Judging Panel

Judging Panel 2018-02-21T15:33:31+00:00

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.

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.

Kirsty McManus

National Director, Institute of Directors NI

Kirsty was appointed National Director for the Institute of Directors in Northern Ireland in August 2017.

Formerly assistant regional director at the NI Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Kirsty’s appointment followed a successful career during which she has held senior positions at the Ulster University, NI Chamber and Vistage in California.

Jeremy Fitch

Executive Director, Business & Sector Development Group, Invest Northern Ireland

Invest NI is Northern Ireland’s main economic development agency. Jeremy holds the position of Executive Director, Business & Sector Development Group. The group has has responsibility for the account management of strategic and growth businesses across key sectors including Advance Manufacturing & Engineering, Life Sciences, Food, Tourism, ICT, Professional & Business services and Film & Television.

A first class honours and International MBA graduate from the University of Ulster, Jeremy previously worked for Marks and Spencer plc and KPMG Chartered Accountants. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland.

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.

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

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

Founder & CEO, Crescent Capital 

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.

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.

Alan Taylor

Chairman, Arthur Cox

Alan Taylor is Chairman of 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

John Mulgrew

Editor, Ulster Business

John Mulgrew is editor of Ulster Business, and former Business Correspondent with the Belfast Telegraph. John is an experienced award-winning print, digital and video business journalist, working for daily newspapers, national and regional, including news, politics and current affairs, over the last eight years. He has been responsible for helping shape the business coverage for the Belfast Telegraph, across daily print, breaking news online and the weekly business supplement.

He now oversees the editorial content of Ulster Business, and be responsible for collating news, views, and analysis on companies and individuals from throughout the Northern Ireland business world, and beyond.