Heather Thirtle F. R. I. C. S. - President

I am a Chartered Valuation Surveyor and Estate Agent working in Buckhurst Hill.

I have been a member of the Epping Forest Chamber of Commerce for many years and have served as Chairman for a long period and now as President.  My other duties are as Assistant to the Treasurer and Social Events.

Carol Byatt - Chair

Carol has worked for many different companies over her working life – from large blue-chip companies to smaller SMEs although has worked for herself since 2005 with Office Wizards – specialising in bookkeeping and payroll with clients still retained from when she first set up her business. She enjoys spending time with her grandchildren – having just been made a great grandmother! Reading, travelling to different countries, good food and friends.  Carol is Chair of the Epping Forest Chamber of Commerce and is  passionate about the chamber  having seen first-hand the support it can offer to businesses – its role today is the same as it was over 70 years ago – to be there offering support and advice to businesses.  Carol also spends a lot of time of her time working on behalf of the Chamber- setting up networking events, business fairs and forums and running quiz nights. 

Seamus Setterfield - Vice Chair

For over 40 years I have worked in the Funeral Profession. I have worked 27 years at Daniel Robinson & Sons Ltd, Independent Family Funeral Directors and Monumental Masons, covering all aspects of the job and being part of the Management Team. I’m usually based at our Epping and Loughton offices. I have been involved with the chamber as a member and part of the executive committee, and also a member of the Epping Rotary Club for over 20 years.

Melvyn Manning - Vice Chairman

Melvyn Manning
A result-driven Advertising, Marketing, and Sales Consultant. Helping businesses improve their productivity and profitability levels by making improvement suggestions in different areas. Ascertain customer requirement, monitor competitors, analyse business practices, recommend new business models, and make recommendations. With over 40 years of advertising, marketing, sales, and business management expertise, problem-solving orientation, creativity, communication, counselling skills and networking. A doyen business consultant with a long history of experience in many types of industries.

Julian Pye

Having worked for almost 35 years as a Civil Servant I am now semi-retired, but still do some cleaning work. I also volunteer for the Epping Forest Foodbank (where I am Health and Safety Officer) as well as for Epping Forest Chamber of Commerce where I have been involved for over 5 years.
For over 30 years Mark has been connecting technology together. From computerisation of warehouse and manufacturing systems through to the UKs first dial-up internet provider innovation always lead the way through the early days. Once the dot-com boom took hold focus changed to building global data centres, server hosting and large scale business networks. After the very large followed the next revolution of the very small and developing for the new Internet Of Things (IOT) world.   These days Mark works mainly as an independent communications and integration consultant for larger corporates or other IT companies. Typically assisting with the company’s digital transformation,  integration of company acquisitions, or simply an independent sounding board for ideas. Although there is room for mixing technology and fun, and much time has been spent creating magical environments with lighting displays, and popup music events, for charity and community groups.
Matthew Southgate CTO 39D IT Support

Matthew Southgate is an innovative and visionary technology leader, currently serving as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Epping Forest Chamber. With a passion for leveraging cutting-edge solutions to drive organizational growth, Matthew has been instrumental in transforming the chamber’s digital landscape and empowering businesses in the Epping Forest community.

Throughout his career, Matthew has held several key leadership positions in prominent tech companies, gaining invaluable insights into diverse business environments and honing his skills in team management, project execution, and strategic planning. 

His expertise spans a broad range of technology domains, including cloud computing, cybersecurity, data analytics, and software development.I learned quite early in life that technology can be a powerful tool. I’ve made it my life’s work to help
support and educate others, showing them how each challenge, be it business or personal, can be
enhanced when yielding the right tools.

He’s experience spans years of working for some of the biggest companies in the world. For example,
 VISA the credit card processor working on the business community planning for
the millennium bug. Has worked for a large ISP supporting many large-scale networks and hosting
servers, before building my own business.

He’s hobbies have always involved being around water, I am a Sailing Yacht Master Offshore and also
an RYA Sailing instructor. I have completed many offshore racing and sailing trips including 1200
miles sailing from the UK to the Mediterranean.

Paul Violet

Paul had operated in various areas of Financial Services throughout his 55 years working life. This was combined with internal training and development over many of those years. He established himself as an acknowledged source of personal development guidance. Paul has, for some years, been chairman of the Waltham Abbey Town Partnership, working alongside local business and the Town Council. He also leads the local Community Networking group, Waltham Abbey LINK. He is actively involved in various other local initiatives aimed at improving the ‘Waltham Abbey Experience’.

Pesh Kapasiawala

For over 15 years Pesh Kapasiawala has been volunteering to bring the community together, working with local schools, frontline agencies, churches, local authorities, and community groups, building long-term sustainable solutions to issues that affect vulnerable people in the community. 

In 2020 Pesh founded 3Food4U, a charity group of community surplus hubs, offering free groceries, clothing and essentials without assessment or referral. Its ethos is ‘supporting and treating people humanely, with dignity and respect.’  It is now the largest emergency food agency in Essex and North London, supporting over 1500 families & individuals seven days a week. 3Food4U’s holistic approach to the needs of the community has seen it expand its offering to include FREE counselling, NHS health checks, job club, numeracy support and Memory Cafés for those with dementia and mental health concerns.
Pesh is also the chairman and driving force of charity Youth Employment Strategy (YES) which deliver motivating, inspiring and mentoring Conferences to 13-16-year-olds and provides them with life skills and career options. Pesh leads a team to support the community of over 300 volunteers, who are inspired by his infectious enthusiasm and tireless energy.

He was honoured with The British Citizen Award 2023 (BCA)
He was honoured with the BBC Essex ‘Make a Difference Award’ in 2022
Awarded The High Sheriff of Essex Award in 2021 & 2022
Awarded The Loughton Town Citizen of the Year 2021

Stephen Silver

I have worked within the insolvency profession for more than 40 years supporting individuals as well as business owners tackling various financial problems. I feel I am the person you turn to when these difficulties appear impossible to resolve and hopefully I can alleviate the stress caused.

Mitch Herber

Mitch Herber

Mitchell has 30 years of cross-disciplinary experience in the audio-visual, education and management fields. He organised and founded a centralised print and media unit, introducing cutting-edge desktop publishing systems for several Inner London colleges.

Since 1990 Mitchell has founded and directed three marketing & advertising, graphics design and print enterprises with clientele including such names as Jordan Grand Prix F1 Team, FA Premier league, Oki Europe, Xerox and many others.

Mitchell plays for Heathcote Table Tennis Club in the West Essex League. He is also a keen scuba diver and has dived extensively around the world.