Image of the Liverpool Cathedral

Mark Lawler

Oration

Presented by Joe Yates 

Mark Lawler

Honourable Pro-Chancellor, I have the pleasure in presenting Mark Lawler for the award of an Honorary Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University.

In the recent history of this great city, one of the drivers of growth and regeneration has been community businesses.

Individuals and their teams; bringing their passion, skills and ambitions together to create jobs and success for Liverpool and the surrounding area. The rich heritage that we have here in Liverpool for the creative industries has been renewed during this recent renaissance, powered in no small part by visionaries like Mark Lawler.

Mark is the Managing Director at Baltic Creative CIC and a Co-Founder and Director of the Baltic Triangle Area CIC, which he helped launch in 2012.

Mark has been instrumental in the growth of the Baltic Triangle Area, helping the city work towards the ambition he set of Liverpool being recognised nationally and internationally as the place for creative and digital industries in the north of England.

He heads up ambitious plans for the city region through social enterprise business models developed through the Baltic Creative. His work with the Baltic has been transformational and has been rightly recognised across the city region. Today, we get our opportunity to recognise his huge contribution to the place we call home.

A graduate from Liverpool John Moores University, where he wrote his dissertation on tenant participation in the design process, Mark has boundless passion for the Liverpool City Region and for community enterprise.

He graduated in 1996 having spent his sandwich year at the Met Police, in their Estates Department. He worked on a number of refurbishment projects across the estate and was involved in scenes of crime work, developing measured surveys for use in court.

He worked within Plus Dane Development Department for around eight years, was responsible for the delivery of a variety of individual projects up to £10m in value. These schemes included; new build, refurbishment, acquisition and demolition, housing renewal, environmental projects and local transport projects. Working with tenants and businesses, local agencies and all stakeholders - he had a proud track record of delivering int time, budget and quality.

This grounding clearly proved valuable when he turned his attention to Baltic Creative, where his board has shown a lead in equality and diversity, with an equal gender split of men and women. Together, under Mark’s leadership, they bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in a range of sectors, including property and regeneration, arts and culture, gaming and digital, marketing and PR, social enterprise and third sector, business development, education and finance. They have recently delivered the Baltic Triangle’s first dedicated digital technology hub, with a £3m scheme which will support around 30 companies and support 150 full time jobs.

Mark was quoted recently as saying:“Liverpool’s tech sector is booming, with figures showing that digital jobs in the north are growing ten times the rate of non-digital jobs. Here at Baltic Creative we are witnessing a huge demand for dedicated tech space.”

That demand and the inspiring support that Mark and his colleagues are providing have seen plans to develop the Baltic Triangle further to expand its commercial footprint by an additional 500,000sq ft over the next five to ten years, providing opportunities for new and existing digital and creative businesses.

The transformation of this sector has been mirrored by the physical transformation within the Baltic Triangle itself - which was originally an industrial area nestled between Liverpool’s city centre, its waterfront and its southern residential districts. As businesses folded or moved to newer premises elsewhere, many of its buildings, from 19th century warehouses to 1980s light industrial units, lay abandoned. That is a story of old Liverpool but not the confident, buoyant Liverpool of 2019.

We at LJMU are incredibly proud of our place in this city and of people like Mark, who have helped power its recent regeneration and rebirth.

In recognition of his personal and professional commitment to community business generation, it is with great pleasure that I present Mark Lawler for admission to our highest honour, as an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.