Meet the Judges at the Scottish Veterans Awards 2023


Emma Davies,  Director of Joint Force Alba

Emma is the director for Joint Force Alba, a specialist ex-military recruitment company dedicated to the Scottish jobs market. She is a Veteran herself, having served for 13 years in the British Army, working in tri-service and multi-national environments in Germany, Iraq, Afghanistan and the USA. Alongside that, she developed a career in HR and recruitment in Scottish businesses, focusing on SMEs. She’s Chair of the Board of Trustees for military charity Lothian’s Veterans centre and a board member for West Lothian Chamber of Commerce. In her personal life, Emma is married to a fellow Army Veteran and mum to 2 young boys.



Roy McLellan, Employer Engagement Director – Highland Reserve Forces and Cadets Association

My primary role within the business is meeting with employers to explain the benefits of employing Military Veterans / Reservists and the skills that they can bring to the workplace, promoting signing the Armed Forces Covenant and taking part in Defence Employer Recognition Scheme encouraging them to show publicly their commitment as an employer.

I have seen countless times the benefits that these people can bring to the workplace with their military skills easily transferring to civilian life, I was very keen to join the judging panel to see the fantastic showcase of achievements that former military staff have undertaken since leaving the armed forces.

Chris Gillan – Founder and Director of Heroes Drinks Company C.I.C

Chris founded Heroes Drinks Company in 2011, a multi-award winning premium alcohol producer and not-for-profit organisation that supports the military community.  Having served nine years in the Royal Air Force, with tours of Iraq and Afghanistan, Chris was discharged from service in 2010 with a minor injury that would impact his chosen career aspirations.  A sequence of events after his discharge, lead to him turn to the Armed Forces charities for help.  Chris founded Heroes Drinks to give back to these charities and to help promote awareness of their great work.

Chris is also a member of the Scottish Government’s Business Leadership Group, working alongside Scottish business leaders from various sectors to advise and support the Scottish Government’s Business Pledge, which was created for the purpose of supporting and encouraging high quality and fair work within Scotland based businesses.

“I am delighted and honoured to join the judging panel for the Scottish Veteran Awards; I have been an avid supporter of the Veteran Awards since its formation.  The awards do a fantastic job in highlighting the success and positive impact our veterans have in our local communities”.

Jason Hare – Director of Courses – Horseback UK

Jay studied engineering before entering the British Forces joining the Royal Marines Commandos. He served for over 14 years and was medically discharged in late 2014 due to life changing injuries.

Jay has deployed on many operations globally and led men in some of the world’s most stressful and hazardous environments, including a tour of Northern Ireland and three tours of Afghanistan. During these tours he was injured twice, once by a suicide bomber and secondly by standing on an IED. Jay lost his left leg below knee, digits to his right hand, suffered extensive shrapnel wounds, lost his left eye and suffered significant facial disfigurement in which it took 11 operations to rebuild his facial features.

Deploying all over the world from desert, jungle, and mountainous areas to arctic regions on numerous occasions, Jay brings a wealth of knowledge of leadership, teaching, coaching and mentoring to any event. He has delivered motivational and inspirational talks to various leading oil and gas companies, charities, VIP’s, events, television, radio, business organisations and universities, as well as instructing and aiding in workshops for many of them all over the country.

Jay holds various certificates and awards in teaching, personal development, sports and recreation, assessing, coaching and mentoring and is also the first and most injured serviceman to conduct offshore oil and gas safety training as well as spending time on a platform in the North Sea.

Jay has worked for HorseBack UK since the beginning, having been seconded initially by the Royal Marines Commandos during his own recovery; he is now the Course Director within the organisation and a Royal Marines Support Network Officer for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.


Jack Dickinson – Solicitor, Hugh James  

I am a solicitor at Hugh James, based at our head office in Cardiff. I specialise in providing legal representation and legal services for serving, and ex – forces individuals. I also spend a lot of time supporting veterans communities through various events and fundraising efforts.

I have attended the previous Scottish, Welsh and English Veterans awards and enjoyed these thoroughly. I look forward to meeting all the finalists, and celebrating veterans who have made a difference, and all their incredible achievements after transitioning to civilian life.



David Dent MBE, CMgr, CCMI, FIoD, is an Executive Director and Head, Market and Business Development, EMEA  at Parexel Biotech

David  is an Executive Director and Head, Market and Business Development, Co-Leads of Global Disability Steering Committee and Honorary Professor at the University of Stirling and Entrepreneur in Residence at the Hayden Green Institute University of Nottingham.  He is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors and a Chartered Companion of the Chartered Management Institute.

He is a former winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award and Champions Award.

He in addition to his  work in business and education has competed Internationally in disabled veterans sport specifically in field athletics and Highland games where he is current world champion and record holder in Shot Put and an official at Scottish Athletics.

He served with the Army Medical Services mainly as a battlefield trauma specialist and critical care nurse and Regimental Nursing Officer in the 1990’s, he is a war disabled veteran after sustaining combat injuries himself, and in 2022 received and MBE for services to Students People with Disability and Veterans

The ability to see and be part of a process that recognises the significant role veterans play in life community and business  is an important way for us to show our appreciation and recognise the service sacrifice and contribution to our society at the same time as raising awareness of the extant challenges faced by these individuals.

Gavin Nunn (MD – GHN Property & Developments & Founder of Ridgesteel)

Gavin is a true gent and has been extremely supportive of Veterans Awards CIC since its inception, Gavin does so much work behind the scenes to support programs and Charitable causes that support our community!

Gavin Nunn along with his life & business partner Helen Webb are both serial entrepreneurs. Gavin a former Army soldier, Military Veteran, High Level B2C and B2B Sales served in both 1WFR and 2 Mercian during the transition in 2007. Partner Helen Webb has previously worked within major bluechip food & beverage Companies inc Walkers, Vimto & Mars Chocolate and together they have raised four boys.

Gavin left the military and worked within the private sector, upon leaving Gavin founded RidgeSteel. in 2014. After a number of successful years of trading in 2020 he developed sister companies Ridge Lifting Solutions Ltd and Black Country Engineering Group Ltd. Gavin now operates as the Groups Financial Director to work on the businesses growth. As a team they manage the family life and both the businesses while Helen is also a School Governor.

2021 was the major pivot into property and developments after years of having a few additional properties. They now operate as a team to identify large return investments and manage their own multi-million £ property portfolio whilst mentoring others to do the same.


Huge thanks for the support, let’s inspire our future service leavers that great things can happen when they do decide to leave the Armed Forces!


John Gillie – Briefing & Liaison Officer ABF The Soldiers’ Charity – SCOTLAND

The role encompasses briefing a wide range of audiences both military and civilian on the work of the Charity to encourage support to regional fundraising, provision of fundraising support to the Regional Office and Events, including organising events, establishing and maintaining key relationships with Army units both Regular and Reserve and continual development of our volunteer fundraising.

John completed a 39 year exemplary career in the Army in 2020. He feels so privileged and honoured working as the BLO(Sc). As have many he has found the last 3 years extremely challenging but confident 2023 will bring a bit of light onto all within the service community. At last he is looking forward to getting out & about in Scotland & taking on the many challenges the role will bring. He hopes he can “give a little back” to a service which has provided him with so much. 

He is married to his wife of 35 years Sherrilyn with 3 sons, Liam (32), Danny (30) &  Ewen (25) all currently building their own careers. As a close family who enjoy socialising together & passionate about living life to the full.

 “I was very pleased to be asked to be a judging panel member for the third time. As a military veteran myself it makes me so proud & emotional to read the stories of what our veterans are doing out there for their communities. Once again, I’ll look forward to celebrating the success of our Scottish Military Veteran Community in April along with those companies that support us”