Board of Directors

Tom Cropper

Group CEO

Tom is co-founder of Challenge-trg and as Group Chief Executive, he brings an entrepreneurial and innovative approach to the industry. With a wealth of experience in the logistics and recruitment sector, his priority for outstanding service delivery and his drive to be unique within in the market has seen the business grow significantly. His vision was to create a dynamic business integrating logistics, training and technology – and through a number of successful acquisitions and mergers, he has created an organisation that thrives on bespoke solutions. Tom leads with an inspirational style, which provides positive energy to the business that radiates across the workforce.

Richard Cropper

Group COO 

A co-founder of Challenge-trg, Richard brings R&D experience at board level and has been instrumental in the improvement of the operational systems that deliver the business’ services. Richard drives efficiency and effectiveness throughout the Group and his knowledge of risk management, productivity and driving performance is key to operations. Richard’s family values and focus on people creates an engaging and supportive culture, teamed with a passionate approach to service delivery. His drive to create our Transport & Distribution division was pivotal in the Group’s capability to offer a fully supportive multi-service offering – and to establish itself as one of the largest independent recruitment specialists to the logistics industry.

Nick Gordon

Divisional CEO

An entrepreneur with limitless drive and enthusiasm, Nick has worked in the recruitment sector for more than 20 years, building a reputation for engaging brilliant teams through his clear understanding that ‘people are the difference between success and failure’. Nick started out as an HGV 1 driver, before identifying a gap in the market and embarking upon his first business opportunity – starting an agency for drivers. From one office and a team of one in Croydon, he grew the company to being the largest independent driving agency in the UK. Supporting a turnover of over £50m and employing 70 office staff and more than 1500 colleagues. Nick’s ability to identify opportunities in markets – and people within them – will continue to be a catalyst for new partner success.

David Evans

Chairman

With extensive leadership experience within the private and public sectors, David brings global experience to Challenge-trg strategy development – along with extended forward-thinking and a drive for business advantage. A proven leader in revenue growth and a respected voice in decision making, David is an expert in driving profitability through fresh perspectives and was responsible for the strategic development of Arriva’s operations in 11 countries across mainland Europe. He was an instrumental part of Arriva’s growth from a pre-dominantly UK operator, to a leading European operator, achieving a revenue growth of 50% from €1.2bn to €1.8bn which was a profitability increase of 80%. David is also a passionate supporter and trustee of a charity supporting orphans and vulnerable children in Zambia.

Steve Imber

Divisional Managing Director

With more than 18 years in logistics and 10 years working abroad in the textile industry, Steve has held various positions at Staffline, culminating in his role as Divisional Managing Director of a £120m division. An accomplished and meticulous leader, with a broad spectrum of insight into the logistics supply chain, Steve has worked in blue chip corporate organisations and privately funded entrepreneurial companies. He has a strong track record of effective leadership, delivering growth and continuous improvement. A manufacturing background underpins a drive for applying lean and excellent practice principles and technological solutions, coupled with his core values of compliance and transparency across the organisation.

Gary Cottom

Divisional Managing Director

A qualified accountant, Gary started out with food retailers and manufacturers. Within logistics, Gary held a senior role in finance before Distribution Regional General Manager. He took charge of a site servicing one of the fastest growing retailers in the UK – a role responsible for 1,400 colleagues. He initiated strategies where his client, his people and the commercial results had equal standing. Gary won the CILT National award in People Development for the training he oversaw. In 11 years with Challenge-trg Gary has successfully delivered an on-site managed service recruitment strategy. His outlook fully aligns with the company’s culture and can-do attitude

Ian Munro

Non-Executive Board Member

Founder and Group CEO of a healthcare & education recruitment business and homecare provider, Ian has a wealth of expertise and intelligence in the Health, Education and Social Care recruitment sector. Ian acquired HCRG in 2000 at just 21 years-old and under his leadership the company has increased tenfold. HCRG is now part of one of the largest privately owned recruitment groups with more than 200 locations and combined revenues of £1.2bn. The Group has expanded its expertise across core human capital divisions and has built long standing relationships with public, private and blue-chip customers.

Peadar O’Reilly

Non-Executive Director

Peadar, a co-founding partner at Praetura, more than 20 years secured lending experience having previously held senior roles at Bank of Ireland and ABN Amro. He helped establish a successful UK ABL business for Bank of Ireland and is responsible for raising over £200m of bank facilities from mainstream and specialist institutions for the Praetura Group companies. He is co-founding director of Praetura Asset Finance, Praetura Commercial Finance and Praetura Debt Co.

Daniel Archer

Group Finance Director

Our Group Finance Director with a wealth of knowledge and experience in all aspects of financing. Dan started his career in the RAF and his military background brings the strong disciplines required for successfully leading finance teams, especially in such multi-divisional businesses. Dan has previously worked with major blue-chip high profile companies and has vast expertise, excelling with businesses to provide M&A strategies, in particular with private equity involvement.

Leadership Team

Natalie Markey

Divisional Director

Natalie is a Divisional Director for Challenge-trg with 15 years’ experience in sales, recruitment and the logistics industry. Starting in branch management, she is now responsible for our UK driving division and has successfully implemented hubs, providing best-in-class drivers. Natalie also manages the UK business development team and is passionate about delivering unique and innovative client solutions to a variety of sectors including retailers, fresh produce, general haulage and specialist requirements. Natalie’s energetic and dynamic approach produces high performance teams who excel under pressure.

Trish Robinson

Divisional Director

With 21 years in the recruitment and industrial sector, Trish has successfully delivered numerous business start-ups. She has lead teams to change and diversify their cultural approach within on-site warehouses, understanding how to drive productivity and efficiency through motivation and engagement. Trish’s skill for developing relationships with clients and teams is testament to her dedication, commitment and enthusiasm. Her experience has given her key strengths in finding fast and effective solutions in what can be a pressurised environment and she always delivers.

Steve Chaplin

Divisional Director

Steve Chaplin has more than 30 years’ experience in the transport & logistics industry carrying out various roles from transport planner to operations manager. He started within the group as a contract manager at the Tesco Thurrock site in 2009. Steve is currently a Divisional Director, with responsibility for the Tesco Transport sites within the UK holding full budgetary and P&L responsibility for the account. 

Mark Brown

Divisional Director

With experience in recruitment and logistics leadership, Mark’s military background with the Grenadier Guards has given him tremendous resilience. His leadership style has been key to his success, currently as a Challenge-trg Divisional Director, holding responsibility for the Group’s largest account. His strengths lie in building relationships, which has included the development of high performing teams working in an often pressurised environment. Achievements include large scale implementations, TUPE transfers and high level project plan successes.

Kevin Friend

Commercial Director

Kevin’s has exploited his experience in electrical engineering and sales in turning technical ideas into deliverables – and ultimately profit. He has been with us for more than 10 years as Commercial Director, delivering financial efficiencies and has been instrumental in building the Group’s unique IT platform, CMS. CMS is a bespoke IT solution specifically built for the driving and warehouse market, unrivalled within the industry with ultimate efficiency and cost-savings benefits for clients and ease of use and transparency for colleagues.

James Davies

Director of HR

James is a qualified chartered member of CIPD with extensive experience in litigation and dealing with complex employment relations. He has strong recruitment industry experience and held several senior HR positions for blue-chip 3PL companies. James’ expertise supports the business in it’s aims and objectives of the Group whilst always delivering the group’s vision and values. He brings a wealth of experience providing particular strength with his knowledge, communication and approachability.

Simon Bladon

Operations Director

Simon transitioned from a seasoned recruitment specialist into the skills arena. He has been instrumental in delivering a Challenge-trg Group training academy model that incorporates inclusive employability training and development. The model also offers assistance to employers in the upskilling provision of their workforce. Simon partners with Government, private sector and charitable trusts securing sustainable work placements and training opportunities for the unemployed, disadvantaged and inclusively inactive (NEETS).

Joe Foster

Head of Transport & Distribution

Before joining Challenge-trg, Joe worked for major 3PL retail companies and his 30 years in the industry covers assessing, compliance, health & safety and driver engagement. Holding a LGV licence, Joe understands both drivers and client perspective – and how we ensure efficiencies. Joe is a member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport and is particularly passionate about environmental impact and reducing our carbon footprint. He helps implement initiatives across the transport division, with proven results.

One of the UK’s largest independent providers of drivers, logistics operatives, training and on-site solutions

Challenge-trg Group operates out of five core UK offices and multiple on-site hubs. Our partners appreciate our get-it-done attitude. It is the cornerstone of our modern, dynamic, people-focused business; building for the future as your integrated partner-of-choice.