Maria Hinfelaar
President Limerick Institute of Technology
Chair of Institutes of Technology Ireland

Maria Hinfelaar has overseen significant development of LIT since her appointment in 2004. She has led the successful negotiations resulting in Irish government approval for the integration of Tipperary Institute into LIT in 2011, which has added 1000 student enrolments, 2 campuses and 100 staff with the potential to grow further. This merger was the first such development “post-Hunt” and could set the example for the sector. At nearly 7000 students, LIT is now the fourth largest IoT in the country. Maria led the Institute in securing substantial funding for access projects and teaching and learning innovations (HEA Strategic Innovation Fund, €7m) and for applied research in biotechnological science (Enterprise Ireland and EU funds, €20m since 2006). A proactive member of the Atlantic Way movement, promoting the Mid-West region of Ireland and the Incoming Chair of Institutes of Technology Ireland in 2012. Maria has been published in various articles in journals on the subject of international retailing, emerging Irish higher education policy with regard to mergers and before that wrote teaching methods for Business English widely used throughout Dutch education.

Padraig Healy
Executive Director Supply Chain Operations, Dell Ireland

Padraig Healy is the site leader for Dell in Limerick which hosts almost 1100 employees and is responsible for Global Supply Chain Enablement and Project Management. This encompasses all supply chain changes that Dell is making as it transforms to continue to lead in Customer Experience and competitiveness.

As a 13 year veteran of Dell, Padraig has held a number of senior positions including leading the EMEA Supply Chain Operation, Customer Service & Business Operations Director for Northern Europe based in Stockholm and Amsterdam. He has also been responsible for Online Operations for the Commercial Business functions in EMEA.

Prior to joining Dell Padraig held senior positions in the contract electronics manufacturing industry  as Operations Manager with Sanmina and Quality & Product Engineering Manager with SCI.

Padraig holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cork Institute of Technology.

Tom Kitt
Vice President, Global Engineering Operations & Technology
Supply Chain Operations, Dell Ireland

Tom Kitt, based in Dell Limerick, is Vice President, Global Engineering Operations & Technology and in this role is responsible for creating flexibility and resilience in the global Supply Chain for Dell. His team launch new products into a global supply chain footprint, in addition to defining and deploying the appropriate manufacturing processes, IT tools and systems to support the introduction of new technologies in an environment of constant change.

In his current role Tom focuses on driving a culture of creativity and innovation amongst his team across a global geography, which involves spending developing key talent and setting the correct environment for innovation and breakthrough thinking.

As a 14 year veteran of Dell, Tom has held a number of Executive positions including leading Desktop & Server Manufacturing, UK/Ireland Technical Support, EMEA Services Operations and Global Service Program Operations.

Prior to joining Dell, Tom held several engineering and senior management positions in Apple, Intel and AST.

Tom holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering as well as a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.

Brian Fitzgerald
ITLG, IIC, Silicon Valley, San Jose, California

Brian Fitzgerald has over thirty years of senior operations management experience for both hardware and software centric Silicon Valley companies and global high tech companies. Over the years Brian has worked at an executive level for some of the industry's leading companies including Apple, Claris and Intuit. Having worked with Apple Inc from 1978 Brian was a key member of the management team that expanded manufacturing and distribution operations globally including into Cork.

In addition, he has provided both management and operations consulting for several early stage start-up companies and is on the board of advisors for the ITLG since 2007.

Dermot O'Connell
General Manager, Dell Ireland

Dermot O'Connell serves as General Manager for Dell Ireland. In this role, he is responsible for the Company's commercial business on the island of Ireland, leading the Dell teams that deliver innovative and practical technology solutions to its customers in small and medium businesses, public institutions and large enterprises.  Over the past number of months, Dermot has re-engineered Dell's entire sales, marketing and services operations for the Irish market, ensuring that the company is positioned to meet the growing and evolving needs of its diverse range of customers.  This has included the successful integration of the skills and offerings that are now available from Dell following the successful global acquisitions of SecureWorks, Compellent and Perot Systems, amongst others.

Dermot is also responsible for integrating the growing specialist solutions that are available from the Solution Centre team in Limerick and the Cloud R&D Centre in Dublin. These Centres were developed following the decision by Dell to invest further in Ireland last year - leading to the creation of 150 new jobs.

Dermot is a member of the cross-site Ireland Leadership team which has been responsible for driving the transformation of the Irish operations over the past three years. His work with this group has ensured that the Irish based operations in Dublin and Limerick continue to play a strategic role in supporting the EMEA and global objectives of the company as it transforms from being a PC vendor to a Solutions and Services organisation.

Dermot is also the executive sponsor for Dell Ireland's green and environmental initiatives and has been responsible for mentoring the company's green team as they developed and rolled out a number of award winning green initiatives.

With the company since 1993, Dermot has held a number of senior roles with the business both in Ireland and the UK. 
Dermot is a member of the board of ICT Ireland and holds a Bachelor's Degree in Information Systems from Trinity College Dublin.  

Denis Hayes

Denis joined the IRDG as Managing Director in 2011.  He has over 30 years experience in the fields of research, development and innovation. During this time he has worked for leading brand companies and been involved in a variety of new market activity, product launches and product renovation. He has played a leading role in innovations associated with brands such as Cadbury, Yoplait, Avonmore, Kilmeaden, Heinz, Bulmers, Magners and Ballygowan.  Denis began his technical career with Cadburys, progressing from there to Waterford Foods, Glanbia, Heinz and more recently Bulmers. He has spent the last 10 years with Bulmers as Innovation and Technical Director where he held full responsibility for all research, development and innovation across the core brand, brand extensions and other portfolio products. This was in addition to executive responsibility for quality assurance, environment and health & safety. Denis holds Master degrees in Biochemistry and Food Science and an MBA.

Cian Hughes
VC Partner – Irish Technology Capital
Head of Operations, ITLG

Cian Hughes currently operates as a full-time executive consultant where he specializes in Business Management, Operations & Strategic Management and new business startups in the High-Tech sector.

Cian Hughes has held key positions in General Management, Operations Management and Localization Management with some of the worlds leading organizations over the past 19 years including Lotus/IBM, ITP (now SDL), Intel, MetaCreations (now Viewpoint), Pivotal, Curious Labs (now e-frontier).

Additionally Cian played a key role in start up of the International Operations entities in Ireland for MetaCreations, Curious Labs & Pivotal.

Cian holds a BSc in Mathematics and Physics from University College, Dublin, Ireland, and a Diploma in Management from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.

Maria Kelly
CEO, Limerick Chamber of Commerce

Maria Kelly is CEO of the Limerick Chamber of Commerce, one of the major provincial Chambers of Commerce in Ireland.

Maria worked with Murray Consultants in Dublin, in both the corporate and event management departments of the business, before returning to Limerick. Maria then took up the position of head of marketing with Chorus and was responsible for managing the company rebrand, as well as the roll-out of the new digital and telephony products. Maria left Chorus in January 2005 and took up her current position as CEO of Limerick Chamber.

Maria is also the business representative on the Limerick City Development Board and sits of the Advisory Committee of the Hartnett enterprise Acceleration centre.

Maria holds a BA in Communications and English Literature for Mercyhurst University in the US, a MA in International Studies from the University of Limerick and is currently finishing an MBS in International Entrepreneurship Management in the University of Limerick

Dr. Breda Kenny Sheehan
Director Surecom Group & Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at Cork Institute of Technology

Breda obtained her PhD from the University of Limerick. Her research focuses on networking capability and international performance of High Tech SMEs. Breda is responsible for the overall marketing strategy for the company and the group, development of domestic and international marketing plans and strategies, managing the customer service function of the business, monitoring and analyzing marketing intelligence. Alongside her industry work, Breda also has over 17 years in Academia in lecturing and research in the areas of international business, management and entrepreneurship. Her work has appeared in journals such as The Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management and Irish Journal of Management. Breda is the current Ireland VP of the European Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Jim Sheehan
Group Director Surecom

Company Director Jim Sheehan set up the company in 2005 with his wife Breda. At a time when major operators were looking to outsourcing their operations Jim saw opportunity in the telecommunications sector for a highly skilled and specialist company to provide non-core activities to major operators. Jim had 12 years previous telecommunications experience with one of Europe’s major operators and after careful monitoring of the shift in trends Jim decided to set up on his own. 7 years on he has a staff of 80, 4 offices nationally and internationally, has been a finalist in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2009, a Deloittes Best Managed Company 2012 and won numerous awards through the SFA. None of which could have been achieved without the strong management team behind him.

Aidan O’Driscoll
Business Angel Network

The Halo Business Angel Partnership is the new national business angel network in the Republic of Ireland bringing together the private equity activities of Enterprise Ireland, InterTradeIreland and the Irish Business and Innovation Centres.

A key objective for the Halo Business Angel Partnership is to develop and foster the growth of private equity and business angel activity in Ireland.

John Daly
Head of Commercial Centre,

John has over 30 years experience in banking in both Ireland and the U.K.He has worked in senior management positions in Retail Banking,Credit Dept. and Legal and Securities.He has extensive experience in dealing with both large Corporates and the SME sector.

Dr. Liam Brown
Enterprise Ireland

Liam works for Enterprise Ireland as the National Delegate and National Contact Point for the NMP (Nanotechnology, Materials and New Production Technologies) thematic area of the EU’s Framework Programme 7 for Research and Development. Liam spends a significant amount of time working with Ireland’s research community, industrial and academic both in a promotional and technical capacity and officially represents Ireland at the European Commission in his technical field.

Education: Liam graduated from the University of Limerick in 1990 with an undergraduate degree in Electronics and in 1992 with a Research Master's degree. Liam has just completed a part-time PhD in Trinity College Dublin researching how eLearning can be an enabler of competitive improvement within enterprises.

Billy O’Connor
The Discovery Partnership Limited

TDPL was established by Billy O'Connor, a Commerce Graduate from U.C.C. (University College, Cork) who qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1981 with KPMG in their local office in Cork, Republic of Ireland. Following an early career in banking, financial services and management consultancy, he recognised the need for a specialised consultancy.

The focus of The Discovery Partnership was to work in partnership with owners and executives of small to medium-sized companies and organisations to facilitate change and realise the potential that exists within individuals and teams in those businesses

Dr. Siobhan Moane

Dr. Siobhán Moane is LIT’s Head of Research & Technology Transfer and is responsible for the strategic development of research across LIT’s four schools in addition to facilitating technology transfer activities and dissemination of research outcomes across LIT. She supports start-up companies based in LIT’s Enterprise Acceleration Centre in their research endeavours and works closely with Ireland’s agencies involved in supporting SMEs and High Potential Start-up Companies. She chairs LIT’s Academic Council Sub-committee on Research and Development. A proposer PI of Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre, Siobhán sits on its Steering Committee and Commercialisation Committee. She holds a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry awarded by Dublin City University, Ireland and is currently supervising 5 postgraduates pursuing Ph.D qualification. She joined LIT in 2000 and was a founder of LIT’s BSc in Pharmaceutical and Forensic Analysis. She lectures on LIT’s B.Sc. courses in Bioanalysis and Biotechnology and Chemical Instrumentation. Her applied research is in method development for the extraction and detection of drugs for forensic applications and has involved the commercial application of Molecularly Imprinted Polymers to the detection of drugs of abuse. She has worked as a research chemist in the Toxicology Section of Ireland’s State Laboratory automating methods for the detection of drugs of abuse in Coronor’s samples. While working as a Biochemist for Ireland’s Medical Bureau of Road Safety she set up Ireland’s screening programme for the detection of Driving under the Influence of Drugs. She has researched in the University of Oviedo, Spain and the University of Kansas, U.S.A.

Ted Brooks

Ted Brooks is a Commerce graduate from UCD and is a Fellow of the Chartered Accountants Institute. He has 25 years of experience working in the manufacturing industry in Ireland. Following a period working as a financial accountant he held various production management roles and became General Site manager of a large multifunctional site. He served for 10 years as a Global Executive Director of Element Six (formerly De Beers Industrial Diamonds), a multinational manufacturing company. During this time he held specific responsibility for the creation and execution of an international strategic review process of all aspects of the business. He also held global Supply Chain management/ IT/and Legal roles at executive level. He has experience in business acquisition, international relocation and business branding.

George Kennedy
Solicitor, Holmes O’Malley Sexton

George is a solicitor in our corporate and commercial department, having joined the firm in 2011 from A&L Goodbody Solicitors, where he worked since 2005.
George has particular expertise in the following:-
• Corporate acquisitions and disposals
• Corporate restructuring
• Corporate investments (including venture capital funding)
• Corporate governance
• Commercial agreements (including terms of sale and purchase, distribution agreements and warehousing agreements)
• General commercial law advices (including website terms and conditions, data protection, advertising, consumer protection and food and beverage labelling advices).

Robert Grealis

Robert has over 25 years business experience and has held a number of senior management positions across the private and public sectors in Ireland and overseas and has extensive experience in strategy & planning, business development, financial planning, business mentoring & interim management solutions.

A graduate in business from GMIT, Robert is a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management, Member of the Irish Institute of Training & Development and also a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. Robert was Chief Executive of Ireland West Airport Knock where, under his leadership, the company grew its passenger numbers and destinations to record levels and it received numerous business development and service awards. He has also held a number of other senior financial and general management positions, including Divisional Finance & Operations Director for Bunzl plc, the global support services company.

Robert is also an investor and advisor to a number of Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start Up businesses in the software and interactive media space and holds a number of other positions, including Chairman of Mayo County Council’s Audit Committee and is a Consulting Partner with The Discovery Partnership, the national business consultancy which supports and assists in the development of small and medium enterprises and other organizations.

Dr Paudie Murray
Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre

Dr Paudie Murray is Senior research fellow and research leader with Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre and is responsible for the day to day running of the facilities in Limerick. Dr Murray holds a PhD. In Biochemistry from the National University of Ireland Galway and has also worked at Wallenberg Wood Biotechnology Centre in Stockholm Sweden and at VTT Biotechnology Research Centre in Helsinki Finland. Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre has a strong history of collaboration with industry in the area of bioactive compounds, as well as the broader Irish biotechnology sector, and was established through core funding provided by Enterprise Ireland under the Applied Research Enhancement (ARE) Program. Shannon ABC is specifically involved in identification of innovative ingredients and biological products from natural resources using novel state of the art processes to obtain lead molecules for drug development and value added food, flavour and medicinal products. Dr Murray is also the scientific coordinator of an FP7 project on extraction of high-value bioactive molecules form marine plants and animals with specific interests on environmentally friendly and  sustainable extraction processes (using Supercritical Carbon Dioxide). This is a carbon neutral extraction system that utilises carbon dioxide gas under specific conditions of temperature and pressure to act as a solvent thus eliminating the requirements for traditional environmentally hazardous solvents. I provide scientific leadership to the development of industrially relevant projects as well as technology transfer. More recently he has been involved with research involving the identification of novel biocatalysts, proteomics and structure/function analysis of important proteins and bioactive compounds and the biotechnological and biomedical application of these molecules in key areas, e.g. extraction of novel phytochemicals, bioactives and nutraceuticals from marine and terrestrial plants.

John Cosgrove
Research Director - TEMPO

John Cosgrove is Section Head for Electrical Engineering at LIT and has been with the Institute since 1998. A Chartered Engineer with a degree and background in electrical engineering and control, John worked for 10 years in industry in a number of engineering design roles, both in Ireland and Quebec. He completed his masters on the design and development of the control systems for a large multi-national manufacturing facility which was installed in 2002 and is currently engaged in a Professional Doctorate in Energy Efficiency in Industry.

The ACORN Research Group in LIT, led by John Cosgrove, has been awarded €1.25m for Applied Research in Energy Efficiency in Industry. The project, entitled Total Energy Management for Production Operations (TEMPO) was approved through the EI Industry–led Research Programme and is a collaboration between the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT), the University of Ulster (UU), the International Energy Research Centre (IERC) and the National Energy Competence Centre (I2E2). The project will be jointly funded by Enterprise Ireland (EI), IDA Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

Philip Bourke
Lecturer with LIT-Tipperary

Philip Bourke is a Lecturer with LIT-Tipperary with responsibility for academic delivery and services provisioning. Philip has over 22 year’s industry experience in development, working with international organisations. He is course coordinator for LIT-Tipperary’s Bachelor of Science (Honours) Degree in Computing (Games Design and Development).

He has spoken at numerous conferences including UAE 2015 Challenges Conference, 2007, Games:EDU Develop Conference 2008 & 2009, IMTC Conference 2008 & 2009 and XNA Fest 2009. He recently presented a workshop series on Games in Education at the Exploring ICT in Education Conference, Doha, Qatar. He is also a member of the 6th European Conference on Games Based Learning committee.

He is an advocate for the adoption and use of technology in education and has organised a number of conferences, seminars and events to encourage educators to explore pedagogy through technology. He is also a STEM Ambassador, promoting science, technology, engineering and maths at science events such as Northern Ireland Young Innovators, Science Week and Engineers Week.

Philip is founder of the computer games festival, Games Fleadh, which includes games design and programming events such as DirectX Ireland Challenge, Robocode Ireland, and XNA Games Studio Ireland Challenge. Games Fleadh has celebrated the thirtieth anniversaries for;

  • SPACE INVADERS © Taito Corporation 1978, 2012
  • Asteroids © Atari Interactive Inc. 1979, 2012
  • PAC-MAN © Namco-Bandai Games Inc. 1980, 2012
  • Frogger © Konami Digital Entertainment 1981, 2012
  • Chopper Command © Activision Inc. 1982, 2012

Philip won the N-Gage Challenge mobile game design contest. He received Microsoft’s XNA/DirectX Most Valuable Professional award in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

An honours computer science graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland he also holds a Masters in Software Engineering from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

Graham Royce (moderator)
New Frontiers Programme Facilitator at LIT and IT, Tralee
HPSU Business Mentor

Having worked in the BBC in London as a Technical Consultant Graham went on to start up 3 successful businesses of his own before starting to work as a mentor over 15 years ago. Graham has mentored over 200 companies to date, many of whom are now HPSU's, award winning international companies. The mentoring covers all aspects of the start-up process from new conception - new product development, internationalisation, funding and strategy development to taking care of existing clients through to wanting to add new revenue streams. Graham has also coached two Dragons Den entrants both of whom were successful.

Dr. Ardawan Lalui

Dr. Ardawan Lalui has been involved in leadership and management development for over 20 years. Both at coaching and consultancy levels, he has acted for a wide range of organisations, including Wyeth, Schering, Pfizer, Danone, Samsung, Tyco, NUIG, UL, Rehab Enterprises, International Schools and the Government of South Bohemia.

Ardawan received a Ph.D. in control engineering from City University, London. He lectured in electronics and worked as an international project manager for a large multinational. Later he was R&D director for a leading manufacturer of respiratory equipment in Ireland. More recently he was director of an international school in the Czech Republic.

Ardawan pioneered one of the most innovative HR development initiatives in Ireland, which was responsible for winning the Irish section of the European Design Award. He has been involved in European projects which developed best practices in performance and innovation management for use in SMEs.

Ardawan is a core developer within FutureSME, a major cross-European project supported by a €6m grant from the EU Framework 7 Programme, and is responsible for the design and development of leadership transformation within SMEs.

Clinton Dickerson (Ph.D., C.Phys.)
Director of Jovian LTD and co-founder of myinfo.ie, CreatorWWW.com, CreatorSEO.com and Wippawool.com

CreatorSEO provides Internet Marketing and Website Promotion Services and is on the panel of Enterprise Ireland Internet Marketing Consultants and Trainers. We have developed a comprehensive range of web based tools that enable companies to be found on the web. These tools have been used successfully in a wide range of industy sectors and for companies of all sizes.

Paul Conheady B.Eng. (Hons), M.Eng., Dipl
Applied Project Management, Microsoft Certified Professional

Paul Conheady is a Masters of Engineering graduate from the University of Limerick with over twenty years experience in the e-learning, telecommunications, automotive and service sectors. As a consultant with Central Solutions, a Microsoft partner and specialist provider of SharePoint solutions, Paul has successfully led the delivery of numerous SharePoint projects in Ireland and the UK over the last ten years across a wide range of public and private sector organisations in Ireland and the UK.

Past SharePoint assignments undertaken by Paul include organisations such as Department of Foreign Affairs, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, South Western Regional Drugs Task Force, Tourism Ireland and The UL Kemmy Business School. He has also presented at a number of workshops and seminars on the practical application of SharePoint.