A TECHNOLOGY entrepreneur has taken over as chairman of York Economic Partnership.

Stirling Kimkeran, chief executive of Omnicom Engineering Ltd, takes over the position from Peter Kay, senior partner at Ware & Kay LLP Solicitors, who has held the position for five years.

Mr Kimkeran co-founded Omnicom in 1994 after identifying an opportunity to develop certain innovative products arising from the pending privatisation of the British rail network.

The business, which employs 50 people, is based on Tadcaster Road and develops products to address problems managing fixed and moving assets on the railways, such as its OmniVision product, which combines high-resolution cameras and pattern recognition software to automate the detection of track defects.

OmniVision won the company Innovation Of The Year at the National Rail Awards, held by RAIL Magazine last year and the company also won awards at the Network Rail Partnership Awards and the Railway Industry Innovation Awards in 2012.

In the last few years Mr Kimkeran has been involved in community support at local government level through the York Economic Partnership and the Leeds City Region.

He is also an active member of The Institution of Engineering and Technology, working with their North Yorkshire network, and is trustee and secretary of the St Columba’s Community Foundation in York, which supports five main charities and other voluntary groups by providing free support, accommodation, facilities and mentoring.

He said: “The current economic climate is one of the toughest of a generation and we need to ensure that this city capitalises on its assets to secure its economic future – using the highly skilled workforce, growing business base, community minded residents and physical environment here in York.

Peter Kay said: “The challenges the city and the wider UK faces economically are clear and significant, but this partnership has the potential to facilitate the right environment in which businesses can start, locate and grow.

"Our York Economic Strategy sets out a blueprint for an ambitious future for the city and am pleased to pass on the reins of the partnership at an exciting time for a new chair to move this critical agenda forward.”

Coun James Alexander, leader of City of York Council, said: “I would like to thank Peter for his leadership and dedication to the YEP over the past four years and welcome Stirling Kimkeran – another industry leader - to this role and look forward to working with him in working to achieve these aims.”