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 Manager

    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 Masters Level which had Business Management and Quality Control Modules attached.

    Overseeing the last ISO:9001 audit LDL received no major or minor notifications and some of the processes developed by Steve were assessed as having Best Practice elements.

    Steve currently overseas LDL’s MOD tasking and acts as our direct liaison, where he has developed strong working relationships with MSS-EDH.

    A valued General Manager of the team and a capable and competent Incorporated Engineer, Steve brings a wealth of experience to the supporting infrastructure and quality culture found within the company.

      Joseph Mills

      Operations Manager

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

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

      Starting out as a Mechanical Design Engineer in the building sector, Joe joined the Aerospace Department at Lightfoot in 2015.

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

      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.

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