/ Who we are
/ CHIRP Staff
ROBERT ROBSON OBE
Robert Robson joined the Royal Navy as a General List Seaman Officer in 1981, before going to London University to read History at Royal Holloway College on a University Cadetship. He served in minesweepers, frigates and destroyers in various different theatres.
In 1987 he joined Barclays plc and followed a generalist career with roles in branch relationship management and Operations, Regional Sales Director, Group Personnel and as Chief Operating Officer of the Large Corporate Banking team. He became Deputy Managing Director of European Business Banking in 1999 and then moved to the Group Strategy team to lead the educational work delivering a cultural change programme to the senior cadre of the Barclays Group.
In 2002 he moved to Barclays Private Bank, where he set up a new role as Global Head of Banking and Credit, followed by two years in Geneva as Head of European Offshore Banking, before returning to the UK as COO of the International Private Bank covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Robert became the founding CEO of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity in September 2008. The RNRMC is the strategic charity partner of the Royal Navy, established through the amalgamation of over 70 multiple funds and charities. The task was to create a grant-making and fundraising charity, building on firm governance foundations, selling the charity to its key stakeholders, and creating a team, culture and reputation that would allow the Board to deliver its strategy. Over ten years the Charity Group grew to deliver over £50m in grants to beneficiaries, serving, retired and their families. In 2018 he retired from this role and focused on building a portfolio career. In 2019 he completed the Professional Certificate in Coaching at Henley Business School.
He is currently Treasurer of the ADVANCE Study Charity and has been a Governor of The Royal Starand Garter Homes, Trustee of the Forces in Mind Trust, The Officers’ Association and a Director of COBSEO - the Confederation of Service Charities, Veterans Scotland and a Member of the Mary Rose Trust. He is a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights and Younger Brother of Trinity House. He was awarded the OBE in the 2017 for charitable service to naval personnel.
Robert lives on the South Downs with his wife Amanda, a specialist teacher and English tutor, and their labrador, Lira.
Robert joined CHIRP as the Executive Director in April 2020.
STEVE FORWARD MSc FRAeS FCMI
Steve is an ex-RAF fast-jet pilot who joined the RAF in September 1981 after graduating with a BSc(Hons) in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from Leeds University. He flew over 3500hrs in the RAF as a front-line pilot and Qualified Weapons Instructor (mostly in Harrier and Tornado aircraft), commanded the RAF’s ground-attack operational evaluation squadron, spent many years involved in campaign planning, command and control, and finally retired from the RAF as an Air Commodore in 2013, with his final role being to conduct a study that resulted in the establishment of the RAF’s Safety Centre.
As a civilian, Steve then moved into the Aviation Safety environment as Director of the UK Airprox Board (UKAB) where he led a jointly sponsored and co-funded Civil Aviation Authority/Military Aviation Authority team charged with assessing and reporting on near-mid-air collisions in the UK in order to help prevent future incidents and accidents. Steve became a member of the CHIRP GA and AT boards in 2013 on taking up the UKAB role and, on retiring from the UKAB, joined CHIRP as Director Aviation in April 2020. In his spare time, Steve has been a budding glider pilot in the recent past, and graduated with an MSc in Aviation Safety Management from City University, London in January 2019.
Steve joined CHIRP as Director (Aviation) in April 2020.
CAPTAIN JEFFREY PARFITT FNI
Jeff is a professional mariner with a career that spans four decades. In 1976, he commenced his seagoing career with Shell and served on tankers and general cargo ships until 1990 when he took a shore position as a government specialist investigator.
In 1996, he returned to the offshore world of dynamic positioning with Co-Flexip Stena and Subsea7, serving on dive/subsea construction vessels operating in the North Sea and on a global basis.
Most recently, Jeff has operated as a consultant to the offshore and global maritime insurance industry.
Jeff is a Fellow of the Nautical Institute and a Liveryman of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners. He has an informed passion for safety at sea, borne out of first-hand experience, and a continued drive for environmental protection.
Jeff joined CHIRP as the Director (Maritime) in January 2017.
Cabin Crew Programme Manager & Company Secretary
Stephanie started her career in aviation in 2004 working for bmi British Midland as a Customer Service Agent based at London Heathrow. After 3 years, she moved to the Flight Training Department based at the Stockley Park Training Centre working as the Flight Training Administrator and was responsible for the administration and organisation of cabin crew and flight crew training.
Stephanie joined CHIRP in May 2012 as the Administration and Cabin Crew Programme Manager. Her principal responsibilities are the analysis and administration of the CHIRP Cabin Crew Reporting Programme, whilst ensuring the smooth running of the general and financial administration of CHIRP.
In October 2018, she was appointed as Company Secretary.
Stephanie will be taking maternity leave in November 2020, with her role being covered by Mrs Penny Connell and Mrs Jennifer Curran.
Administration and Finance Assistant
Penny graduated from Birmingham University in 1991 as a
dental surgeon, and went on to have a 25 year career as a dentist working in
both NHS and private practice. In 2016 a relocation to Washington DC led to
voluntary roles in the charity and diplomatic sectors.
Upon returning to the
UK, Penny joined Blue Badge Insure as an administrator and client advisor,
before moving into the charitable sector as a Dream Co-ordinator for the
national wish-granting charity Dreams Come True.
Now part of the CHIRP team,
she is responsible for the general and financial administration of CHIRP, covering for Stephanie Dykes during her maternity leave.
Cabin Crew Programme Manager
Jennifer began her career as
cabin crew in 2004 at London Heathrow and has operated on a variety of
short-haul and long-haul aircraft including B767, B757, A330 and A321/20/19.
Progressing to SCCM in 2007
she later took a secondment to the Safety Training Department and within that
department held numerous roles including Safety Trainer, Quality Auditor and
Over the last 16 years
Jennifer has trained crew and/or operated with a number of airlines including
bmi, Astreaus, Arkefly, Air Astana, Turkish Airlines, The RAF, ATrS and British
Jennifer joined CHIRP in 2020
to cover the role of Cabin Crew Programme Manager for Stephanie Dykes during
her maternity leave.
Engineering Programme Manager
Phil retired in December 2019 after
49 years in aircraft engineering. He started as an apprentice in manufacturing
(Concorde, Brooklands). Worked at Heathrow twice, for a total of 27 years,
firstly on corporate jets (Hawker Siddeley HS125) next, RB-211 engine overhaul,
and with two international airlines, holding Certificate of Release to Service
(CRS) for the B737 Classic under a UK CAA Section L converting to a European
Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Licence.
During the second stint at Heathrow, He
held CRS on the B777 and B747-Classic, under a foreign licence. For a season, Phil
was on the Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) committee, for de-icing best
practice. Phil worked at Farnborough, (HS-125 again), Then contracting in Kuala
Lumpur, Subang, B737 Majors. Next contracting in Frankfurt, on Boeing and
Airbus narrow and wide body casualty. He had three periods with a Maintenance
Repair Organisation (MRO) at Lasham Hants, contracting then later Inspecting
B737 Majors, which included short secondment to Southend and lastly as Quality
Engineer, with a short secondment to RAF St Athan.
Finally, Phil changed to another
MRO back at Farnborough, as a Quality Engineer again with Corporate jets;
Hawker, Dassault & Bombardier, carrying out auditing at home and overseas,
liaising with a great many Surveyors/National Aviation Authority (NAA)
Inspectors of various nationalities, presenting Part 145 training, compiling and conducting examinations (both written and
oral), authorisation issue and also Maintenance Error Decision Aid (MEDA)
investigations, to mention but a handful of duties.
Phil joined CHIRP as the Engineering Programme Manager in October 2020. He will he responding to all engineering and ground handling & security reports.
Drone Programme Manager
Rupert obtained his PPL in 1976. He is currently a qualified
UAS pilot and Managing Director of Bridgeway Aerial Ltd., a UAS Operator that
he co-founded in 2010. From 2003 to January 2017 he was the Managing Director
and Accountable Manager of AirMed, an Oxford airport based fixed wing air
ambulance operator. AirMed had a worldwide AOC, a Part M approval and an EASA
145 maintenance facility for its fleet of Learjet 35A and Piper Cheyenne
turboprop aircraft. AirMed also had a
TRTO for its turboprop aircraft.
Rupert is a Director of ARPAS UK, the professional UAS Operators
non-profit trade association and sits on the CAA chaired NATMAC, FAC and the
UAS stakeholders Committees, on behalf of ARPAS members.
Prior to 2003 Rupert spent 15 years in the Investment
Banking business based in London and Paris. The majority of this period was spent
with Swiss Bank Corporation prior to its merger with UBS. He worked across many
disciplines including the debt, equity and advisory businesses.
In his spare time, Rupert competes in the occasional Triathlon.
He lives in Oxfordshire with his wife Marie, where their two children Alec and
Flavia regularly visit them from London. They all spend time in France as often
as they can.
Rupert joined CHIRP as the Drone Programme Manager in September 2020. He is responsible for answering all drone and UAS reports.
Deputy Director (Maritime)
A professional seafarer with a career spanning five decades starting in 1971 as a cadet with BP Tankers. After 10 years deep sea with that company he took a position ashore as a member of HM Coastguard before returning to sea in 1986.
Howard worked in the offshore sector on DP vessels, predominantly Diving Support and other DP Construction vessels working in the North Sea and further afield on a global basis. With over 30 years experience as a watch keeping Senior DP Operator, extensive experience has been gained in many aspects of DP operations.
After his final seagoing appointment in 2017, Howard joined CHIRP in 2018 to make use of and share his accumulated experience in the ongoing drive to improve safety for seafarers.
CAPTAIN IAN SHIELDS MNM
Ian joined Shell Tankers (UK) Ltd in 1974, progressing through the ranks to Chief Officer and gaining experience in Oil Tankers, LNG, Chemical Tankers and Bulk Carriers en route. He spent a three year period ashore as Operations Superintendent in the early 1990’s, this being particularly focussed on the Company’s VLCC fleet, thence returned to sea, and was promoted to Master in 1997.
Ian then spent a five year period from 2004 Training and Auditing on all current HSSE Industry issues within the Shell Fleet before coming ashore in 2009. In 2010 he worked in Dubai alongside the Royal Navy, where he was the first Merchant Navy Liaison Officer to the UKMTO.
He held the role of Technical Security Advisor in OCIMF for two years from February 2011 and in June 2013 changed focus to the Nautical Advisor role within the OCIMF Secretariat. Ian has worked as an independent maritime consultant from January 2016.
Ian was awarded the Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service in October 2018.
CAPTAIN ALAN LOYND FMI FITA MCIArb BA(Hons)
Maritime Advisor (Hong Kong)
After serving with the RFA, Alan joined the Swire Group and sailed with China Navigation and Swire Pacific Offshore. He then joined HK Salvage & Towage, where he spent 20 years as mariner, salvor and manager before founding his own consultancy in 2007. He is a founder member of the International Tugmasters Association, and served as Chairman from 2012 to 2015.
Maritime Advisor (Singapore)
Ranjith was employed for over six years as Managing Director of a ship management company in Singapore until he retired in September 2017.
He qualified as Master Mariner from India in 1981 and completed MSc (Maritime Education and Training – Nautical) from World Maritime University, Malmö, Sweden in 1995.
After a seafaring career spanning fourteen years, since 1974, including more than six years as a ship captain on large tankers, Ranjith continued in the maritime profession ashore, since 1988, initially as a part of the shore management of a shipping company in Mumbai and later with a ship management company in Singapore. Ranjith has sailed as a cadet, deck officer and chief officer on general cargo ships, bulk carriers and oil tankers. He has worked ashore as a maritime trainer and course developer for over six years before moving to technical management, ship quality assurance and safety management with the shipping company and subsequently with the ship management company.