Who We Are




People in the DEC Trust

Murray Foster - Chairman, DEC Trust

Murray has extensive experience of operating in the business, non-governmental and public sector environments, with a specialism in developing working relationships between public bodies and the private sector. Murray held senior management roles in NatWest/ RBS business relationship banking and subsequently in town centre management and was previously Leader of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and Vice Chairman of Renaissance Southend Urban Regeneration Company, director of Essex Chambers of Commerce (past centenary President of South East Essex CoC)  and also director of Circle Housing Group (60k+ social housing properties).

Current involvements include as Chairman of Circle South Anglia Housing, Chairman of South East Essex Academy Trust, Governor of Westcliff High School for Girls Academy, Chairman of South Essex Teaching School Alliance, board member of Futures Community College, Vice Chairman of Southend Association for Voluntary Services and also Chairman of the Southend Business Partnership and Vice Chairman of the Greater Essex Business Board.

Peter Higgins - Trustee, DEC Trust 

Peter trained at the Architectural Association and has worked as a designer for the BBC and in London’s West End Theatre. In 1992 he formed Land Design Studio who have built a reputation in integrating architecture, narrative design and communication media for museums, science centres, visitor attractions and commercial environments. For many years Peter’s interest in the crossover of design disciplines has encouraged Land’s collaboration with many leading architects and media practitioners.

Peter is committed to design education and is visiting professor of interpretation at Central St Martins. In 2009 he was awarded an RDI (Royal Designer for Industry). Land’s holistic approach to place making and experiential design is reflected in the range of recent projects that include; Gardens By The Bay Singapore, The Mary Rose Museum, Pompeii & Herculaneum at the British Museum, Fort St Elmo Valetta Malta, and The UAE Pavilion for Milano Expo 2015

Michael Lambert - Secretary and Trustee, DEC Trust

Mike trained with a “Big 4” firm of chartered accountants and went on to hold senior financial positions in the engineering and electronics sectors before becoming Group Finance & Administration Director of property consultants, Hamptons International and a venture capital backed firm of recruitment consultants. For the last twelve years he has specialised in the legal sector and has provided a number of consultancy and interim finance director and chief executive services to clients.

Geoff Rhodes - Trustee, DEC Trust

Geoff has had an interesting career in the Forest Products Industry for a period of more than 40 years dealing in international sales with particular reference to MDF. He opened a successful sales and marketing office in Southend in 1986 for Medite Europe, who then grew though acquisition into Willamette Europe, Weyerhaeuser Europe and then finally Coillte Panel Products, where he remained Marketing and Business Development Director until his retirement from mainstream corporate business.


In September 2011, he established Geoff Rhodes Associates as a specialist forest products and international trade consultancy. It provides independent in-depth assessment of markets and market potential for wood-based panel products. GRA has a specialisation linked to educational requirements within the UK. Also in 2011, Geoff was appointed chair of the Advisory Board of Edinburgh Napier University’s Forest Products Research Institute (FPRI).

He is  currently President of the Institute of Carpenters (IOC) and is a former President of the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) the Fibreboard Development Organisation (FIDOR) and the European Association of MDF producers (EMB). He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, the global network for professionals in the materials cycle.

Geoff has been a strong supporter of the Southend Business partnership since its formation in 1998 and was a ‘Games Maker’ volunteer at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

On a wider level the work of the DEC Trust is founded in collaboration between practitioners in industry and academia, and between artists and technologists. Our ambition is to provide a culture of trust with total inclusivity where ideas and work can be shared and explored for mutual interest.

We aim to attract diverse audiences and participants, each engaging at their own level of knowledge and interest. If you are interested in getting involved with our projects and work email info@digitalexplorationcentretrust.com