Board Member Profiles

Ray McCowanChair of the Board Register of Interest

Ray joined the Borders College Board in February 2022 as Chair of the Board. He is also the Director for the WEA [Workers Education Association] in Scotland and a member of its UK Executive Leadership Team. He is also a member of the Adult Learning Strategic Forum for Scotland a member of the Education Scotland Board and has previously held a number of other non-executive director roles.  Prior to his current roles Ray worked in the college sector as a lecturer and learning manager before securing Assistant Principal roles at Perth College UHI, Adam Smith College and finally a Vice Principal role at Edinburgh College.


Pete Smith – Principal of Borders College   Register of Interest





David Peace (Board Member since March 2015) Register of Interest  

David has an extensive background in property and management consultancy. A Chartered Surveyor, he worked mainly in the rural sphere, and has also been an advisor for individual and institutions on purchase and development. He worked with public, private and third sectors as a management consultant and now runs a career change and business improvement consultancy.  David is the Board Senior Independent Member.



Liz Parkes (Board Member since March 2015) Register of Interest

Liz is a public transport professional with experience in operational, safety and sustainability management roles gained with North Yorkshire Moors Railway, Tyne & Wear Metro, Edinburgh Trams, Glasgow Subway, Renfrew Ferry, Railtrack and British Rail. She is currently a freelance consultant, and an Associate with AARC Professional Services Ltd. working for clients in, and outside, the heavy and light rail sectors, and a Supplier Member of the Rail Safety & Standards Board (RSSB), working with its Heritage Rail Risk Group  on development of standards for heritage train operations on  Network Rail’s infrastructure. She is a Chartered Member of the Institution of Occupational Safety & Health and holds a BEng, MA and LLM in Construction Law.


Jess McBeath (Board Member since February 2019) Register of Interest

Jess is director of Jess Ltd, specialising in online safety and digital citizenship in Scotland. Jess works directly with young people and parents and she also advises organisations on their knowledge, policy and practice in supporting young people to be safe online. Jess was awarded the NSPCC Childhood Champion Award as Schools Volunteer for Scotland 2018. She is also Non-executive Director to Ofcom’s Advisory Committee Scotland.


Dave Black (Board Member since February 2019) Register of Interest

Dave is the Academic Staff Member.  He has been a lecturer with Borders College for nearly 16 years at all campuses. Initially, he was a motor vehicle lecturer for Schools Plus and Motor Vehicle, He then moved to Newtown as Rural Mechanics lecturer and delivered evening classes. Dave currently lectures in Engineering at Tweedbank and Land-based Service Engineering at Newtown.


Paul Cathrow (Board Member since January 2021) Register of Interest

Paul is an Economic Infrastructure Development Project Manager, employed by South of Scotland Enterprise. He has previously worked as a senior manager with Scottish Borders Health and Social Care Partnership. In addition, Paul is Team Leader of Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team.  


Carol Gillie (Board Member since January 2021) Register of Interest

Carol worked for over 35 years in the NHS gaining a breadth of experience in a number of areas including finance, capital planning, procurement, estates and facilities.  She graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in modern languages and is a qualified accountant (member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy).  She has also held a number of voluntary roles in support of her local community. 


Lynn Mirley (Board Member since January 2021) Register of Interest

Lynn is currently Director of Business Support at Eildon Housing Association.  As a qualified accountant, she has worked in a number of senior leadership roles and her 30 year career spans a wide variety of functional and industry areas in the private, public and third sector.   She has been involved in leading the delivery of major digital change projects and has a keen interest in supporting people to reach their potential. 


Bernie Quinn (Board Member since July 2022) Register of Interest

Bernie is a higher education consultant and director of Caledonia Education Ltd operating in the transnational education sector. Prior to this, he worked in Singapore as academic dean for a Swiss international branch campus institution. He was also a senior lecturer in the school of Business, Enterprise and Management at Queen Margaret University and has worked extensively in the far east.


Sally Stephanie Prentice (Board Member since October 2020) Register of Interest

Sally is President of the Borders College Students’ Association.


Ann McKerracher (Board Member since June 2021) Register of Interest

Ann is the Support Staff Board Member.  Ann has worked with Borders College for around 18 years, initially delivering hospitality related training through BCC.  She has subsequently worked in student support roles and is currently an Achievement Coach within Creative Industries.  Ann is also a Director of a brain tumour charity and has been a foster carer for the past 10 years.


Prof. David Roberts (Board Member since July 2022) Register of Interest

Vernice Key (Board Member since July 2022)

Vernice is now retired and has recently relocated to the borders after more than 20 years working as a CIPFA qualified finance professional and senoir manager within local government in England where her final role saw her managing a shared service accross a partnership of three local authorities. Alongside her professional career she has been able to develop and continue her interest in education through board membership of her local FE college, Cambridge Regional College.

Ugonna Mbaezue (Board Member since July 2022) Register of Interest

Ugo is currently employed by NHS Borders as a Project Manager. Prior to taking up this role, he worked in the private sector as a mechanical engineer specialising in heat exchanger design and engineering compliance. Ugo has also worked for the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow as a research associate. He obtained his MPhil and MSc. (both in Mechanical Engineering) from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

Paul McGreal (Board Member since July 2022) Register of Interest