We are pleased to announce that the panel of judges for Cork Company of the Year Awards

Paula Cogan Cork Chamber President
Paula is currently President of Cork Chamber and is Head of Sales for The Doyle Collection an Irish luxury hotel company with 8 hotels located in Ireland/UK and US. The hotel portfolio includes The River Lee in Cork. Paula has for the last 5 years served a Chair of the Cork Chamber Annual Dinner as well as Chair of Cork Chamber 200 working group. She holds a BA and MA from University College Cork and completed a Diploma in International Sales and Marketing with Cornell University in 2016.

John Higgins, Chair Cork Company of the Year Judging Panel, Managing Partner of EY’s Cork office and Head of Transaction Advisory Services
John is a partner in EY’s Transaction Advisory Services team. He has worked with the firm for over 30 years. John’s more recent projects include loan acquisition and disposals, business acquisition and disposals, due diligence and independent business reviews. Also John leads many larger scale transaction and diligence projects in the Agri/food and healthcare sectors. John is also on the team that delivers the annual EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

Conor Healy, Chief Executive, Cork Chamber of Commerce
Conor Healy took up the position as Chief Executive of Cork Chamber of Commerce in February 2006. Prior to joining Cork Chamber Conor worked with Ireland’s inward investment agency IDA Ireland playing a lead role in the strategic development of the South West region and the winning of new investment. Previously he worked with Enterprise Ireland holding responsibility for the development of the indigenous software and international services sector and has also worked in business development working with micro enterprises.
Mr Healy holds a BSc, MSc and MBA from University College Cork. He is currently a Board Member of Chambers Ireland and a member of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) in the United States. He also sits on UCC Alumni Board as well as a range of boards and committees supporting economic development and tourism across the Cork region.

Frank Walsh, Enterprise Equity
Frank Walsh, a UCC Graduate, joined EEVC in March 2006 and is based in our Cork office. His investee Board Directorships include: Swrve, EpiSesnsor, StoryToys, SensL, Ferfics, NitroSell, Gameyourgame, Metabolomic Diagnostics. Previously, Frank spent 7 years in San Francisco in the 1990’s working for investment bank, Volpe Welty, as a Research Associate and Prudential Volpe as an Equity Research Analyst covering the Enterprise Software space. As an Analyst, Frank was involved in several technology IPOs, Secondaries and PIPEs (Private Investment in Public Equities). He was also responsible for the firm’s thematic research and publication in the enterprise software space. Between his two roles in San Francisco, Frank worked as a Joint Venture Business Manager for Millicom International Cellular in Luxembourg between 1995 and 1996. Millicom is a publicly traded company that develops and operates cellular telephone networks in developing countries. Following his return to Ireland in 1998. Frank founded two companies, both of which operated successfully and were ultimately sold. Firstly, Technology Research Group which provided research analysis and valuation services to Irish technology and investment companies/funds was acquired by a start-up US Venture Capital Company to spear-head its operations in Ireland. Subsequently, Customfit Golf, a golf hardware business which was taken over by a competitor.

Mary Power, Managing Director at Westboro Partners
Mary Power is the Managing Director at Westboro Partners, one of Corks leading accountancy practices. Westboro Partners are based in Westboro House Montenotte and employ a staff of approximately 30 people. A graduate of University College Cork, Mary qualified as an Accountant (FCA) with Chartered Accountants Ireland in 1999, and joined Westboro Partners in 2000. She progressed through the ranks to become a partner in 2006, and took on the position of MD in 2016. She also holds a Diploma in Forensic Accounting from Chartered Accountants Ireland. Mary is a highly experienced business advisor, working with clients on a range of accountancy services including taxation, financial management, audits, accounting and financial reporting. As well as accountancy services, Mary is specialised and qualified in the area of Forensic Accounting, and has also developed a specialisation in the field of franchises, working with both master franchisers and franchisees on many occasions. As an excellent communicator and highly efficient accountant, Mary offers clients, both corporates and individuals, practical and proactive financial and business advice that provides effective solutions for financial management

Debbie Power, IOT Country Manager Vodafone Ireland
Debbie’s experience to date covers a multitude of aspects the majority of which is in sales & marketing of complex solutions from within the Technology Industry. Delivering IOT Solutions into the Irish Market place is my day to day focus. Working with a team of professionals within Vodafone across the Globe to bring leading edge technology solutions into our customers.

Thia Hennessy, Dean of Cork University Business School
Thia Hennessy is Professor of Agri-food Economics and Dean of the Business School at UCC. With over 3,500 students, Cork University Business School is the largest business school in Ireland. Prior to joining UCC in 2016, Thia was head of economic research at Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority of Ireland. Her research interests include the sustainable development of the agri-food sector and the impact of policy on the economic performance of the farm sector.

Deirdre Waldron, Partner, Fuzion Communications
Deirdre founded Fuzion, a multi award-winning communications and creative agency in 2000 and she works between Fuzion’s Cork and Dublin offices.
She is one of Ireland’s leading communications consultants with more than 25 years industry experience in the UK and Ireland and specialises in Strategic Communications and Reputation Management, working with a very diverse mix of clients.
She is passionate about supporting women in business and in 2016 was President of Network Ireland, an organisation driving the personal and professional development of women. Deirdre is also on the board of the Cork Foundation and the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland.

Orla Rimmington, Partner, Kernel Capital
Orla is a partner with Kernel Capital. Orla works closely with the entrepreneur community identifying Series A investment opportunities in the range of €1M-€5M. She enables the growth and development of Kernel Capital portfolio companies, directly working with the executive teams of investees. Portfolio companies for which Orla is the lead Kernel Capital Partner include Code Institute, Sytorus, Immersive VR Education, Oncomark and Pilot Photonics. Prior to joining Kernel Capital in 2007, Orla was Global Services Manager with Qumas Ltd, a Kernel Capital portfolio company, which sold to Accelrys, Inc. (NASDAQ: ACCL) for US$50m in December 2013.
Orla graduated from UCC with a degree in Economics and Computer Science (2000) and subsequently attained a Higher Diploma in Software Engineering (2001). Orla holds a Diploma in Digital Marketing (2010) from the Digital Marketing Institute, is a member of the Institute of Directors (IoD) and holds an IoD Diploma in Company Direction (2015).

DC Cahalane, CEO, Republic of Work
DC Cahalane is cofounder and CEO of REPUBLIC OF WORK, Cork’s city centre campus for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. DC previously led growth and marketing at some of Cork’s most successful homegrown companies, including Teamwork.com and Trustev. He sits on the boards of a number of high tech and innovation driven enterprises where he advises on growth engineering and strategy.

Mark Whitaker, CEO, Johnson & Perrott Motor Group
Mark Whitaker was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Johnson & Perrott Motor Group in 2001, having previously held the post of General Manager at the Group’s Fleet Division. Mark studied Law at UCC and qualified as a Chartered Accountant working with the firm EY in 1990. In 2008 he completed the Owner Presidents Management Program (OPM 37) at Harvard Business School.
Mark currently sits on the Board of Cork Chamber of Commerce and on the Advisory Board at the National Maritime College of Ireland. He was previously a member of Governing Body and Chair of the Finance Committee of Cork Institute of Technology together with being a Board member of St Luke’s Home Cork and the UCC Family Business Partnership Board.

Hugh Smiddy, Head of Business Development, Tyndall

Hugh Smiddy is the Head of Business Development at Tyndall National Institute with more than 25 years of international experience in the development and commercialisation of technology with world-leading technology companies. My role in Tyndall focusses on building relationships with our key industry partners and ensuring we are delivering research excellence with economic impact. Hugh holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from TU Dublin and an MBA from Warwick Business School. He is a board member of Cork Chamber.