Meet The Team

John Alexander

Chief Executive Officer

John is one of two founding members of ACD. Bringing in his extensive knowledge and experience, having been in the construction industry for over 27 years, ACD was founded with the goal of being a community-based development centre. Investing in training and competency is the focus of his management style and it can be shown in how well trained each member of ACD is. This vision has expanded greatly to include community support with food delivery and ACD’s own trading company, Trades for All.

John is also a qualified trainer in multiple disciplines such as: first-aid, PASMA, IOSH and other qualifications. Goal mapping and positive attitude are also prominent parts of his training philosophy, Brian Mayne’s style of goal mapping in particular.

More recently CrossFit and paddle boarding have been the hobbies of choice for John and, forever looking for more skills, is also learning how to play the saxophone and piano.

Kara Swankie

Executive Director

Kara is a Director at ACD and Trades for All LTD.

Having built a successful career to date, Kara brings a variety of experience from the various sectors she has worked within. Having previously founded and sold two start-up companies, gained a degree in Business Management and Project Management, Kara now spends her time involved in several organisations including a Non-Executive role with Dundee Law Centre.

Kara has developed a reputation for forward thinking strategic planning, delivering ambitious visions and straight-talking leadership. She also brings extensive experience in Health and Safety and is a Technical Member of the Institute of Health and Safety.

Kara has previously spent time as a full-time athlete, gaining 4 x Commonwealth Powerlifting Gold Medallist and a number of Scottish, British and World Records. She now enjoys her free time paddle boarding and travelling.

John Nicoll

Transition to Trade Trainer

John Nicoll is one of our talented trainers here at ACD and a large part of our Transition to Trade programme. He has over 30 years’ experience as a painter and has a strong desire to pass down the knowledge he has gained over his time in the trade sector. John is also qualified as a site supervisor and site manager, so he has plenty of experience helping apprentices and experienced tradesmen upskill themselves.

As a part of ACD, John has attained a wide variety of qualifications to ensure he gives the best standard of care and teaching to the young people he leads. He’s also a qualified forklift operator and is an important part of our community support programme, helping us unload and organise the food that comes in.

John is a man of simple pleasures; he enjoys his fishing and his football and can quite commonly be found watching his children play in youth football groups.

Dylan Chalmers

Transition to Trade Trainee Trainer

Dylan is our trainee-trainer currently funded through the Rank Aspire programme and is a crucial part of our Transition to Trade team. His current role is to assist our other trainer, John Nicoll, with teaching classes and learn how to be able to be a successful and competent trainer. He is currently attaining his 9DI to be qualified to lead his own classes and cohorts. With the experience of going on the Transition to Trade course, Dylan has unique insight from both sides of the programme and has helped ACD increase the effectiveness of our courses.

When not at work, Dylan can be found working as a door supervisor for the local club scene or away hiking in the highlands. His friendly disposition means that he is very approachable and is loved by our course participants.

John Alexander Sr.

Head of Community Support

John has extensive experience coordinating people, equipment and logistics in previous roles, food and deliveries aren't so different!

After spending 6 months volunteering for ACD, along side his day job with Dundee City Council, John made the leap into a full time position in August 2020. Taking the lead in coordinating and delivering over £10k worth of food each week, John has become an anchor to the 25 food projects that ACD support.

Often followed closely by his beloved dog, 'Bear', when he isn't supporting all our amazing volunteers, you will often find John out on his scooter!

Bob Doig

Head of Trades for All

Bob is the head of Trades for All. He is an experienced professional with a strong track record of delivering revenue and profit growth, has extensive knowledge and expertise in the payments and POS industries as well as in managing accounts and relationships.

He also has experience working with resellers and distributors globally. We here at ACD would call Bob an inspirational leader with a reputation for building, aligning and motivating channel partners to exceed goals. With his accomplishment concerning his work in business development and working closely with Technology Partners, he is an integral part of the growth that Trades for All has experienced

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Jeff Robertson

Trades for All Tradesperson

Jeff is our resident joiner, very well experienced as he has been in the trade for over 20 years! All of that experience means that he is crucial to the success of both the Trades for All projects and the apprenticeship programme we have at ACD.
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Bob Bertie

Trades for All Tradesperson

Bob is our resident bricklayer but is a multi-faceted tradesperson. Bob has over 50 years experience in the trade sector, having lead his own company for a good portion of that time.

In his retirement, Bob wanted to pass on the knowledge that he gained over his career and has been passing that onto our apprentices and our Transition to Trade participants.

Dhani Robb

Office Manager

Dhani is key to the day to day operations at ACD. Coming from a property management background, Dhani has a strong understanding of implementing processes and manages all operational finance.

Dhani is often the first face you will see when you visit our current premises and will take the lead on developing our building operations team in our new site.

Devoted mum to son Daley, Dhani can often be found running about making sure he never misses his clubs. Dhani also loves a trip to her holiday home in Florida, with her favourite visit at Christmas time. Who doesn't love a visit to Micky Mouse?

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Lewis Alexander

Community Support Worker

Lewis is a key volunteer within the food distribution service at ACD. During his time with ACD, he have successfully achieved his Platinum Saltire Award for Volunteering.

Kyle Mitchell

Community Support Volunteer

Kyle is 'the boss' on a Friday, where he volunteers his time to support the food distribution service at ACD. He was recently recognised as 'Most Dedicated Volunteer' by ACD, after his commitment to assisting the community development program every week.

When Kyle isn't running the show at ACD on a Friday morning, you will find him keeping the team at Dundee Bairns in line, where he volunteers daily. He also helps to keep 'Rosie's Garden' neat and tidy and growing, through in Perth. Recently, he achieved 'Highly Commended' for High Street Heroes and was a finalise at DVVA Volunteer Awards 2020. You will often see Kyle out and about helping people in Dundee.

Kerr Snee

Trades for All Apprentice

Kerr joined the team in early 2021,after spending over 6 months volunteering with our food distribution service. He will be the first apprentice to complete his training through Trades for all and will gain a Level 2 (SCQF 5) award in Carpentry and Joinery. Kerr will be the first of30 apprenticeships created within ACD over the next 5 years, helps to create opportunities for the young people of Dundee.

Brandon Robertson

Trades for All Apprentice

Brandon is our joiner’s mate for the Trades for All trading company. He went through the Transition to Trade course and was incredibly successful, so we took him on within our Trades for All company.

Brandon has been an integral part of our Trades for All projects, having done fantastic work on the St. Mary’s project and the Dundee Law Centre. You can see the results of his work all over our website and social media! His skills have improved in leaps and bounds, especially when it come to joinery and painting. He is currently on a 6 – month programme that should lead onto an official apprenticeship for joinery.

When not at work, you’ll find Brandon hiking in the Scottish hills or playing football in the park with his mates. ACD is extremely proud of the progress he has made in the time he has been with us and are excited to see where his career leads.

SPONSOR, VOLUNTEER, GET INVOLVED!

We are a community organisation and seek to partner with progressive businesses who wish to develop skills in their workforce and the wider community. Our training is delivered by highly skilled tradesmen and sector specific experts and teachers. We are always looking to offer volunteering opportunities to retired tradesmen and those who are looking to give back.

Meet Our Board

Please take the time to meet the members of our board

John Alexander

Chief Executive Officer

John is one of two founding members of ACD. Bringing in his extensive knowledge and experience, having been in the construction industry for over 27 years, ACD was founded with the goal of being a community-based development centre. Investing in training and competency is the focus of his management style and it can be shown in how well trained each member of ACD is. This vision has expanded greatly to include community support with food delivery and ACD’s own trading company, Trades for All.

John is also a qualified trainer in multiple disciplines such as: first-aid, PASMA, IOSH and other qualifications. Goal mapping and positive attitude are also prominent parts of his training philosophy, Brian Mayne’s style of goal mapping in particular.

More recently CrossFit and paddle boarding have been the hobbies of choice for John and, forever looking for more skills, is also learning how to play the saxophone and piano.

Kara Swankie

Executive Director

Kara is one of the executive directors at ACD and Trades for All LTD.

Having built a successful career to date, Kara brings a variety of experience from the various sectors she has worked within. Having previously founded and sold two start-up companies, gained a degree in Business Management and Project Management, Kara now spends her time involved in several organisations.

Kara has developed a reputation for forward thinking strategic planning, delivering ambitious visions and straight-talking leadership. She also brings extensive experience in Health and Safety and is a Technical Member of the Institute of Health and Safety.

Kara has previously spent time as a full-time athlete, gaining 4 x Commonwealth Powerlifting Gold Medallist and a number of Scottish, British and World Records.

David Dorward

Chair of the Board

Mr Dorward has been a staple community member in Dundee, having worked in Scottish local government for 43 years, with all but 4 of these years in Dundee. His career ended as the Chief Executive of Dundee City Council in November 2014.

However, not the kind of person to become sedentary in retirement, in March 2015 was appointed as the Associate Director for the Rank Foundation place-based programme in Dundee. The Rank Foundation programme in Dundee is made up of 21 individual projects This includes the Time 2 Shine project that two of our members of staff are a part of.

His experience is invaluable to ACD as he has served as a director on a wide variety of companies while Chief Executive and, now retired, is a director or Trustee with 6 voluntary sector organisations.

We are very thankful to be able to have such a fantastic head of board here at ACD and we are excited to see what opportunities arise as a result

Tina McGuff - Non-Exec

Tina McGuff

Non-Executive Director

The author of the critically acclaimed, bestselling memoir ‘Seconds To Snap,’ Tina told her incredible journey from crippling anorexia and suicide trauma to full recovery.

Tina regularly delivers talks and workshop’s around the importance of mental health maintenance, self-esteem, eating disorders and the benefits of happiness across Universities, schools, private hospitals, RCGP, one on one opportunities and workplaces throughout the UK and USA. A speaker at the Global Happiness Journey Festival in Dubai and an Abu Dhabi University invited by the Prime Ministers Office, Tina is also a media representative for Seemescotland and B-eat.

Tina has also contributed to the Lorraine Kelly Show, Channel 5 documentary ‘Me And My Eating Disorder’, Jeremy Vine, Talk Radio Europe, BBC World News, as well as national press and magazines. Currently working closely with academy award winning screenwriters to bring the book to life in a feature film for a global audience, Tina is passionate about ending stigma, and showing that no matter what happens, you can reclaim your life and make it through.

Lynne Short

Non-Executive Director

Lynne Short is currently a councillor with Dundee City Council, representing the Maryfield Ward of the city. A wearer of many hats within the council she also had a vast and varied career involved in everything from selling polypropylene to local excursions during tour guiding as well as property management.

She is first and foremost a mother of one.

David Milne

Non-Executive Director

David Milne is a partner at Thorntons Law LLP and has over 25 years of experience advising clients on all areas of commercial property. He regularly advises clients on property finance for both borrowers and lenders, acquisition and disposal of investment property, and the negotiation and completion of commercial leases for landlords and tenants. Additionally, he has also advised residential and commercial developers on a wide range of real estate matters and has worked on multi-site regeneration proposals, site assembly, project finance, and disposal.

All this extensive experience in the property market and finance industry is invaluable to ACD as we seek to expand our own training facilities. We know that David’s voice in the board room will be a much-needed perspective when it comes to ACD’s development and future, and we are excited to work with him.

John Martin

Non-Executive Director

John has been a qualified financial accountant for over 30 years, during this time he is also a member of the Charted Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) ACMA.

His final role before retiring was as Head of Service for the Environment Department at Dundee City Council. He was responsible for the financial management, performance reporting, staff training, communications, facilities management, stock control and strategy development.

In monetary terms, the gross expenditure for the department was some £67 million, which offset the trading income from with the direct labour division. This included construction of some £42 million including profits of some £2 million.

In addition he acted in a voluntary capacity as a financial advisor to APSE, a not for profit unincorporated organisation working with over 300 councils throughout the UK.

Lorraine Kidd

Non-Executive Director

Lorraine is a high performing and experienced business leader who can demonstrate excellent execution of sales, service and commercial innovation to deliver cross business improvements through operational, project and strategic roles. An accomplished leader of successful change with substantial project management demonstrated across start up, transformation, international, and exit initiatives. Lorraine has worked for BT PLC , Lloyds Banking Group and latterly for CGI inc.

Lorraine has significant experience in a managing large scale operations & delivery teams, and excels in designing & implementing fit-for–purpose operating models to maximise resource and optimise margin.

Lorraine has provided Consultancy in Japan, Philippines, and India as well as in the UK.

Lorraine has a personal leadership style which utilises high support and high challenge, focuses on cultivating a client and customer centric culture to deliver a flexible and responsive business. She has the ability to translate complex information into simple and effective operational “can do” messages. Born n bred Dundonian she is currently a Trustee for another 3rd sector organisation in Tayside.

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