senior management Team

of niche specialists

Paul Hopkins (left) and Terry Nicholls (right) are the owners of Lightfoot Defence Limited. They both bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to their respective roles as Finance Director and Managing Director.

Paul and Terry have systematically and sustainably grown the Lightfoot business and as such they have an in-depth knowledge of the business and its wider customer base. 

They have developed an experienced team at Lightfoot with a focus on the customer. They are both strong advocates of sustainable, high quality service offerings, and have instilled a strong culture within the workforce of self-belief. Providing staff, the opportunity for personal and professional development, supported at all levels.

Paul Hopkins

Paul has over 25 years’ experience as a Finance Director. A qualified Chartered Accountant, he has worked in both the public and private sectors with large organisations and SME’s. His domestic and international finance expertise ensures an elevated level of service to our customers across Lightfoot’s home and overseas contracts, covering, Europe, Middle East, and as far afield as South America. 

Notably, he overcame the many challenges of setting up an overseas operation, to successfully deliver the full operational set up we now have in Bahrain (this also required the agreement and permission from the Bahrain prime minister).


Terry is an experienced and commercially aware Company Director, holding positions at Programme, Operations and Managing Director. Qualified to Master’s level, he is a Chartered Manager who has attained ‘Fellow’ status for his formulation and introduction of a ‘Learning Culture/Knowledge Pool’. and has successfully introduced the ISO 9001 standard into three organisations. 

A proponent of Safety and Risk management, strict Configuration Control underpinned by proactive Obsolescence management, he has formulated the robust support systems within Lightfoot today. With a strong appetite and history of embracing a partnering approach with customers, recognised through the award of a BAE Systems ‘Chairman’s Award’ for enhancing customer performance.

    Steve Rodgers

    Commercial Director

    Steve is a time served ex-Royal Navy Artificer Apprentice who, after 28 years’ service left at the rank of WARRANT OFFICER. Since leaving the Royal Navy his personal development has included studying for a Marine Surveying top up degree at master’s Level which had Business Management and Quality Control Modules attached. 

    Having now worked in industry for over 20 years, Steve has held positions as Production Manager, Operations Manager and
    General Manager.

    With his extensive technical knowledge and strong commercial acumen, Steve was appointed to the Board of Directors as the Commercial Director.

    His in-depth knowledge of complex contracts and creative support solutions has delivered both sustainable and innovative, cost-effective customer solutions.

      Joseph Mills

      Operations manager

      Joe brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in design, production management, equipment development and operational management to his role as the Operations Manager.

      Starting out as a Mechanical Design Engineer in the building sector, Joe joined the Aerospace Department at Lightfoot in 2015. Progressing through to Aerospace Production Manager, Production Manager and now Operations Manager.

      His qualifications include a First-Class Honours Degree in Engineering Design and Manufacture, Foundation Chartered Manager and is an Incorporated Engineer (IEng).

      Joe ‘s Development continues, with his current studying programme leading to the attainment of an MBA. 

      Denise Gladding

      Business Support Manager

      Denise Gladding joined Lightfoot Defence Ltd at the beginning of April 2022 as the Business Support Manager. Previously working for a large corporate energy company as a Business Support Manager for over 10 years she is a valued member of the team bringing her experience of compliance, health & safety and organisational skills.

      With a CIPD Level 5 Diploma in Human Resources this also ensures we maintain the welfare of our employees and encourages further training and development.

      Darren Campbell

      Production Manager

      Darren brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in design, production management and equipment development to his role as the Production Manager.

      He has overall responsibility for the management and production of all projects within the company.

      After completing 21 years in the Royal Navy as a Marine Engineer in the submarine service, his Engineering knowledge and Leadership qualities have been a real asset to the Lightfoot team.

      His qualifications include a foundation degree with merit in Marine Systems Engineering, CMI Level 5 in Management and Leadership, F Gas and Level 3 Award in in Education and Training.

      Jayne Wyatt

      Customer Account Manager

      Jayne joined Lightfoot Defence Ltd in October 2022 as the Customer Account Manager. Jayne brings 20 years of knowledge and expertise from all aspects of business management including customer service, people management and financial acumen, having previously worked for a large corporate retail company as a Business Manager. 

      She has the responsibility for building and maintaining solid relationships with new and existing key customers. Jayne is a valued member of the team, who brings a forward thinking and positive ethos to the corportation.

      Phil Skinner

      Project Engineer

      Phil has over 40 years of engineering experience within the aviation sector, bringing together extensive technical knowledge of both military and commercial rotary platforms. With demonstrable success in troubleshooting complex issues and ensuring the smooth operation of production and facilities throughout the world.

      Adept at collaborating with cross-functional teams and driving continuous improvement initiatives forward has supported him in successfully leading businesses through 1st, and 2nd stage ISO certification and recertification audits.

      As the Project Engineer for the business, he is responsible for managing all project engineering and technical aspects, ensuring adherence to quality standards, and providing technical guidance and mentoring to the Lightfoot Defence team members.

      His qualifications include a Diploma in Strategic Corporate Management NVQ 5, Lloyds Auditor, Class 1, 2 & 3 Aircraft Codified Welder as well as a time served Aeronautical Engineer, all of which support the company’s quality culture.

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