Meath Enterprise Week 2019 – Speaker Profiles
Minister Damien English
Damien English T.D. He is currently Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal.
He works closely with his Fine Gael colleague Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Simon Coveney T.D. in providing political leadership on improving the supply of quality affordable homes for families, ending the homelessness crisis and regenerating communities.
He was previously Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation from 2014 to 2016, working across the key Government Departments of Education and Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation.
John Cunningham is Managing Director of Epicom Food Limited based in the Enterprise Centre in Navan.
John is a qualified Industrial Engineer and has worked in the electronics, packaging and industrial services sectors before setting up Epicom in 1999 with Tom McDonnell.
Epicom is a specialist food manufacturing company. It manufactures private label dairy based foods and breakfast cereals for local and international markets. Epicom has grown substantially over the last four years and now boasts its own in-house R&D facility where it is focused on developing products specifically for international markets.
Keith is an experienced programme manager and team leader, used to managing and delivering scopes around strategy, routine objectives and crisis situations – or what one client called ‘living in the middle of gory messes’. He helps teams do projects better, either by improving their solution definition via Design Thinking or their delivery execution through good project management skills, processes and behaviours.
After working in Europe, U.S.A., South America, Middle and Far East for G.E. (U.S.A.), Guinness U.K. and, finally, Intel Ireland, Keith set up Innovation Delivery in 2007 with his business partner, Christine Kurjan, a Stanford Graduate and veteran of IDEO. They now help companies and organisations develop their innovation management capabilities.
A co-author of an Intel paper on innovation in software development, Keith has a strong interest in education. Innovation programmes started by IDL in Ireland have seen over 2,000 participants complete their courses over the last 7 years at postgraduate and undergraduate level in fields such as Financial Services, ICT, Food, Biopharma, Medical Technologies and Social Innovation.
Conor is an entrepreneur and creative based in Navan, Co. Meath. Having started Bearded Man Ireland in late 2016 he has grown the business from a simple idea to now manufacturing a full range of products.
Bearded Man Ireland manufacture a range of solid wood home and giftware. Initially focusing on selling to retailers they are now growing their online sales while moving to target adjacent markets to further their growth. It is their goal to deliver unique products and services to all their customers; from retailers to the drinks industry and corporate clients.
Having first studied a BSc in General Science Conor recently graduated with an MSc in Design Innovation. A design thinking advocate he was worked on a variety of projects from applied innovation with Andrew Ryan Kitchens to consumer innovation adoption for Toyota’s car sharing platform in Ireland.
Siobhan Keogh is the Regional Skills Forum Manager for the Mid-East of Ireland, a role that requires her to build and maintain positive working relationships with education and training providers as well as government agencies and employers in order to identify skills needs for the Mid-East Region and create relevant responses.
The Mid-East Regional Skills Forum, established by the Department of Education and Skills, supports and facilitates communication and engagement between education and enterprise in the identification, development and delivery of current and future skills required for the region. Siobhan is experienced in developing and implementing regional skills development responses as well as learning and development strategies and solutions in the roles of Regional Skills Forum Manager, Training and Development Manager, Information Systems Training Manager, Project Manager and independent trainer across a range of industries and sectors including Diageo, Coca-Cola Bottlers (Ireland and Ulster) and Dublin City University. Throughout her career Siobhan has designed and delivered an array of programmes in order to support business growth, innovation and resilience in times of change including leadership and management development, team development, sales development, career development, performance management, information systems training, business skills and soft skills training.
Founder, innovator, educator, multitasking project manager, strategist, optimist. Orla is one of Ireland’s leading economic development agents. Her focus on innovative problem solving and exploitation of opportunities is sought after in Ireland and the EU as a recognised specialist in the development and funding of game changing economic development projects. In Momentum [educate + innovate], she brings almost 30 years of entrepreneurship experience to leading one of Ireland’s thought leading specialists in food, tourism, creative, cultural and craft industries and ICT. Entrepreneurship has been a key area of strength – in one company, Orla grew sales from €60,000 to €1.2 million in less than 3 years. Our work in Ireland and Europe also sees us develop high impact programmes for young entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs in STEM and an award winning programme for restart/second chance entrepreneurs.
A finalist in the 2018 AIB Women in Enterprise awards, Orla is married to Enda (with the marital name of Felle, Orla is officially a fallen woman!), and is Mam to busy five-year-old twins Sadie and Paddy, two dynamo characters that keep Orla on her toes.
Gary O’Meara is the CEO of Meath Enterprise.
Gary has over 20 year’s experience managing and developing businesses across multiple sectors from manufacturing, supply chain logistics, HR / recruitment, media advertising, marketing, public relations, digital media, community & social enterprise, facilities management, event management, enterprise development. He has started, scaled and exited a number of businesses and has experience managing a wide variety of projects for commercial and non-profit organisations in Ireland, UK and the USA.
Gary is a serial volunteer who dedicates a large proportion of time to supporting local sports associations, community & business groups and entrepreneurs and would be a an active member of various local, regional & national boards, steering committee’s & working groups for same. He holds qualifications in Business Administration, Legal Studies, Management, Financial Trading, Transport & Logistics, Public Relations, Digital Media Prodution and is a qualified member of the British Professional Photographers Association.
Gary is the current Chairman of the National Association of Community Enterprise Centres (NACEC) in Ireland and a member of the the governments Advisory Group on Small Business (AGSB). He is also member of the Institute of Directors in Ireland.
Minister Helen McEntee
Helen McEntee TD is Minister for European Affairs. She was previously appointed Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People in May 2016. She was elected to Dáil Éireann in March 2013. Deputy McEntee was appointed by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny to the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications. She is also a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht.
Ireland is the EU’s most youthful country, with over 40% of the population aged under 30. Yet, of the Dáil’s 166 Deputies, Helen McEntee (28) and her Fine Gael colleague Simon Harris TD (28) are the only Deputies aged under 34. Helen always speaks up in Dáil debates for her generation, whom she says ‘have borne the brunt of a recession that we did not cause’.
Helen’s legislative achievements since becoming a TD two years ago include the Pyrite Resolution Act, which provides a €10m fund for correction works on homes in the Meath-Kildare-Dublin region that are affected by pyrite. Deputy McEntee also contributed amendments to the Road Traffic Act 2014, to support younger drivers and promote road safety.
Dr Michael Brougham is the Regional Director for Enterprise Ireland in the Eastern and Midlands Region, the largest region in Ireland in population terms.
Having worked in many roles in Enterprise Ireland, Michael has particularly been involved since 2001 in designing entrepreneurial development programmes. This includes the current New Frontiers programme which helps 140 entrepreneurs annually with the development of their investible business plan. Dr Brougham has also worked in Industry both in an MNC and a start up.
A graduate of NUI Galway with a PhD in Biotech and 4 years postdoctoral experience in the University Of Florida.
Paula McCaul is Chief Executive of County Meath Chamber, the largest combined business network in County Meath who’s aim is to connect, support and represent business. A strong advocate for collaboration Paula continually strives to create an environment where businesses can reach their full potential. Paula has almost 20 years’ experience managing and successfully developing businesses across a variety of sectors including marketing, construction, manufacturing and community. She is a graduate of Dundalk Institute of Technology and holds a Bachelor of Business Studies as well as qualifications in Business Management, Marketing and Community Development.
Brian Purcell is best remembered as one of the two stern tough talking judges on TV3’s award winning hit programme The Irish Apprentice. He is a well known broadcaster and business podcaster as well as running his own Public Relations company Big Picture Communications where he helps multinationals and SMEs with all their communications, messaging, political lobbying, media relations and media training needs.
Joe English has enjoyed a long career in both the public and private sectors, frequently crossing the boundaries between building businesses and supporting entrepreneurial talent in his native Ireland. A software engineer by profession he began his career designing, delivering and managing complex process control systems across the globe for heavy engineering customers of the Swiss/Swedish giant ABB. This was followed by a series of appointments with a California based high technology start-up, delivering the world’s first scalable massively parallel decision support systems to Fortune 500 companies. Having caught the ‘start-up’ bug, Joe then formed his own company which focused on developing artificial intelligence systems to deliver defect detection systems to high speed and complex manufacturing processes. Organisations as diverse as Guinness, Dell and NASA continue as customers of this, now mature, technology company. Returning to his native Ireland in the early 2000s Joe changed his focus to encouraging and supporting entrepreneurship. He now works for the Meath County Council, a leading local authority in Ireland. His role as Head of Enterprise involves leading the Economic and Enterprise Development team to drive investment and prosperity in the region. In this role Joe draws upon a wide network of colleagues working in the Innovation space across Europe through managing and participating in numerous EU funded programmes. These programmes bring together leading
Noel’s background has always been in financial services and payments. He previously worked for AIB and PTSB in Ireland before moving to the UK to join MBNA/Bank of America, where he was implementation manager for their commercial cards. Noel subsequently spent time with most of the large banks in Britain before moving away from debit and credit cards and into prepaid cards. His first venture in prepaid was as business and IT operations director for Altair Financial Services, a company he helped set up from scratch.
Noel founded Prepaid Financial Services in 2008. It has become the third largest MasterCard issuer in Europe and also one of the leading e-money payment companies. The company provides alternative banking solutions to partners and clients in 26 different EU countries. Following on from PFS was born eCOMM Merchant Solution, located out of Navan. A provider of payment solutions to on-line merchants. eCOMM facilitates the movement of money from customers bank accounts to merchant bank account. We work directly with Visa and MasterCard and the company now employs 60+ employees from its Navan office.
David Downes is a founding member and Director of UMAC Systems. He is responsible for the company’s operations in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
UMAC Systems offer automation, control, telemetry and SCADA software solutions to industry. The company has played a significant role in the development of the automation platform for the current phase of Irish Water Disinfection upgrades. UMAC have also been engaged to develop the automation infrastructure for Kerry Central Regional Water Supply Scheme, Burncourt and Fethard Water Supply Scheme and many other projects of local and national importance.
The company is headquartered in the Kells Tech Hub in Meath and has successfully completed projects monitoring and controlling plant and equipment in Europe, USA, Africa and Asia.
David has an engineering background and is also a qualified commercial pilot, he is originally from Dublin and has been living in Meath for 12 years.
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- Meath Enterprise to launch 25 year celebrations with Grand Re-Opening….
- The Rise of Coworking: Empowering Collaboration and Flexibility in County Meath #RiseHubsMeath #MeathEnterpriseHubs
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