Invest NI board appointments

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Mr Dominic Darby

Dominic has over 20 years of experience in food retailing and manufacturing both in GB and NI. His previous roles include Head of Food Technology and Head of Innovation at Marks and Spencer in London and at Finnebrogue in Northern Ireland. He has a BSc in Food Science, MSc in Agri Food Business Development and is a Fellow of the Institute of Food Science and Technology. In his current role as owner of Bread & Butter Consulting, Dominic works with a range of SME and FMCG food business across NI, ROI and GB markets to support them in developing innovation and business growth strategies. He has 12 years of experience as an Education Authority appointed Board of Governor for Brefne Nursery School.

He holds no other public appointments.

Ciaran Mulgrew

For the past 25 years, Ciaran has been Managing Director and owner operator of Niche Drinks Co. Ltd., an alcoholic drinks manufacturer and marketeer based on Derry’s Waterside. He led a management buyout of St. Brendan’s Irish Cream Liqueur Co. Ltd from Kerry Group plc in 2006 to create Niche and in 2021 completed the sale of the business to MGP Luxco, a U.S. based plc.

Ciaran previously served as a non-executive director of Londonderry Port and Harbour Commission, Altnagelvin Hospital Trust and the Western Health and Social Care Trust. He was educated at Queens University Belfast and has a Master’s degree in Business Leadership from Napier University Edinburgh.

He holds no other public appointments.

Dawn McLaughlin

Dawn is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland having trained and qualified with PwC. In 2005 she established Dawn McLaughlin & Co, a practice located in the North West City Region. For the past 37 years Dawn has specialised in advising start-up companies and small to medium size enterprises throughout the UK and Ireland.

She is a past President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the Institute of Management - North West Ulster Branch and member of the Regional Board for Northern Ireland. She was also on the Member Services Committee of the Ulster Society of Chartered Accountants Ireland as the North West representative and a member of the Board of the local Leadership Team of Business in the Community.

Dawn was a member of the steering group established by the Ulster Society of Chartered Accountants which produced the report Financing for Growth, examining the financial structures and products available for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Northern Ireland.

She was founder member of the Support My Business NI Initiative providing mentoring and workshops on a pro bono basis to Northern Ireland businesses and was awarded the Derry City Council 2014 Woman of the Year Award for her contribution to Enterprise.

Dawn is a Trustee on the Board of Governors of St John’s Primary School in Derry having previously served for twelve years as the Department of Education NI representative.

She holds no other public appointments.

Patrick O’Gorman

Patrick has 20 years of experience in real estate development and investment, working with institutional and private investors from many different countries across the world.  Having started his career in Northern Ireland and then London, Patrick qualified as a Chartered Surveyor in 2005.  He then relocated to Warsaw, Poland to become the Head of Capital Markets at CBRE for Central & Eastern Europe.

Since 2013, Patrick has been an owner of Bywater Properties investing and developing in real estate projects across the UK.

Bywater has completed a number of low carbon redevelopments as well as currently building the UK’s largest mass timber, carbon neutral office building located in London.

He holds no other public appointments.

Julie-Ann O’Hare

Julie-Ann has worked for 28 years in the Northern Ireland corporate banking sector.

Her career at Bank of Ireland spanned a period of strong economic growth as well as one of significant downturn in the economy during the global financial crisis.

She developed expertise in business modelling, commercial due diligence, scenario planning, stress testing and strategic investment analysis.

In 2017, Julie-Ann moved to private industry working with the UK and Ireland’s largest diagnostic company, Randox Laboratories Limited.

During the past 5 years she has further developed her experience across commercial, legal, financial and healthcare disciplines, extending her experience to international markets.

A law graduate from Queen’s University Belfast, Julie-Ann holds a diploma in Accounting & Finance from Ulster University and the Certified Director Designation from the Institute of Banking and University College Dublin.

She holds no other public appointments.

Scott Ritchie

Scott has extensive experience in Business Start Up and high growth Scale Up companies having worked in several executive positions in the Global Telecoms & IT sectors.

Founder of BSO Network Solutions in London during the credit crunch of 2008 specialising in low latency trading infrastructure and helped to develop High Frequency Trading Platforms for a number of Banks trading global capital & commodities markets. He continues to have an interest and investments in the burgeoning FinTech sector. Having returned to Northern Ireland after 20 years working overseas, Scott invested in the local Telecoms market to develop a UK wide Telecoms company which he exited in 2018.

Scott continues to work as an investor, advisor, and mentor to a variety of companies in Northern Ireland. He continues as an executive Director of 2 companies and is also a keen support of the charity Co-Operation Ireland with which he has a long history.

He holds no other public appointments.

Melanie Dawson

Melanie Dawson began her career in construction in 2004, later choosing to specialise in BIM (building information modelling), digital construction and transformation for the last 10 years. 

Melanie worked for a number of leading construction and consulting firms operating across Norther Ireland, UK and Ireland before choosing to establish her own digital construction consultancy business in August 2020, Origin7 Ltd. Melanie is a Fellow of the Institute of Civil Engineers. Melanie works with the Strategic Investment Board for Northern Ireland as an associate advisor (remunerated £336 per day) and is a non-executive board member of BuildData Group who provide construction software and consulting.

She has a passion for digital transformation and improving productivity in construction through standardisation and applying a data driven approach.

She holds no other public appointments.

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