A plan, hope and the knowledge that Teesside has some exciting prospects will get the area through the aftershocks of the coronavirus pandemic.
And the region has the ability to bounce back quicker, faster and more impressively than other parts of the UK, believes Bob Cuffe.
Resolution Media and Publishing’s non-executive director, a respected name in the business community, is the latest business leader to take part in our weekly Talking Business feature on social media.
He used the opportunity to discuss the value of trusted local and regional media as well as the way forward for Teesside’s economy.
A passionate Teessider, Bob describes himself as an optimist who cares deeply about the future of the area.
“Previous crises have generally had a Teesside only flavour – Smith’s Dock, ICI, British Steel, SSI, Teesside only disasters,” said Bob.
“Teesside coped incredibly well but we have always been scarred.
“We do need to have hope about this area.
“We have a plan, we have Europe’s biggest regeneration site at South Tees site, a 4,500-acre site where we have the opportunity to build sustainable industries for the future like renewable energy, windfarms, modern manufacturing.
“We have a digital sector, some of the brightest minds and some world class businesses at their infancy that could be really exciting here.
“We have got a framework here where we can bounce back. Out of Covid, everyone else is facing their first shock, Teesside is used to shocks.
“I think Teesside can bounce back quicker, faster and more impressively than other areas.”
Bob made his name as a regional managing director at Trinity Mirror, the company behind brands including the Gazette newspaper.
He took the helm in 2007 shortly before the UK financial crisis and describes it as one of his biggest regrets that he managed the business through a very difficult time coupled with traditional newspaper readers turning away from the printed product to online versions instead.
He was made redundant from the business twice but firmly believes there is a continued place for respected local media as it faces an increasing challenge of converting revenue streams hit even harder by the Covid crisis.
In addition to his role at Resolution, the company behind Tees Business, Bob is also a non-executive director and vice chairman at Darlington Building Society and has served on the South Tees Development Corporation board.
The Tees Valley’s business community, he says, is a strong community and throughout the coronavirus crisis business leaders have continued to support each other.
“We have all seen how quickly businesses have adapted to new working practices,” he added.
“There is a strong sense of community, there are business leaders who talk to each other, support each other. There’s a brilliant university. We can harness the potential we have got better than most.
“I think the future of Teesside is better than it has been at any stage in my working life. It has been my pleasure to try and contribute in a tiny way to try and make some of these plans inch forward a bit.”