stuart, Cogen and more recently the Blue Group. Susan has a wealth of experience of working in a corporate environment as well as in companies under private equity ownership where flexibility and agility are required.
Susan has a passion for ‘raising the bar’ and has successfully set up and delivered great finance teams along with robust systems and processes that are capable of providing best in class service; Susan also has broader experience of managing IT, HR, H&S, Legal, Corporate Governance and Compliance functions.
Susan has led a number of major projects to implement ERP systems and deliver re-engineering of processes and structures. She also has a wealth of M&A experience which includes business integration post-acquisition. Susan is very focused on strategic business growth and will provide additional insight and thought leadership into Ipsum’s strategy to enter new markets and territories.

Lee Maxwell

Managing Director Power

Lee is a chartered electrical engineer and has worked in the electricity industry for over 27 years. He started his career with Yorkshire Electricity in 1994 as a Graduate Trainee having studied Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Leeds.

In the years that followed Lee held a variety of strategic, operational and leadership roles within the group now known as Northern Powergrid. Highlights included 3 years as general manager in their contracting business and latterly he was Director of the DNO Connections business delivering new electricity supplies to customers throughout Yorkshire and the North East.

In 2008 Lee joined United Utilities as a senior operational manager in their electricity services contracting division and shortly after this joined Electricity North West as it reformed as an independent DNO. While at Electricity North West Lee became Energy Solutions Director and had responsibility for the DNO Connections business and the private networks business.

In 2019 Lee Joined UK Power Networks Services where he led on innovation, solution offerings, the development of their ICP business and growth in the North of England. Having joined Ipsum in April 2021, Lee is Managing Director of the Power division and is leading the integration and growth of the business.

Ian Needham

Managing Director
Power Private

Ian has over 45 years’ experience in HV electrical infrastructure. He first joined HV section of Opencast Coal company Miller Mining direct from school as an apprentice and went on to spend a number of years progressing and achieving Senior Electrical Engineer status at a young age with responsibility for nationwide HV electrical operations.

Ian’s experience covers managing oversees projects in China, Ghana, Zanzibar, Libya and management and control of a Toronto based electrical company delivering infrastructure for the Canadian Board of Universities.

The experiences and knowledge gained within HV electrical systems and networks led Ian to start his own company in 2000 with Specialist Power Engineering Contracts Ltd and growing the company turnover to £15m. Ian continues to lead Ipsum Group's ambitious growth throughout the private HV and maintenance sectors.

Maureen Milligan

Managing Director
Water Scotland

Maureen joined the business 2010 as an experienced Financial Controller and then Financial Director in 2014. Maureen later became Managing Director in 2019.

Maureen is an experienced commercial and operational professional with a strong background in facilities management and has delivered on many key achievements from strategic and organic business growth to managing businesses through private ownership to Private Equity ownership on more than one occasion. Maureen’s 35 years of financial and operational experience has covered public sector (City Technical Services), electric (E.ON), gas and water.

Rising to the daily operational challenges and client requirements including the COVID Pandemic, Maureen focuses herself and her team on steering the business to successfully deliver on its customer promises whilst focusing on strategic growth and exceeding budgets.

Maureen has recently undertaken a business transformation project related the upgrade and refurbishment of office and depot facilities as well as migrating a significant number of staff to our new operations control centre in Livingston by growing and developing service capability offerings across the Waste Water, Telecoms and Grounds/Facilities Maintenance sectors whilst focusing on delivering a quality, efficient, sustainable services to our clients.

steve james

Managing Director
Power Public

Steve has worked in the electricity sector since 1974. Starting his career as a technical staff trainee and then senior authorised distribution engineer, he progressed through into design management before moving into commercial roles in gas trading during the early days of competition in energy supply.

Steve later joined Baineport as Commercial Director in 2001 and remained with them following an acquisition in 2006 until 2015. Steve has held Director roles in Freedom running their National Major Projects division before becoming Business Development Director in 2012.

Steve re-joined his colleagues at Stormport in 2016 as Development Director to strategically build an ICP connections business, putting customer service and technical expertise at the heart of the service offering. Following an acquisition by Ipsum in April 2019 Steve became Managing Director where he is currently leading and delivering the sector growth strategy plan.

Stephen bruce

Managing Director
Water England & Wales

Stephen, a Civil Engineer and has worked in the Water & Wastewater industry for almost 30 years. Stephen started as a civil engineering technician with a Glasgow based civil engineering consultancy, he then moved to West of Scotland Water (now Scottish Water), where he completed his HND in Civil Engineering and Civil Engineering degree through the Engineering Council.

Stephen later moved into wastewater networks contracting as a young contracts manager and opened up a depot in Manchester, where over a 4 year period he grew the depot from zero to over £3 million turnovers.

In 1999 Stephen set up his first Wastewater contracting business which over a 10-year period achieved £15 million turnovers and employed over 250 staff. After a period of being Business Development Director for a national wastewater company in 2010, Stephen started up CALM Group in 2012 and was acquired by Ipsum Utilities in 2017.

Following the acquisition, Stephen remains with Ipsum as the Managing Director of the Ipsum Water (England & Wales) division and is currently leading the business through its growth, development and direction aligned to the wider business strategy.

Simon traylen

Business Development Director

Simon is an experienced Business Development professional with over 26 years’ experience in the Utility and Construction sectors, spanning Tunnelling, Gas, Water, Electric, Telecoms, Renewables and Digital Technologies such as Digital Twins and Artificial Intelligence.

Simon joined Ipsum Group from Costain Group where he was undertaking a Business Development transformation role by bringing together a matrix of strong business capabilities in order to focus business development efforts in line with new business strategies.

Simon has undertaken similar sales transformation roles with Morrison Utility Services, Grundfos and Xylem and is very familiar with growth techniques that align with customer needs. Simon is extremely passionate about ‘delivering on the promise’ and ‘exceeding customer expectations’, and welcome his drive, insight, and guidance on how Ipsum can differentiate from the competition.

Simon is responsible for combining our matrix capabilities and strengths to develop robust and focused Business Development plans that align with Ipsum Group strategic growth plan for the coming years.

Craig Howard

Commercial Director

Craig is an experienced Commercial professional with over 24 years’ experience across Utilities, Highways Maintenance, Civil Engineering, Environmental, M&E and Facilities Maintenance.

Craig has a BSc (Hons) in Mathematics from York University and has previously undertaken Senior Commercial roles at Enterprise, Amey, Ringway and ABS Commercial Solutions.

With a strong contractual background and vast experience operating different forms of contracts with varying different commercial mechanisms, Craig has extensive strategic and operational experience leading commercial teams, driving business process and managing commercial risk across the Group.

Craig is responsible for leading and delivering against Ipsum Group’s organic growth objectives and ensuring that the Group Commercial functions deliver a “best in class” service to all stakeholders.

Karen Harding

Ipsum head of hr

Karen has over 14 years’ HR experience within the sector. Karen initially specialised in recruitment before moving into HR at Alfred McAlpine Infrastructure Services, she then later joined Capita Plc as HR Operations Partner where she spent four years supporting leadership teams in the Capita Symonds division and their Life & Pensions division.

Karen joined Kier Group Plc in 2012 where she worked as HR Business Partner for seven years in the Workplace Services division before joining Ipsum Group as Head of HR.

Karen has extensive strategic and operational experience delivering people plans, driving organisational, behavioural and cultural change whilst leading complex HR agendas and business transformation programmes, large-scale restructure and TUPE transfers.