Advanced Forming Research CentreLeadership team

Professor Keith Ridgway CBE

Keith is Executive Chairman at the AFRC. 

Keith worked in industry before moving to academia in 1980 at the University of Sheffield. He launched the AMRC with Boeing in 2001 and in 2009 helped launch the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.

In 2005 he was awarded an OBE, followed by a CBE in 2011. He became a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2006.

Helen Lightbody

Helen Lightbody is the Chief Operating Officer at the AFRC.


Dr Lynne O'Hare

Dr Lynne O'Hare is Commercial Director at the AFRC.

Lynne joined the AFRC as part of its launch team in 2009, delivering research in superplastic forming to some of the world’s leading aerospace companies. As a Senior Manufacturing Engineer at the AFRC, she went on to deliver full-scale production capabilities within the £60m centre that bring academic-level research to an industrial client base.

In 2014, Lynne moved from the AFRC’s engineering team to a new role focused on business development.  In 2016, Lynne took on full responsibility for the commercial business and continues to engage with the world’s leading manufacturing companies, across all sectors, helping to identify engineering solutions for the AFRC team to deliver cutting-edge R&D with real industrial impact.

Dr Michael Ward

Michael is Research Director at the AFRC.

Michael has spent a quarter of a century in the field of manufacturing innovation. This has included several years at Rolls-Royce, where he had roles in capability acquisition, the Trent 1000 programme, and process modelling. In his early career Michael worked with ABB Daimler Benz Transportation in the petrochemical processing industry.