Andrea Hunter

Andrea Hunter

Business Development Manager, Aer Lingus NI

Prior to joining Aer Lingus Andrea spent 18 years in the travel industry with Globetrotter and Worldspan, where she provided support, training, re-contract and sales.

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Andrea is based at Aer Lingus' base at George Best Belfast City Airport and is tasked with developing the hub and working closely with the travel trade and corporate markets and promoting Aer Lingus.

David Elliott

David Elliott

Editor, Ulster Business

David Elliott has been editor of Ulster Business since April 2014.

A seasoned financial journalist, he spent four years as Group Business Editor of The Belfast Telegraph, covering all aspects of the Northern Ireland economy, before returning to Greer Publications to take hold of the reins once again at Ulster Business, a post he previously held between 2008 and 2010.

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In addition, he spent the last four years writing and voicing a twice daily business bulletin for Cool FM and Downtown Radio, as well as a 10-minute weekly show.

Prior to returning to Northern Ireland in 2008, David spent eight years as a reporter and editor for Dow Jones Newswires covering commodity, energy and equity markets in London, interviewing the CEOs of FTSE 100 companies and reporting from key economic events such as OPEC meetings. He wrote regularly for The Wall Street Journal Europe and appeared on numerous occasions on CNBC television.

He has also worked in industry, starting his career with W&R Barnett in Belfast before moving to England to take up a grain trading position with US company Cargill.

Margaret Canning Viscount image

Margaret Canning

Business Editor, Belfast Telegraph

Margaret Canning has been Business Editor of the Belfast Telegraph since April 2014.  Previously she worked as a freelance journalist and, going further back, trained as a solicitor in England.

Colin Walsh

Colin Walsh

Founder & CEO, Crescent Capital 

Mr Walsh became Chair of CBI NI on 1 January 2014 for a two-year period, after which he served as vice-chairman for a further year.

Colin is chief executive and founder of Crescent Capital and has been an active venture capital investor in the local high tech sector for the past 20 years. At Crescent, he leads a team of investment professionals who have completed investments in over thirty companies in Northern Ireland.

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Crescent has raised over £60m to date from government, private and institutional investors; its investments include several which are widely regarded as being among the most promising locally owned businesses, including Lagan Technologies, APT, Omiino, Maildistiller, Nisoft, Speechstorm and Andor Technology plc.

Colin has achieved a number of successful trade sales and two flotations, including Trafficmaster plc which he was instrumental in floating on the London Stock Exchange in 1994 when working at Hambros plc. Colin was a director and subsequently chairman of Trafficmaster until 2009.

He invested in Andor in 1997 and was instrumental in achieving its flotation on AIM in 2004.  Andor grew to become a world leader in the field of scientific imaging cameras with revenues of almost £60m per annum and over 400 employees. Colin was chairman of Andor until its sale in early 2014 to Oxford Instruments Plc for £174m.

He is currently chairman of Acheson and Glover Holdings Limited and also holds directorship’s at NiSoft Limited, Fusion Antibodies Limited and Replify Limited.

Having served on the boards of several local companies and been chairman of many, he has first-hand experience of the various challenges facing the business sector within Northern Ireland. He has considerable experience of business strategy and governance issues, plus the restructuring, growth and development of companies across many sectors.

Having served on the boards of several local companies and been chairman of many, he has first-hand experience of the various challenges facing the business sector within Northern Ireland.

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Tracy Meharg

Managing Director, Innovation and Capability Development Group (ICDG), Invest NI

Tracy is one of four Managing Directors in Invest Northern Ireland who, together with the Chief Executive, drive the agency’s work to help stimulate local economic growth by helping businesses succeed.

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She heads up Invest NI’s Innovation and Capability Development Group and has played a central role in creating a strong and focused direction for Invest NI’s work in this key area, which covers support for a wide range of business operations from product development through to international trading.

Tracy’s background in marketing and business development has given her a keen sense of the challenges that businesses face and an appreciation of the type of support that companies need to help them maximise their potential.

She has substantial experience of local economic development at a strategic level having previously worked in the Industrial Development Board (IDB) heading up its Information and Communication Technologies Division. Before joining IDB Tracy worked in a number of marketing and public relations roles.

Tracy has a BA from Trinity College Dublin and an MBA in International Business and Industrial Development from the University of Ulster. She also has a Diploma in Marketing from the Institute of Marketing and a Certificate in Communications Studies from the CAM foundation.

Tracy is married with three sons. In her spare time she enjoys relaxing with her children, travelling, walking the dog and reading.

Richard Sherriff

Richard Sherriff

Business Editor, News Letter

Richard Sherriff is a senior reporter with the News Letter and is currently running the business desk, dealing with daily news and events and also producing the paper's week business supplement each Tuesday.

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Beginning his career as a trainee on the Ulster Star in Lisburn, he moved to the Co Down Spectator in Bangor in the latter part of the last century and on to the News Letter not long after.

Since then he has covered general news, politics, education and the environment as well as some motoring.

The growing emphasis on business as the driver of regeneration and the massive upsurge in activity, despite the recession, has made the business beat the most rewarding chapter of his career to date.

Gary McDonald

Gary McDonald

Business Editior, Irish News

Gary McDonald has been business editor of the Irish News since January 2000, having previously spent nearly four years as editor of Ulster Business magazine.

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He began his career in journalism as a trainee reporter with his home town newspaper, the Banbridge Chronicle, in 1979 before moving to the Ulster Star in Lisburn in 1986.

He served as editor of the Mid-Ulster Mail in Cookstown between 1989 and 1996. He also had a stint as Ireland sub-editor of the Press Association.

Gary has been named by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) as Northern Ireland's Business Journalist of the Year on four separate occasions - 2000, 2006, 2009 and 2010 – a feat which is unequalled in the history of the awards.

In both 2008 and 2009 he also won the Northern Ireland category in the UCD Smurfit School Irish Business Journalist Awards in Dublin.

Married to Jayne with two teenage kids (aged 19 and 16), he lives in Banbridge, Co Down.

Aside from his role at the Irish News, he also commentates for BBC Northern Ireland radio on the sport of men's hockey.

His hobby since a teenager is playing the highland bagpipes, where he has competed at World and European Championship level.

The highlight of his musical career, however, was performing at the opening ceremony of the World Special Olympics in Dublin in June 2003 before a televised audience of 500 million, when he shared a stage with U2 at an event attended by Nelson Mandela, Muhommad Ali and Arnold Schwarzenegger among others!

Alan Taylor

Alan Taylor

Managing Partner, Arthur Cox

Alan Taylor is managing partner in Northern Ireland of Ireland’s foremost corporate and commercial law practice, Arthur Cox, one of Europe's Top 50 legal firms with 600 staff in Belfast, London, New York and Dublin.

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With a total staff of almost 100 Arthur Cox, Belfast provides services to an international client base ranging from large multinational organisations in a wide range of industrial sectors to public sector bodies and new players in niche and emerging markets.

Alan deals with a broad range of corporate finance, corporate and commercial work on behalf of international and domestic clients. He advises private companies and individuals on private equity, investment, mergers and acquisitions and disposals.

His exposure in many different sectors to a wide range of businesses through his transaction work and providing due diligence to private equity houses and investors makes him uniquely placed to understand commercial enterprises throughout the world.

Alan is very interested in the corporate and social responsibility side of business and sits on the board of Business in the Community Northern Ireland.

He is passionate about the role business leaders play in the community and their ability to be a force for change socially as well as economically. He is an active participant in the IoD Northern Ireland committee which seeks to promote leadership and develop the economic leaders of the future.


Wendy Austin

Presenter, BBC Inside Business

One of Northern Ireland’s best known journalists and broadcasters, Wendy Austin is presenter of BBC Radio Ulster's Inside Business programme.

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In a career spanning more than 40 years she has worked in local and regional newspapers, commercial radio and for the BBC, both on radio and television, in Northern Ireland and nationwide.

In 2005 she received an Honorary Doctorate from the Ulster University for services to broadcasting; in the 2012 Queen’s Jubilee honours she was awarded an MBE for services to broadcasting and the community.


Roseann Kelly

Chief Executive, Women in Business

Roseann Kelly is CEO of Women in Business. It is the largest and fastest growing business network for female entrepreneurs and senior business leaders in Northern Ireland with over 2250 members spread throughout all industry sectors. 

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Roseann joined Women in Business soon after the organisation was formed in 2002 as a voluntary Director; she held the roles of Vice Chair, Treasurer, and Company Secretary during that time. She has been Chief Executive of WIB since 2009 overseeing a period of rapid growth and a successful sustainability strategy.