Belfast Metropolitan College
Bill Montgomery has 34 years’ experience in economic development working for the Industrial Development Board and Invest Northern Ireland. An engineering graduate of Queen’s University Belfast he also later attained an MBA in International Business & Industrial Development from the University of Ulster. Bill had a variety of roles in economic development, including leading the sales and marketing teams in North America for 11 years promoting Northern Ireland as an investment location to many major US corporations. Director roles in Northern Ireland have included leading the International Investment Division, negotiating and securing high value foreign direct investment (FDI) projects, promoting thousands of new skilled jobs, and more recently encouraging export growth and innovation within the advanced manufacturing sectors.
Bill was appointed to the board of the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) in May 2022 with a time commitment requiring approximately 20 days per annum remunerated at £412 per diem.
Southern Regional College
Stuart Harper has been a qualified solicitor for 18 years, having qualified in 2005. He has extensive experience working in the legal sector, both in private practice and in- house roles.
Stuart currently works as a lecturer at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies, Queen’s University Belfast where he teaches trainee solicitors and barristers.
Stuart has a passion for work in the charity sector and is an Education Authority-appointed board member (non-remunerated) of a local school as well as a trustee of a local charity. He previously served on the board of Filor Housing Association (non-remunerated) from 2010 to 2014, where he sat as a member of the audit and risk committee.
Stuart has an LLB, a Certificate in Professional Legal Studies and a Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Teaching from Queen’s University in Belfast.
He does not currently hold any other public appointments.
Nick Harkness has many years’ experience at director level in the public sector in NI.
Initially trained as a teacher, Nick’s early career was within the Youth Service, using outdoor education and residential education as a tool for the personal, social and educational development of young people.
Later Nick led the delivery of national level training and accreditation of adventure sports and leadership courses in NI through his management of Tollymore National Outdoor Centre in Bryansford and his position on the board of the UK Mountain Training Board.
During his 17 years as a director in Sport NI, Nick led the strategic delivery of NI Executive's investments into participation in sport and physical recreation, capital investments in sports facilities, the creation of NI's first Sports Institute, funding for the first 50m pool in NI, the refurbishment of major stadia, National Lottery investment in sport and many other major successes.
As the Director of Community Planning in Antrim and Newtownabbey for three years, Nick led a large team that delivered a range of public services including community planning, capital projects, building services, and arts, culture and heritage. More recently he is employed by the Strategic Investment Board (SIB) and is embedded within Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council with a specific focus on the delivery of major projects as part of the council’s Growth Deal with UK government and the NI Executive.
As well as a Bachelor of Education degree from Bangor University, North Wales, Nick holds a Masters in Business Administration from Ulster University.
Nick has a long history of contributing (non-remunerated) at a board level with positions on the Odyssey Trust, Belfast Charitable Society and the NI Advisory Group for the National Trust. He does not currently hold any other public appointments.
South West College
Maureen Brunt started her career in finance and moved to the voluntary sector where she has worked for over 25 years. Currently working as a business and wellbeing consultant, Maureen brings extensive experience in community development; strategy development; health and wellbeing; and life coaching. As the National Training Award NI individual winner (2010) and winner of the Futures Award Student of the Year 2021, Maureen has demonstrated her commitment to personal development, education and training. Maureen is currently completing a diploma in environment, sustainability and climate through University College, Cork.
Maureen serves as non-executive director with the Drainage Council for NI (unremunerated) and manages her husband’s dairy farm and property interests. As a non-executive director with Probation Board NI (£5,050 pa), Maureen serves on the audit committee. Maureen also serves as a commissioner with Equality Commission NI (£5,000 pa).
Maureen has a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and is a member of British Psychological Society (BPS) as well as being a fellow of the Federation of Holistic Therapists (FFHT), a member of Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Chartered Institute of Bankers, Institute of Bankers (Ireland) and Institute of Directors. Maureen enjoys her role as a local preacher with Methodist Church Ireland.