Northern Ireland Rising Stars 2015: 40 under 40

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Northern Ireland’s Rising Stars 2015



Back by popular demand the Business First 40 under 40 is generously sponsored by Willis Insurance and Risk Management in association with the Ulster University Business School which is celebrating its 40th year serving Northern Ireland. On the following pages you will find a wide range of talent representing just about every sector in Northern Ireland. It’s a mix of entrepreneurs, directors and managers and each of them has shown that they have what it takes to make their business fly. In their own way each of this year’s Business First 40 under 40 representatives are working hard to secure both their own, their company’s and our commuity’s economic futures. As we begin to see the establishment of a real recovery it’s encouraging to know that there is new generation following where we have led and ready to take up the challenge to move Northern Ireland plc into a new era. They are all champions of Northern Ireland business and are ready to launch themselves into a positive and exciting future. And we at Business First wish them all every success throughout 2015 and beyond. Gavin Walker Managing Director Business First


CHRISTINE ADAMS Christine Adams, 32 Director of Marketing and Business Development, Tughans An award-winning Chartered Marketer, Christine’s 10 years’ experience managing marketing communications and business development has taken her across B2C and B2B through a diverse sector range. After graduating from the Ulster University Business School, Christine worked for Mango at their London HQ and then retailer Douglas and Grahame, where she collected a CIM Marketing Excellence Award, before moving into culture, arts and leisure with Ulster Rugby and Audiences NI. As Group Marketing Manager for Abbey Insurance, Abbey Bond Lovis and Prestige Underwriting brands she picked-up CIM and WiB awards for Abbey Insurance’s re-brand campaign – which increased new business by 44% and customer retention to 91%. Now it’s the professional services sector with NI’s largest law firm Tughans, where she has worked for the last year. Although the sectors have been varied the focus has always been on marketing communications, skills enhanced through CIM study – including a postgraduate Professional Diploma in Marketing and a Digital Marketing Diploma. @Tughans_news


documented. A solid academic base, including a BSc Honours and MBA, coupled with a diverse range of strategic roles on Belfast City Council, provided Gareth with the technological and business nous to challenge himself within NI’s private sector. In January 2013 Gareth founded Digital DNA NI, a unique all-round business experience showcasing the best knowledge, practice and expertise from local successful business and global thought leaders. The first series, of now annual events, involved companies such as Google, Facebook, NYSE Technologies and Deloitte Digital. His responsibilities have now expanded to Commercial Director for Smart Business Show, an innovative business showcase held annually in Dublin and Belfast. @garethjquinn


Head of Operations, RUA Digital Donna is a graduate in Business Management and is Head of Operations at RUA Digital. Donna has 10 years of experience in sales support and office management. She is responsible for managing a team of 10 staff in RUA in offices in Northern Ireland and Dubai. Donna is responsible for managing the HR, finance and operational functions within the business. She focuses on creating efficient and effective organisational programs and processes. Donna has extremely strong communication skills, is an excellent problem solver and has strong leadership skills. She has a real strength and skill in building and maintaining strong client relations. Donna is the NI Regional Co-ordinator for GO ON UK the regional charity that aims to get everyone online and provide basic online skills. She is an inspirational colleague and works tirelessly at motivating the whole team while maintaining a professional manner and a funloving attitude at all times. @mullindonna

STEPHEN McCANN Stephen McCann, 34 Managing Director, P2V Systems With a refreshing approach to IT, Stephen’s enthusiasm for working in this sector compliments his remarkable IT skills. Having worked in IT for almost ten years, Stephen honed the knowledge and understanding to identify customer needs and create and deliver professional IT solutions to address these. This prompted him to set up his own IT company, P2V Systems, in 2008. Now in its seventh year of trading, the Lisburn based company provides IT solutions including Managed Services, Cloud, Security and Business Continuity to SMEs in NI, ROI and GB. With achievements in the last year including work on IT security projects for Houses of Parliament and securing the enviable status of Official BT Supplier, Stephen has created one of Northern Ireland’s most emergent and exciting IT companies. @p2vsystems

Gareth Quinn, 34 Commercial Director, Smart Business Show Gareth has over ten years’ experience of operational management and strategy development at a senior level within very complex, sensitive and continually changing environments. His track record for successfully delivering large, complicated projects, programs and initiatives across a wide range of organisations is well

Donna Mullin, 31


GERRY MAY Gerry May, 36 Managing Director, Forde May Consulting From Belfast, Gerry went to QUB to Study Politics. After Graduation, Gerry worked for an insurance firm and relocated to Southern England, where he managed sales and customer service teams. Gerry was ‘headhunted’ by an international search firm to establish their customer contact and project management division operating within the utilities, public and charitable sectors. Gerry operated out of Manchester and London offices servicing clients such as the NHS, Thames Water, The Big Lottery Fund, The British Red Cross, and various county councils on diverse senior executive headhunts. Gerry returned to Northern Ireland towards the end of 2009. Since his return and commencement of work with Forde May Consulting, Gerry has worked with numerous local and multi-national firms in attracting individuals to Northern Ireland, and he has also worked with numerous local export companies in sourcing local candidates to work for them in countries such as the U.S, Dubai, Taiwan, mainland Europe, and of

course Great Britain. Gerry became Managing director of Forde May Consulting in 2014. He is also back at QUB studying for a Masters. @niexecjobs

FRANCES MAGEE Frances Magee, 34 Owner, Dress This House Frances Magee is the founder and owner of Dress This House and her enthusiasm for design and how people interact with interior spaces has only strengthened over time. Following her training at the University Of Ulster Art College in Belfast, Frances spent years in the business world gaining the confidence and skills necessary to set up her own design practice. With a wealth of expertise to support all property styling requirements Frances eats, sleeps and breathes the world of Interior Design. With a body of work covering residential, hospitality and commercial projects, clean and functional interior spaces are Frances’ passion. It truly is what makes her tick. After identifying a niche for ‘home staging’ in the Northern Ireland property market, Frances has extended the offerings to include professional de-cluttering/organising services and home packing/unpacking for busy movers. Dress This House has grown from strength to strength since its formation in 2013. @dress_thishouse

ANDY HILL Andy Hill, 34 Managing Director, Dokoo Digital Andy runs Dokoo Digital, an award winning marketing agency based in Holywood, Co.Down. Andy has worked for clients such as Tourism Ireland, Liverpool Football Club, Natwest and UNICEF. Dokoo helps businesses

exploit the digital opportunity and are currently working with a number of household brands across the UK and America. The entrepreneurial bug bit Andy at an early age, a former pupil of Sullivan Upper School and the Newcastle Upon Tyne Business School where alongside studying he started his first business at the age of 19. Andy is currently a member of the Ireland Board of The Chartered Institute of Marketing and does voluntary work mentoring businesses for Business In The Community. Andy has several other business interests outside Dokoo; among them is Lanyon Property an innovative property company that combines digital marketing and augmented reality. Andy states the keys to his success are hard work and perseverance. @FollowAndyHill

ALAN MERCER Alan Mercer, 27 Managing Director, Hillmount Garden Centre Married to Ciara, Alan is the fourth generation Mercer to manage the garden centre which started as a modest nursery in East Belfast. This year Hillmount celebrates 75 years providing colour to the gardens of its thousands of customers from across East Belfast, North Down and beyond. Alan was educated at Grosvenor Grammar School and Essex University and gained invaluable experience working in garden centres throughout the UK before returning to the family business to oversee a £500,000 extension where customers now enjoy a unique dining experience in The Gardener’s Rest. Alan has also realised his dream of creating Hillmount’s BBQ Academy – the only one of its kind in a garden centre in Ireland. His most recent achievements have included the opening of a second garden centre – Hillmount Bangor – and taking the original garden centre at Gilnahirk to a four star accolade with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, training his staff in WorldHost customer service excellence and winning the inaugural Castlereagh Borough Council Business of the Year Award. @hillmountgarden

LISA BOYD Lisa Boyd, 34 Director, Cleaver Fulton Rankin, Solicitors Lisa specialises in contentious and noncontentious Public Procurement and Construction law. Her expertise is evident not only in her advice to clients, but also through her contributions to local press and legal publications. She also is a regular speaker at legal seminars for clients and professional bodies and occasionally lectures at the University of Ulster. Lisa has two bachelor degrees from Queen’s University (Mathematics and Law). In addition, in 2012 Lisa graduated from Nottingham University with a postgraduate certificate in Public Procurement Law and Policy. As Marketing Director, Lisa promotes charitable activities within the firm leading to over £60,000 being raised over the last 3 years. Lisa is recommended by a number of prestigious legal directories who comment that she "consistently delivers beyond expectation". She was recently awarded the ‘Best in Professional Services’ award at the Women in Business Awards 2014 and shortlisted for UTV Business Personality of the Year. @CFR_Law

Chris Hughes, 27 CEO, Enterprise Factory From selling boxing programmes at 12 to paving the way as one of the foremost event producers in Ireland. Chris returned from training in entertainment in Vancouver and started his first business, Hughes Leisure; a teenage disco in a church hall loaned to him by the Parish. Within 4 months it attracted 6,000 people and a roller-coaster into the world of entertainment began ranging from the MTV EMA's to helping produce Wembley for Channel5 and at 23 brokering a world title boxing contest making him one of the youngest promoters ever licensed. Realising a gap in the market for educational events, Chris sought out the real Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort and negotiated his European tour debut at Dublin’s RDS for a 3,500 sell-out seminar. Enterprise Factory was born with the aim of supporting young people in employability through practical enterprise programmes which is thriving both commercially and societally across Ireland. @MrChrisIre


CHRISTINE WATSON Christine Watson, 33 Chartered Marketer, Watson & Co Chartered Marketing Christine provides marketing consultancy and business mentoring services to company directors across Ireland and Scotland. Christine is a self-described grafter, working in the tourist town of Newcastle, County Down from the age of 13. With specialisms in business improvement and retail marketing, Christine has delivered double and triple digit growth as a cross-border marketing manager and business mentor in both large and small private sector organisations. Christine's career to date includes Head of Marketing for The OUTLET village, Banbridge from its launch in April 2007 to its position as a shopping destination with an all-Ireland customer base in 2010, a knowledge transfer partnership with the Centre for Competitiveness and QUB, Business Mentoring on the Western Innovation Network, market research for Maritz and front line retail experience in Tesco Stores Ltd. across NI and in Scotland. @watsonmydear

LYDIA McCLELLAND Lydia McClelland, 37 Head of Marketing, Ulster University Lydia McClelland, Chartered Marketer, is Head of Marketing at Ulster University and ViceChair of CIM Ireland. At Ulster, Lydia is responsible for the recruitment of students to undergraduate and postgraduate courses from the UK and Ireland. Lydia has held a number of senior business development and marketing roles in the education, arts and economic development sectors in Northern Ireland. Previous roles include Head of Marketing and Development for the Ulster Orchestra and Business Development Manager for Castlereagh


Enterprises Ltd (a local enterprise agency). A passionate marketer and business person, Lydia leads from the front. Lydia is results driven and strives for continuous improvement. Lydia also lecturers on a part-time basis for Belfast Academy of Marketing on the CIM Diploma in Digital Marketing and postgraduate Diploma in Marketing. Lydia holds a BA (Hons) in Spanish, a Master's in Business Studies, CIM postgraduate Diploma in Marketing and the CIM Diploma in Digital Marketing. @lydiamcclelland


LISA McILVENNA should be a force for good and she has led on the creation of Business in the Community’s ground-breaking tool to help companies measure and benchmark their corporate responsibility (CR) – CORE: The Standard for Responsible Business. Under her leadership, membership of Business in the Community in Northern Ireland is at its highest levels and her passion for CR has helped inspire students at QUB where she lectures on the topic. She is a trustee of Artemis Schools NI and in her spare time, teaches tin whistle to a number of students. @LisaMcIlvenna

Jeanette Donohoe, 34 Director, Cleaver Fulton Rankin Jeanette, together with her Co-Directors, leads a team of 100 staff at this leading Belfast commercial law firm. She is Head of the Insolvency & Business Restructuring team and is a specialist in advising distressed businesses, banks and Insolvency Practitioners in the full range of complex contentious and non-contentious insolvency procedures. Joining the firm in 2003, Jeanette was quickly promoted and invited to partnership in 2009. Aged 29, she was the youngest partner ever in the firm which has been in business for over 100 years. The firm incorporated in 2011 and Jeanette joined the Board of Directors. Jeanette is constantly recognised as a leading lawyer in legal directories. She is listed as a leader in her field in both NI and UK and quoted as a “firm favourite” with clients, who say she is "knowledgeable, practical and always available”, Chambers UK 2014, A Client’s Guide to the Legal Profession. @CFR_Law

Dr Lisa McIlvenna, PhD, 31 Deputy Managing Director, Business in the Community Lisa is passionate about responsible business, choosing it as the subject of her PhD, completed at the start of 2015. She leads Business in the Community’s drive for membership, engaging and supporting companies to make their business more sustainable, while fulfilling their responsibilities towards society, the environment and their current and future workforce. Lisa believes business is and

PAUL REDPATH Paul Redpath MA, 30 Director, Paul started the web hosting company catalyst2 while still at school in 2000 and progressing it at University , dissatisfied with the lack of great customer service in the industry. Since then the business has grown to host thousands of websites over hundreds of servers for a variety of individuals and businesses, including the Poppy Appeal, Virgin, Marks & Spencer and the NHS. Catalyst2 has also won several industry ISPA awards for Best Customer Service and Customer Choice, along with and two Deloitte Fast 50 awards for business growth. Paul continues to manage the business along with a clear focus on exceptional customer service and ease of use. Paul is also involved and a Director in The Company Shop which is Northern Ireland’s leading company formation agency, also working to provide an excellent customer experience in a somewhat virtual marketplace. @catalyst2


quality management systems and extensive staff training. His strong work ethic, calm nature, practical approach and genuine people skills are the keys to his success. In 2011 Stephen completed a Diploma in Business Management & Leadership and in 2013 he was appointed a company Director. In his spare time Stephen volunteers at his local GAA Club; Rossa, as well as being a devoted family man to his wife and two young sons. @signatureworks

Katy Best, 37 Commercial & Marketing Director George Best Belfast City Airport Katy Best has been instrumental to the growth and success of George Best Belfast City Airport over the last decade. Bringing British Airways and Aer Lingus to the Airport and growing the network operated by flybe has provided BCA with a comprehensive domestic route network. This network has now been expanded into Europe firstly with Aer Lingus and this year KLM and Vueling will commence operations at BCA for the first time positioning the business for double digit growth and a record year. In addition to the growth of the route network Katy has transformed the Commercial offerings at BCA and today there are 30 different companies operating within the Airport. This impressive track record has resulted in Katy’s skills being much sought after and she is currently a Board member of Tourism NI, the 2015 Belfast Tall Ships, Visit Britain in London and the Mac. All this and 3 young children!! @belfastcity_air


IVAN WAIDE Ivan Waide, 39 Partner, A&L Goodbody Ivan Waide is a leading IP and Technology lawyer. As a partner at award winning law firm A&L Goodbody, Ivan heads up the IP & Technology practice area in the Belfast office, specialising in technology, intellectual property and commercial law. He has extensive experience advising both Northern Ireland-based and international clients on technology transactions and commercial contracts (including outsourcing, IP commercialisation and supply chain contracts), as well as e-commerce and data protection. Ivan studied at Queen's University Belfast and the College of Law London. Prior to returning to Northern Ireland, Ivan worked for international law firms in London, Munich and New York, and is a fluent German speaker. A true leader in his field, clients recognise him as being "a brilliant lawyer" (Chambers UK), "the best I've had the privilege of working with" (Chambers UK) and a "mature, confident lawyer who is approachable and easy to talk to" (Chambers UK).

Stephen Collins, 39

Louise Kelly, 36

Production Director, The Signature Works Leaving school at 18 Stephen began his career in 1998 as general assistant to, now codirector, Peter McConvey in Expert Tees. Tasked with everything from general admin to warehouse organisation, Stephen got a good early grounding in all aspects of running a business. In 2000 Expert Tees merged with, then supplier Sportscrest, later re-branding to The Signature Works in 2010. Stephen has been at the forefront of changes that have helped the business grow to become Ireland’s largest screen-printing and embroidery facility. These include implementation of LEAN manufacturing,

Partner at Grant Thornton Northern Ireland Louise is tasked with growing the NI audit practice. Having joined the business advisory firm as a trainee 2000, she has developed a wealth of experience working with public and privately owned companies, particularly within the construction, education, motor retail and manufacturing sectors. During her career at Grant Thornton, Louise has headed up the Risk, Compliance and Professional Standards department, where she gained extensive technical expertise in Irish and UK GAAP and company law. She is also passionate about educating others,

LOUISE KELLY having lectured for a number of professional accountancy bodies, as well as writing Advanced Auditing & Assurance, the audit text book used in Chartered Accountants Ireland final auditing exams. Louise has completed a Bachelor degree (BA) in Accounting and Finance from Manchester Metropolitan University. She qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2003 and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Ireland (ICAI) and Institute of Directors. @GrantThorntonIE

CONOR O’HAGAN Conor O'Hagan, 34 Director, Capital Project & Infrastructure, PwC Conor is a chartered civil engineer, an MBA graduate and, prior to joining PwC, spent his formative years in the construction industry where he led teams in the design, management and delivery of complex infrastructure projects and programmes. Conor made the move to PwC in 2010 because he is motivated by solving complex problems and wanted to do so on iconic national and international projects. He is now a Director in PwC and leads their Capital Projects & Infrastructure business in Northern Ireland. Over the last 5 years he has worked in an advisory capacity specialising in creating insight, removing complexity and reducing risk for his clients across a number of critical national infrastructure and complex multinational programmes. He is motivated by building trust, growing and developing his team, and helping his clients achieve better outcomes than they thought possible. @ConorOHagan1



work with a company expanding into a new market at the Centre for SME Development, Ulster Business School. He is one of the few people from Northern Ireland to have written internationally in corporate communication for Charlton Media Group Hong Kong where he wrote for three of their leading Asian business magazines (Singapore Business Review, Asian Banking & Finance and Hong Kong Business). In the UK he has written for Business Matters magazine. @johnnymmcginley

Pete Hanlon, 34 Head of Creative, Flint Studios Ltd. Pete Hanlon co-founded Flint Studios in December 2011. In a short space of time Flint Studios has flourished from a small team into a full-service digital agency. Constantly pushing new boundaries, Pete has overseen the company’s high rate of expansion, now employing 19 members of staff providing technical, creative and digital solutions to clients throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. As a director and member of the board, Pete is responsible for strategic leadership, staff development and improving the company’s performance. He has been instrumental in ‘speeding up’ the company’s rate of expansion by increasing the active customer base year on year by over 25%, introducing professional development plans for all staff and expanding the company’s core service offering. His vision and craft has resulted in two awards wins for Flint Studios in the past year; Best eCommerce Website 2014 at the Realex Fire Web Awards and Website of the Year 2014 at DANI Awards. @pete_hanlon



British and European Standards and Codes of Practice pertinent to the fire and security industry, is widely recognised as second to none within Northern Ireland. With the recent addition of prestigious clients including Queens University and the Belfast Harbour Commissioners, to an existing portfolio of clients including The Odyssey, Diamond continue in their commitment to delivering high quality service using a compliant and cost effective product range. @Diamond_Systems

Anton McGonnell, 27 IT Service Architect, BT Anton is a highly driven and intelligent young professional, who is also extremely socially conscious. He graduated from Queen's University in Business Information Technology with First Class Honours and received the Deloitte and Business Technology award in the process. He then went to New York City on the USNI Mentorship Program working as an Interface Developer for the New York eHealth Collaborative. He returned over a year later to work as a Consultant for Healthcare IT companies from the UK and Ireland entering the US Market, before joining BT as an MIS Specialist before being promoted to Service Architect, he was chosen to represent BT at the One Young World summit in Dublin due to his leadership potential. He was a speaker at the British Irish Association conference for two consecutive years and helped found the Young Influencers group, set up to make Northern Ireland a better place. He has a particularly keen interest in the economy. @aton2006

Johnny McGinley, MCIPR, 36

Steve Snoddon, 37

Business Mentor Johnny combines two busy roles at present. He works in the public sector in a Change Management & Transformation role and as a Business Mentor on a government funded innovation and employer support programme at Belfast Metropolitan College. As a business mentor he has successfully advised business owners and directors on growth innovation and marketing for their companies building their innovation capacity. In 2014 he won an Entrepreneurship award sponsored by the Berner Group UK for his

Managing Director, Diamond Electronic Systems Limited Steve Snoddon (37) is Managing Director of electronic fire and security company, Diamond Systems. In 2014 Steve celebrated 20 years with the company, having joined the company as an apprentice, working alongside his father, company founder Tom Snoddon. Steve has seen the company grow from humble beginnings of a two man team, to its current workforce of eighteen staff. Having worked at all levels within the business, Steve’s awareness and understanding of the



NEAL LUCAS Neal Lucas, 36 Managing Director, Neal Lucas Executive Search Ltd Neal Lucas is Northern Ireland’s leading executive search and recruitment professional. With 15 years’ experience recruiting senior managers, Directors and Board Members, Neal set up his own executive search business in 2009 during the challenging economic climate and has built it up to become the largest executive search business in Northern Ireland, with a dynamic team of consultants. Neal has identified and attracted talented executives for some of the top companies based in Northern Ireland and in recent years has moved into the RoI and GB markets with plans to expand into Europe. He is currently Chair of the Institute of Directors, Young Directors Forum and sits on the NI Executive Committee. Neal is considered to be an expert in the field of recruitment locally and nationally and has acted as a spokesperson on the industry to a variety of NI media. @NealLucasRec

energy, the Health & Safety Executive NI and First Trust Bank. She has grown and developed the Genesis media department and is part of the agency’s senior management team, securing business for the agency now and into the future. Her media campaigns have won recognition from the All Ireland Media Awards and PANI, and in 2014, she served as a judge for the All Ireland Media Awards. @genesisbelfast

ROSS LICENCE Ross Licence, 37 Events Director, Inform Communications Ross has worked in the Event Management sector for 12 years in both in-house and consultancy roles. His experience spans the full spectrum of event development, planning, marketing and delivery and includes international business conferences, fund raising galas, awards dinners, large scale consumer exhibitions, product launches, corporate entertainment and film premieres. Ross has provided creative event solutions with the Private, Public and Voluntary sectors throughout his career managing everything from large international conferences to more intimate private dining experiences. Ross has designed and managed over 500 events in his career ensuring success and seamless event delivery for clients. Examples of some of the high profile events Ross has managed include CIPD NI Awards, The Food and Drink Show NI, First Trust Bank GAA Awards, The Law Society Annual Conference, Ulster Rugby Finest XV Awards, Belfast Restaurant Week’s Taste and Dine and Lisburn Restaurant Week. @rosslicence

PATRICE O’HAGAN Patrice O’Hagan, 27 Account Manager, Turning Technologies “Success is 99% attitude, 1% aptitude.” Celestine Chua. My professional career started in June 2010 following a degree in Business. Within three short years I became General Manager to Ireland’s fastest growing Fitness Training Academy. Having achieved what I could I moved to the IT Industry, and what a change Turning Technologies is a US based company with 300+ employees; the world’s leader in their field. Working from the International HQ in Belfast, I am an instrumental part of the fastest growing area of the company; having increased our year on sales by 160%. I am experienced in International Business and Marketing, selling to EMEA and also APAC. This has allowed me to travel across the world from Amsterdam to Saudi Arabia. I believe my success so far is down to positive attitude, hard work and dedication, and I’m only getting started! @TurningTech

WENDY McKNIGHT Wendy McKnight, 38 Media Director, Genesis Advertising Ltd Wendy McKnight leads the Media Planning and Buying Department at Genesis, a leading Belfast agency creating local and global campaigns for clients based in NI, GB and Ireland. Having begun her career at McCannErickson in Belfast some 15 years ago, she has since worked for the Belfast Telegraph, The Q Network & Exterion Media. Since joining Genesis in 2010, she has planned, bought and implemented broadcast, digital and print campaigns across the UK, US, Asia and Europe for clients such as Invest Northern Ireland, SPAR UK, Henderson Group, firmus

provide excellent training and services in all aspects of the Leisure Industry. Aileen is quality driven, striving at all times to ensure each and every course participant feel they have gained valuable information and skills they can put into practise in their employment, as well as enjoying the course. Aileen believes that the excellent Tutors and Staff are paramount to BRIO’s success. Keeping BRIO’s team upskilled, ensuring each person is passionate about the skills they teach, is essential in offering the best to customers. Aileen has a passion to help people succeed in their goals and achieve their professional targets. Aileen and BRIO always welcome customers to keep in touch, and offers relevant information and support along their way. @brio-aileen

AILEEN BYRNE Aileen Byrne, 36 Director, Brio Training Aileen Byrne is Director of BRIO, a Magherafelt company that mainly provides specialised training for the Leisure Industry. Beginning 8 years ago, delivering Pool Plant Operation Courses, BRIO has evolved to

GARY COBURN Gary Coburn, 39 Regional Sales Director, Close Brothers Commercial Finance Gary Coburn has worked for Close Brothers Commercial Finance for five years as Regional Sales Director and has 15 years experience in the industry. He was the first employee working on the asset finance side of the business in Northern Ireland when the operation started in April 2010 and has worked hard to build the brand from the ground up. The company is now a leading, independent provider of asset and invoice finance and asset based lending (ABL) to both SMEs and large businesses, assisting all types of firms with capital expenditure investments. Gary is responsible for the Northern Ireland asset finance sales team, dealing with a diverse portfolio of clients from construction to engineering, haulage and transport. His team regularly meets with companies across the region to provide tailored finance packages, allowing them to reach business objectives and plan for future growth. When Gary started with Close Brothers he was also a student at the Ulster Business School studying for a BSc Hons in Accounting, which he completed in 2012. The attainment of this qualification has been a catalyst for his success within the business.


RIKI NEILL Riki Neill (34) Director, RNN Communications Founded by Riki Neill in late 2012, RNN Communications is a young and exciting integrated communications company that likes to do things a little differently. Riki established RNN Communications in a bid to create a more fluid communications agency, that taps into our 24/7 world, is flexible in its approach and fosters partnerships. 2014 was a landmark year for the agency. With an expanded team, RNN Communications launched two new divisions, increased turnover by 57% and built a bespoke eco-office, which is home to RNN Comms, RNN Digital and RNN Green. Working in both NI and ROI for international clients and local players, over 65% of the company’s client base is based outside of Northern Ireland. For 2015, Riki and the team will continue to deliver solutions through intelligent, creative and engaging communications. There are also plans to establish a number of strategic alliances in NI & ROI. @RNNComms, @RNNGreen

SHIRLEY OHANLON Shirley OHanlon, 31 Sales & Marketing coordinator Todds Leap Activity Centre Shirley OHanlon has hands on experience having grown within the family business, Todds Leap Activity Centre, from the very beginning, which is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year. Starting out as a small off road driving school, which operated only at Weekends, offering off road driving & quad biking. Todds Leap is now a multi award winning outdoor activity centre, offering 20 + activities, accommodation for over 100 people, an onsite conference centre & a


licensed restaurant ‘ The Twisted Axle’ . Todds Leap operates 7 days a week all year round and welcomes some 30, 000 visitors each year. When she was 22, Shirley managed her father’s sister company, Todds Leap Racking & Shelving, a storage solutions trader. In 2010, Shirley moved to a full time sales role in the activity centre which experienced a 120% growth in sales. Shirley is now the Sales and Marketing coordinator at Todds Leap Activity Centre, responsible for the strategic planning, communications and business development @shirleyo1

PAUL HASLAM Paul Haslam, 38 Managing Director, The Web Bureau Paul is the Managing Director and co- founder of The Web Bureau, Proud winners of the Digital Agency of the year award 2 years running, we specialise in Engaging Design, bespoke Online Software Development and Digital Marketing Strategies that get results.. Having extensive expertise in user experience, online learning resources, accessibility and digital marketing Paul also provides creative direction at The Web Bureau where websites range from interactive brochure style presences to highly functional, mutli-currency eCommerce applications. Having started his career producing innovative websites for SME’s in the UK & Ireland, Paul then went on to become an interactive designer for BBC Schools & Education. Since forming The Web Bureau, Paul has project managed large sites for a variety of clients such as BBC, The Radisson Group, Phoenix Gas, Bombardier, JP Corry, Habitat for Humanity and the Kingspan Group, Ceen and the IOD. He also managed an Intranet with 800 users for the BBC. @thewebbureau

Trevor Dempster, 32 Digital Marketing Manager, Branding Bay & Partner at NI Business Directory Trevor is a Digital Marketing Manager at Branding Bay - one of the most innovative and versatile Digital Marketing Agencies in Northern Ireland. Trevor is also a partner in NI Business Directory - an online portal for businesses which is set to take Northern Ireland by storm this year!

TREVOR DEMPSTER With over 15 years in the digital media industry, Trevor applies his significant experience in website design & build, digital marketing and online brand management. Through Branding Bay. Trevor has worked with some of Northern Ireland's largest companies such as Dunbia, Balcas, Brookvent, Willowbrook Foods, to name just a few. When not engrossed in all things digital, Trevor is a big fan of Arsenal FC and is a season ticket holder and a member of the Arsenal Supporters' Trust. Outside of work Trevor is married with two young children (and one on the way) and Kylene (2) who he fosters - this seems to take up all his spare time! @TrevorSDempster

WESLEY JAMESON Wesley Jameson (34) Managing Director at Segway NI Ltd, Adventure Holdings NI Ltd, USA NI Ltd, Portadown Recycling & Skip Hire Ltd, Paintball NI Ltd & Itera Properties Ltd Wesley operates within the construction, recycling, tourism and outdoor adventure sectors. Segway NI Ltd has won the best newcomer and the best outdoor experience in Northern Ireland in the past two years. His latest company (USA NI LTD), is a unique sports park in Belfast City Centre on an eight acre site with the Only Paintballing Site in Belfast and the Only Batting Cages in Ireland. @SegwayNiEvents


Strategic review that included the streamlining of operations and systems, efforts are now fully concentrated on our core business. Allen maintains focus on all his responsibilities as a Director but also has a specific emphasis on finance, risk management, vision corporate governance and strategy. He continually seeks to make improvements and employ best practices throughout the business. @AR575


Patrick Brown 38

Rachel Doherty (25)

Managing Partner, Tughans Ranked as Band 1 in Chambers UK – the guide to the best lawyers, Patrick has been with Tughans since qualification, making Partner in 2006 and rising to Managing Partner of Northern Ireland’s largest commercial law firm in 2015. A senior partner within the Dispute Resolution team, the biggest team of its kind in Northern Ireland, Patrick is recognised as a market leader in dispute resolution and litigation, and has been involved in a significant number of landmark cases including the Ulster GAA Casement Park stadium project. He has expertise in a broad range of contentious matters including high value and complex insurance claims, professional negligence, shareholder and partnership disputes, financial services litigation, contractual and warranty claims, environmental litigation and judicial review. Patrick’s leadership qualities stem from his days as Ireland hockey captain, when he amassed an impressive 151 caps. @Tughans_news

HSQE & Marketing Manager, GES Group. Rachel joined GES Group through the Parity graduate programme in 2012, and her achievements secured her a permanent position as Group HSQE & Marketing Manager. Rachel has since guided the company through successful achievement of IIP, ISO18001, ISO14001 and ISO9001 accreditation, while also completing her NEBOSH Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety. Rachel has been actively involved in the 5 Year Strategic Plan for the company, that has seen them achieve significant growth and development.

IAN MORROW Ian Morrow, 27 CEO – Jet Assist Ltd Ian is a hardworking and dedicated individual who strives to promote his business as well as Northern Ireland as much as possible. He has worked hard to achieve his goals and is not afraid to put in whatever hours are necessary to see those goals through. He is also dedicated to his family life and finding the balance between work and family. Ian has a proven track record in sales, operations, management and business development and started his life in aviation at the bottom; level refuelling private aircraft at the age of 18. He has worked his way up from the bottom by working hard to both establish and create a well-known brand. @jetassist2

Clive Jones, 39

ALLEN REID Allen Reid, 34 Group Financial Director, Henry Brothers (Magherafelt) Ltd Allen Reid ACA joined the Henry Group in 2012 and has an exceptional track record of achieving excellence throughout his career. He is meticulous, highly competent and extremely professional in performing his role as Group Financial Director. Allen continued his professional development during 2013 by undertaking the Chartered Director Programme achieving distinction at Certificate level and obtaining the IoD Diploma in Company Direction. Following the implementation of a Group

Director, Precept IT Limited Clive obtained a BSc(Hons) in Environmental Biology, then MSSc in Organisation and Management from Queens University Belfast. After a number of years working in the financial/insurance market locally, Clive recognised the growing importance of IT and undertook a conversion course on the LEDU RAP programme at BIC Systems. Initially working as a software developer for Almac Sciences, Clive moved onto working for 2 of Northern Ireland’s leading hotel chains directing their IT operations. This gave Clive the basis from which to launch his own IT company Precept IT. In addition to IT support, the highly skilled team that Clive assembled at Precept guided SME’s to find their feet with emerging cloud technologies. Precept have subsequently developed a number of their own cloud based solutions. @preceptit

RICHARD ELLIOTT Richard Elliott, 33 Managing Director, Webrecruit Ireland Richard has been involved in the Recruitment and Recruitment Marketing sectors for over a decade, witnessing at first hand the vast impact that technology has had on the recruitment landscape. Richard has been with Webrecruit Ireland since its launch in 2010, leading the business from zero clients to over 700 with year-on-year growth. Richard strategically directs the business in the key areas of Sales, Service Delivery, Marketing and Technological developments. By offering effective talent sourcing and recruitment technology solutions that reduces recruitment costs, Webrecruit Ireland has carved a niche in the local recruitment marketplace. Richard is a regular speaker at HR/Digital Conferences, He is continually looking to revolutionize the local Recruitment industry and was delighted to be presented, on behalf of Webrecruit Ireland, with ‘Recruitment Innovator of the Year’ at the Irish News Workplace and Employment Awards in 2012 and again in 2014.