Our Staff

Meet the BPA team.

Richard Ballantyne, Mark Simmonds, Sara Walsh, Shenaz Bussawon, Phoebe Warneford-Thomson, Rhona Macdonald and Rob Coniam.

                             To make contact with the individual team members please see their biographies below.

Richard Ballantyne

Chief Executive

Richard Ballantyne joined the Association in 2007 and became the Chief Executive of the BPA in 2016.

He represents the BPA to a number of industry bodies and is a member of a wide range of government stakeholder groups and European Committees.

Richard has in-depth expertise in ports, transport and environmental policy matters as well as a wide experience of the legislative process around the UK.

He is a Director of Maritime UK and was previously a Director of Port Skills and Safety.

Before joining the BPA he spent five years at a Westminster political consultancy and was previously an MP’s researcher in the House of Commons.

Mobile: 07500660098

Mark Simmonds

Director of Policy & External Affairs

Mark Simmonds joined the Association in 2016 and leads on environmental and technical policy issues. He is also our main liaison for media and public affairs enquiries.

Before joining the BPA he spent five years working for an MP in the House of Commons as a senior researcher and speechwriter, focusing on business and technology policy.

Prior to that he worked in Government as a policy advisor and a Business and Systems Analyst at the Dreyfus Corporation, part of the Bank of New York Mellon in the USA.

Mobile: 07387090955

Shenaz Bussawon

Office Manager and Personal Assistant

Shenaz manages the BPA office and also looks after much of the BPA’s finances, website, main social media accounts, events, member communications and general administration.

She is also and part of the Maritime UK Diversity Network and an active member of the maritime careers initiative representing the UK ports sector at national and regional exhibitions and careers fairs. 

Prior to the BPA, Shenaz had worked within the retail wholesale sector as PA, office manager and wholesales assistant within various footwear brands. 

Landline: 0207 260 1780

Mobile: 07551372504

Phoebe Warneford-Thomson

Policy Manager & Economic Analyst

Phoebe joined the Association in 2019, working within all policy areas to strengthen the BPA’s positions.

Phoebe’s role includes data analysis and evidence gathering to both back up our lobbying asks as well as to support our membership. She is particularly focussed on transport and freight issues, trade and port performance statistics as well as being the BPA’s lead on the development of the UK government’s flagship Freeports agenda. Alongside this Phoebe is also the BPA’s lead for Scottish ports and policy issues. 

Phoebe joined the BPA from the University of Birmingham, graduating with First Class honours in Political Science. Phoebe was also an Officer Cadet at the University Royal Naval Unit, undertaking numerous days at sea both domestically and internationally.

Mobile: 07875043433

Robert Coniam

Creative Communications Executive

Rob joined the association in 2020 and is responsible for the creation and distribution of communications for the BPA, UK Major Ports Group, and Port Skills and Safety.

He joins the association after seven years in media and journalism, assisting in the production of national and international communications material for organisations such as P&O, Sky and the UK Home Office.

Rhona Macdonald

Sustainability Advisor

Rhona joined the association in 2021, focusing on environmental policy issues and sharing best-practice with UK ports to support and strengthen sustainability efforts within the sector.

Rhona acts as a focal point on sustainability policy issues for UK ports, collecting and disseminating good practice and welcoming opportunities to collaborate with BPA members within the area of climate change, the environment and sustainable development. Rhona also works closely with the International Association of Ports and Harbors and other collaborative partners on various sustainability programmes for ports.

Rhona joined the BPA following the completion of an MSc in Sustainability and Environmental Studies from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. Prior to her role, Rhona worked as a Sustainability Intern for the environmental NGO, Ninth Wave Global in Mexico, as well as executing research on the circular economy for Zero Waste Scotland. 

Mobile: 07917909506

Sara Walsh

Head of Corporate Services

Sara Walsh joined the BPA in 2016 and is responsible for all the association’s membership services, compliance and governance, finance and flagship events and is also the BPA’s Association Secretary, sitting on the BPA Council.

Prior to joining the BPA, Sara worked as a member of the events team and Assistant Company Secretary at Energy Networks Association, the trade body for UK electricity and gas distribution and transmission operators.

Alongside the BPA, Sara is also the Secretary of the Association of Participating Bodies of the Pilots’ National Fund and part of the Maritime UK Diversity Network and Women in Maritime initiative.

Mobile: 07497168370