Minister Arlene Foster, Department of Finance & Personnel
Arlene Foster is MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone which is a rural constituency in the most westerly part of the United Kingdom. She was first elected in November 2003, re-elected in March 2007 and again in May 2011.
Arlene Foster MLA has held the following positions within the Northern Ireland Executive:- Minister of Finance and Personnel from 11May 2015 to date Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment from 16 May 2011 until 11 May 2015 having previously held the same portfolio from 10 June 2008 until 5 May 2011. Minister of the Environment from 8 May 2007 to 10 June 2008.
By profession she is a lawyer and was in private practice as a Solicitor from 1996 until she became a Minister. She is married with three children.
Minister Mark H Durkan, Department of Environment
Mark H Durkan was appointed Minister for the Environment in July 2013, replacing his SDLP colleague Alex Attwood. He was elected as MLA for Foyle in 2011 and served as the party’s social development and health spokesperson.
Prior to becoming an Assembly member, Mark was on Derry City Council representing the Northland district from 2005-2011. During this period he chaired the Council’s Planning Committee, Policy and Resources Committee and the Environmental Services Committee. He was a key driver in bringing forward drinking bye-laws in Derry City centre, making the streets safer and cleaner.
Before committing to public life full-time, Mark worked in an accountancy firm. He is married to Anne and has a son, Luke and a daughter Lily. Mark is a keen runner and a follower of GAA and soccer, particularly Everton FC.
Richard Caldwell, Head of Finance Centres, Danske Bank
Richard Caldwell is Head of Finance Centres in Danske Bank in Northern Ireland. He is responsible for leading the bank's team of Business Managers, located in 6 Danske Finance Centres across the province, to deliver income growth and customer satisfaction for the bank's 7,000 medium sized SME business customers.
Richard has extensive banking experience gained from a range of senior roles across the bank. Recent roles have included Head of Private Banking and Regional Head of Personal Banking, but Richard has spent most of his 20 years working with the bank in Business Banking. His roles have included Support Manager, Business Manager, Regional Agribusiness Manager and Head of Belfast Finance Centre.
From a farm outside Ballyclare, Richard studied Agriculture at Queens University prior to joining the Department of Agriculture, from where he changed career to banking with Northern Bank.
Gerry Kindlon, President, Londonderry Chamber
Gerry is the President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce. He is the Executive Director of Product Performance and Program Management for Seagate's Recording Head Division. Founded in 1979, Seagate is the industry leader in hard disc drives and storage solutions and employs more than 50,000 people around the world. He has worked with Seagate since 1993 having held previous positions with United Technologies, Analog Devices and Abbott Laboratories.
Gerry has played a leading role in the 'Digital Derry' initiative and is now a board member of CultureTECH.
Gerry is also a member of Derry~Londonderry Strategy Board and he is a Governor of Lumen Christi College.
Professor Paddy Nixon, Vice Chancellor, Ulster University
Professor Paddy Nixon joined Ulster University as Vice Chancellor on 01 July 2015.
He was Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) – responsible for driving the research agenda, through both existing and newly formed research institutes. He has extensive industry and commercial experience, particularly in collaborations with global high tech firms.
He was previously Science Foundation Ireland Research Professor in Distributed Systems at University College Dublin (UCD), where he was Vice Principal (Deputy Dean) of the Faculty of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences. From 2007 – 2010 he was Academic Director of INTEL’s Independent Living and Digital Health, leading a team of 150 clinicians, researchers and engineers.
Professor Nixon (47) is originally from Liverpool. He holds a B.Sc. (Hons) in Computer Science, an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering. In addition to his time at UCD he has held academic positions at the University of Strathclyde, Trinity College Dublin and at Manchester Metropolitan University. His significant industrial and commercial experience includes collaborations with INTEL, Microsoft Research, HP, Oracle and IBM.
John Kelpie, CE, Derry City & Strabane District Council
John is the Chief Executive of the new Derry City and Strabane District Council and is currently building and shaping the new organisation to assume full powers and responsibilities from April 2015.
Serving on Derry City Council’s Senior Management team since 2004, initially as City Engineer and from 2009 as Strategic Director, John led on many corporate priorities and transformational service delivery initiatives across Infrastructure, Investment & City Regeneration, Waste & the Environment, Property & Energy and Building Control & Environmental.
John graduated from Queen’s University of Belfast in 1988 with a 1st Class Masters Degree in Civil Engineering and subsequently qualified as a Chartered Member of the Institution of Structural Engineers and a Member of Engineers Ireland.
Prior to working in Local Government, John was an Associate in a leading engineering Design Practice with over 15 years’ experience in the design and project management of large-scale commercial developments across the UK and Ireland.
John served on the Board of Groundwork NI for over 10 years, was Vice-Chair of the Derry-Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013 Company and is currently a Member of the City’s Strategy Board leading and delivering on the social, economic and physical transformation of the City and Region.
Angela McGowan, Chief Economist, Danske Bank (2008 – 2016)
Angela joined what was then Northern Bank in 2008 from the Economic Research Institute of Northern Ireland (ERINI) where she worked as a Senior Economist. She has 20 years’ experience in the economics field, having begun her economics career as a Research Associate in the Economics Department at Queen’s University. She also previously worked in the former Northern Ireland Economic Council as a Senior Economist and the Economic Research Institute for NI.
In her capacity as Danske Bank Chief Economist at the time of this event Angela provided analysis, commentary and insights on Northern Irish, UK and global economic trends, in particular those elements of economic performance which impacted the Bank's personal and business portfolios. Angela also provided commentary on issues impacting the local economy in regional and national media and reported on local economic statistics and trends to colleagues in the Danske Bank Group.