Chamber News

04Toys 4 0 Engineers

“A vibrant expanding region” is how Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon described the South East as she opened the 2018 Toys4Engineers Conference & Expo, which was attended by over 1,500 engineering enthusiasts throughout the day.

Organised by Waterford Chamber and Waterford Institute of Technology, the event brought over 70 companies from across the country to WIT Arena for the national conference and expo.

Speaking to in excess of 200 conference delegates Ms Sinnamon outlined how there was a 17% growth in employment amongst Enterprise Ireland client companies in the South East over last three years, showcasing the strength of industry within the region.

This was further highlighted by Waterford Chamber President Kathryn Kiely, who said the fact that the number of exhibitors at Toys4Engineers had increased by 50% from the previous year, showed a renewed confidence and determination by companies to showcase their innovations and talent.

“Networking, collaboration and sharing of knowledge is central to what Waterford Chamber is about. Toys4Engineers provides considerable opportunities for B2B networking, enabling companies to meet prospective customers, suppliers, collaborators or future employees.

“Also through the panel of expert speakers and exposure to the applications of innovation and technology across a wide spectrum of industry sectors, Toys4Engineers provides attendees with the opportunity to learn from others.”

That learning came from speakers Paul Brennan, BAM Ireland who addressed the delegates on one of BAM’s current projects, The Museum of the Future in Dubai, while Paddy Phelan, 3CEA spoke on renewables, electric vehicles and energy storage.

Cristian Olariu representing IBM gave an overview on cloud support for engineers, while Padraig McGarry offered an insight into Factory 4 Cobotics at Abbott Longford.

The conference concluded with a panel discussion, hosted by MC Laurent Borla of Senantra Ltd. Once the conference concluded, the doors were opened to the public to come and view the incredible ‘toys’ and technology on show – including live demonstrations of drones, VR headsets, robots, an exo-skeleton and 3D printers, while the event was also broadcast live on WLR with Geoff Harris.

According to Dr Ken Thomas, Head of School of Engineering at WIT, Toys4Engineers confirms that Waterford and the wider region is increasingly a centre of excellence in terms of engineering, innovation and technology. He was hugely encouraged by the large attendance keen to consider a career within these sectors.

“It is great to see so many young people finding out more about the high-tech toys being developed and used by engineers to make a better world. We are all aware of the skills shortages and terrific job opportunities, so it is really encouraging to see the next generation having a high level of interest. Our Jobs Board here today shows just how many good quality lives roles there are available right now and with a fantastic quality of life also on offer, Waterford and the South-East is a great choice for advancing your career and getting that perfect work life balance.”

Main sponsor for the event was Clem Jacob Hire, whose exhibition space proved extremely popular, as he presented hand-crafted wooden models of his machinery, which were created by artist and joiner John Murphy. 

“I have been to each of the engineering shows in the past and I have always enjoyed them. Having a stand at it this year was very productive for our business and so enjoyable.”

Toys4Engineers was sponsored by Clem Jacob Hire and supported by the IDA, Enterprise Ireland, Waterford Local Enterprise Office, Waterford Chamber Skillnet, Cobotics Skillnet and Bord Bia.

Paul Nolan European Parliament

Entrepreneurs gathered in the European Parliament in Brussels on 10th October 2018 for the fifth edition of the European Parliament of Enterprises, the largest exercise at European level in economic democracy.

Twelve entrepreneurs, representing Chambers across Ireland formed part of the Irish delegation. Paul Nolan, Group Development Manager, Dawn Meats represented Waterford Chamber. Mr Nolan said he was delighted to be given the opportunity through Chambers to address Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström in the European Parliament regarding concerns of Irish beef farmers and processors about the amount and form of access that she is considering under the Mercosur trade deal for South American beef into the EU.

Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot, welcomed the strong Irish participation in the event and said, “With European elections due to take place next year, the objective of the Parliament of Enterprises is to enhance understanding between decision-makers and the real economy. Our delegation had the opportunity to address key EU figures, including Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström and Chief Brexit Negotiator, Michel Barnier, where we highlighted not only the priorities of Irish entrepreneurs but also how European policy can be made more business-friendly.”

Click the link below to view Paul's speech (skip to timestamp 13:56):

Simon Coveney

The Waterford Chamber Annual Dinner will take place at the Tower Hotel on Friday, November 9th. The 2018 Annual Dinner will celebrate the opportunities that exists for business in a global economy.

The Annual Dinner, sponsored by Waterford Chamber Skillnet, is the highlight of Waterford’s business calendar and promises again to be an excellent social event with a great opportunity for networking and client hospitality. The evening will begin at 7:30pm with a drinks reception sponsored by McDonald Dwyer Reddy & Byrne Insurances, followed by speeches and dinner.

As Waterford continues to make its mark on the global stage, with recent investments exceeding €200 million by companies like West Pharma, Eurofins and Eirgen Pharma, Waterford Chamber President Kathryn Kiely is delighted to announce not one, but two influential speakers for the business dinner.

“Waterford is on the cusp on something great right now and no matter the size of your business, we must all be aware that we are now operating in a global environment. Who more fitting to address this than our speakers, Mr. Frank Ryan, Chairman of IDA Ireland and An Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney TD. By coming to Waterford to address the business community, both are showing their ongoing commitment to the region and it will be insightful to hear their thoughts on the developing international markets and how Ireland Inc can play its part in that.”

Speaking on behalf of sponsors Waterford Chamber Skillnet, Sara Mullally, Network Manager said, “Supporting local and thinking global is to the core of what we do at Waterford Chamber Skillnet. To that end, we are continually working with our members and stakeholders to make a substantial contribution to the future skills agenda and the competitiveness of Irish firms. The knowledge and skills that exist in our region is a key attraction for foreign direct investment and maintaining best practice and industry standards, along with developing a highly skilled talent pool, will ensure a stronger economy within the South East region.”

Group tickets and individual tickets are available from Waterford Chamber at a cost of €100 inc. VAT. For more information contact Lynda Lawton on 051 311130, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or see here to book online.

RLP 2018 launch“Collaboration is key”, was the message from Waterford City & County Council Chief Executive Michael Walsh as he spoke at the launch of the Waterford Chamber Regional Leaders Programme in the Majestic Hotel.

“Programmes like this are so important to developing businesses and more importantly, ourselves. As mentors we get just as much from the programme as the participants and it is that shared experience and collaboration which makes me so supportive of initiatives like this. If you combine the wisdom and experience that is in this room between the whole set of mentors and mentees, there are very few problems that couldn’t be solved,” he said.

Supported by Bausch + Lomb, Waterford Chamber Skillnet and Waterford institute of Technology, the programme is designed to develop business leaders for the future through mentorship and skills sharing and is aimed at professionals who want to develop their leadership skills or for companies who would like to increase the capacity of their internal talent pool to ensure the next generation of their company is in safe hands.

Waterford Chamber President Kathryn Kiely spoke about the importance of the shared learning experience and the importance of recognising Leadership Excellence in business.

“From Waterford Chamber’s perspective the Regional Leaders Programme is one of its flagship programme offerings to support its members and businesses in the region. Developing the next generation of leaders is recognised as one of the top five challenges that businesses face. Slowly organisations are beginning to recognise and value that leadership excellence can be as critical to success as product excellence.

“The value and benefit to the individual of experiential learning and shared learning are two of the key guiding principles which have shaped the development of this programme.”

Recognising the importance of the Regional Leaders Programme and its value to the business community, Waterford Chamber Skillnet have funded the programme by 50%.

Sara Mullally, Network Manager says: “The expertise in this room is extraordinary, people are willing to give their time and are eager to learn. Really powerful things can come from that. Your participation in this programme and in our networks is the lifeblood of Waterford Chamber and Waterford Chamber Skillnet. We are now already focused on 2019 and listening to your needs for training support and welcome any submissions or suggestions in this regard. Ultimately we are here to support the needs of the business community and this is a prime example of what emerges when ideas are shared and collaboration happens.”

The programme kicks off with a group mentoring session with international coach and Tramore native Dee Hutchinson on Wednesday, October 3rd, followed by monthly group sessions, one to one mentoring sessions and three inspiring speaker lunches with Dr Norah Patten of the International Space University, Conor McCarthy of Dublin Aerospace and Michael Doherty, Woodbrook Group.

For more information on the Regional Leaders Programme, please contact Lynda Lawton at Waterford Chamber on 051 311130.

04Toys 4 0 Engineers

As the countdown begins for Toys4.0Engineers Conference & Expo at WIT Arena on Thursday, October 11th, Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie says there are many positive developments underway across the South East Region, particularly in the areas of engineering, pharma, medtech and renewables.

“There is a broad base of internationally trading companies in the region. Every day, through our international offices, we see how innovation is key to competing and winning in global markets, so the greatest opportunities will come to those companies with a focus on innovation and operating at the at the top of their competitive-game.”

It is that innovation which will be at the heart of the Toys4.0Engineers Conference & Expo, organised by Waterford Chamber, in association with Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), where Ms Sinnamon will make the opening address.

She will be joined on stage for the conference element of the event by Tadhg Lucey, Director of BAM Ireland; Paddy Phelan, 3CEA; Christian Olariu, IBM and Padraig McGarry, Abbott Diagnotics, all of whom will discuss their latest projects and innovations.

Following the conference, the Expo will get underway with over 70 companies from all over Ireland showcasing their products, services and latest technologies. Whether it’s an UMI robot, Exoskelton, Electric Cars, Drones, 3D Printing, AR or VR that whets your fancy, Toys4Engineers has it covered. There will also be live demonstrations by companies throughout the afternoon and WLR’s Geoff Harris will be broadcasting live.

Speaking ahead of the event, Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley said: ““Following on from recent discussions with companies in the South East who have increasing high-tech Engineering Recruitment and Skills requirements, we are opening the doors for free to the public from 11am. Therefore, anybody looking to pursue a career in Engineering or perhaps move from their current role outside the SE region, are encouraged to come along and meet with the various HR Departments. We are delighted to have the support of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Waterford Chamber Skillnet, Cobotics Skillnet, Waterford Local Enterprise Office, SIMI and South East Action Plan for Jobs, all of whom have identified the skills shortage within the region and collectively we are working to get the message out there that Waterford and the wider region is a great place to work and live.”

Meanwhile, Dr Ken Thomas, Head of School of Engineering at WIT said: “‘Industry 4.0’ is driving the Technology, Innovation, Recruitment and Upskilling agendas of companies in all sectors of the economy.  Engineers need to develop and use new ‘toys’ to address the many competitive challenges. In addition to upskilling the existing engineering talent in the South-East, we also the need to grow the pool of degree and postgraduate qualified Engineers in all disciplines for the region.”

Toys4Engineers will showcase the very latest in those areas and is sure to provide plenty learning and networking opportunities to all experienced and aspiring engineers out there.”

The morning conference, costing just €50 with students free, begins with registration at 8.30am, while the exhibition runs from 11am to 4pm, and the public are also welcome.

For more information see or contact Lynda Lawton in Waterford Chamber on 051 311130.

Responding to the announcement by Minister for Health Simon Harris that a second permanent cath lab is to be provided on the grounds of University Hospital Waterford, Gerald Hurley, CEO of Waterford Chamber said: “We welcome the decision by Government to provide a second Cath Lab for UHW and welcome the fact that the process to design and construct the new lab is to start immediately, with the recruitment of staff due to take place during construction.

“However, it is still a long way from providing 24/7 Cardiac Care for the South East Region. The time line of 12 to 16 months still leaves a considerable amount of time where we are faced with life and death situations on a daily basis. We are also concerned that no decision or service budget plan has been included in the announcement that would provide a much-needed interventional service.

“As the Capital of the South East, Waterford needs to have the proper health care facilities to cater for the 500,000+ catchment area, so while this is one small step forward, there is certainly a long road still to travel to secure what is required. We will continue to work on behalf of our members and the business community in Waterford to ensure 24/7 Cardiac Care remains firmly on the agenda, irrespective of the latest announcement.”

Waterford business leaders gathered at City Hall this week for a ‘National Conversation’ hosted by Waterford Chamber and Dublin Chamber.

Led by Dublin Chamber President Anne O’Leary, who is also CEO of Vodafone Ireland, the event took the form of brief presentations, followed by workshop discussions on Technology and Education and the importance of them to the local, regional and national agenda.

Opening the event, Waterford Chamber President Kathryn Kiely said: “Through the National Planning Framework, Waterford has been designated as the Capital of the South East and let me be clear – we are ready to play our part as the fifth largest city, in leading the region and achieving its full potential. We are eager to play our part on the national stage – in partnership with the other cities, Cork, Limerick, Galway and of course Dublin.”

Anne O’Leary has led this discussion with the other regional cities and was keen to point out “Dublin isn’t just for Dubliners”. She went on to ask what do we expect from Dublin and what would we like it to be? “I believe we need to be much more joined up in our thinking”, she said. “We need to understand we’re not competing, we need to be collaborating, co-operating and supporting and from a Chamber perspective, I know that together the Chambers are better.”

Meanwhile Dublin Chamber CEO Mary Rose Burke presented the findings from their Great Dublin Survey, indicating that based on international trends, the capital is certain to grow and to achieve that and manage it effectively, a well planned capital city we can all be proud of is crucial.

Interestingly, based on the criteria for a great city, according to Mercer, among the list are a high quality of life, easy to get around, family friendly, sustainability and affordable accommodation – all attributes Waterford has in abundance.

Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley concluded the event by saying: “It is heartening that we now have a strong dialogue going on between the four regional cities and the capital, particularly in light of Ireland 2040. There is certainly plenty of work to do and we look forward to playing a crucial role in that.”

RLP Speakers

Waterford Chamber is delighted to announce its sister company Waterford Chamber Skillnet has recognised the Regional Leaders Programme as an official training programme under the Skillnet Ireland brand.

Speaking about the programme, Waterford Chamber Skillnet Network Manager Sara Mullally said: “This programme fits in perfectly with the Skillnet ethos of supporting people in business through training and development. To celebrate the partnership, we are this year in a position to fund the participant cost by 50%, reducing the cost from €350 for Chamber members, to €175, which makes it affordable and accessible to all, whether you are a large employer with a number of managers looking to get involved, or a start-up in need of additional support.”

Responding to the need to develop a pipeline of future leaders in the South East region, Waterford Chamber, with the support of Waterford Chamber Skillnet and Bausch + Lomb, designed the Regional Leaders Programme to develop business leaders for the future through mentorship and skills sharing. Waterford Institute of Technology have also come on board to support the 2018/19 programme, which is aimed at professionals who want to develop their leadership skills or for companies who would like to increase the capacity of their internal talent pool to ensure the next generation of their company is in safe hands.

Speaking about the Skillnet funding, Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley said: “It is fantastic that Waterford Chamber Skillnet are in a position to offer 50% funding this year. Supporting business growth is to the core of what we do at Waterford Chamber and as an additional support to start-ups in the first three years of business, we will also include free Chamber membership for a year. Throughout the nine months, participants will have access to a host of successful mentors on a one to one basis, as well as monthly group mentoring sessions. In addition, we have three hugely inspiring speakers lined up for our networking lunches, Dr Norah Patten of the International Space University; Founder of Dublin Aerospace Conor McCarthy and Waterford businessman Michael Doherty, who is CEO of Woodbrook Group.

“By getting involved with the Regional Leaders Programme, you are in effect joining the largest networking body in the region right now, expanding your connections and learning from each other. Based on the feedback we received after year one, we have enhanced the offering this year and are delighted with the significant take up already.”

To find out more about the Regional Leaders Programme call Kelly Cummins on 051 872639.

3 speaker pic

Waterford Chamber has confirmed three inspiring speakers for their Regional Leaders Programme, which begins in September.

Dr Norah Patten of the International Space University; Founder of Dublin Aerospace Conor McCarthy and Waterford businessman Michael Doherty, who is CEO of Woodbrook Group, will all address participants during the nine month programme.

Dr Patten became Ireland’s first scientist-astronaut candidate with Project PoSSUM (Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere) in 2017 and is the founder of Planet Zebunar which develops products to inspire the next generation of engineers, astronauts, scientists and innovators. She holds a PhD in Aeronautical Engineering and a 1.1. bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Limerick. Norah has worked as a lecturer at the University of Limerick and spent three years at the Irish Centre for Composites as the Communications and Outreach Manager.

Conor McCarthy is no stranger to the Regional Leaders Programme, having been a mentor in the inaugural programme. Conor’s impressive 39-year career in Commercial Aviation includes CEO of Aer Lingus Commuter at 28 years of age, Director of Group Operations at Ryanair, Director and Co-founder of AirAsia – Asia’s largest Low Cost Airline), Director of Pegasus Airlines, MD of PlaneConsult and Executive Chairman of Dublin Aerospace.

Conor has extensive knowledge and experience with Commercial start-ups to established businesses worldwide. Dublin Aerospace started from the ashes of SR Technics in 2009 which today is a €50million, 400+employee business. Recently, Conor was appointed non-executive chairman on the board to Stobart Air, which operates across 43 routes throughout 11 European countries.

Waterford businessman Michael Doherty has led the Woodbrook Group through a period of significant international expansion since the 45-year-old set up the financial advisory company five years ago. The rapidly-growing company is looking at potential takeovers in South America and the Middle East and is currently in talks with a view to making a public offering on the NASDAQ Stock Market in the United States. Michael is also CEO of Mutual Trust, whose clientele includes high net-worth individuals, local and international companies and government agencies, and Robusto Asset Management.

Michael set up his own mobile phone company when he was just 17, which he sold on a few years later before going on to establish the Waterford-based logistics company Osprey with his father Andy and brother Richard. Last month the Cheekpoint native was recognised as one of the ‘100 Most Influential People in the Global Financial Services Sector’ by the respected International Advisor publication.

Joining the three speakers are a host of well-known business leaders who will act as mentors throughout the programme, offering one to one mentoring sessions and group mentoring sessions.

Speaking about the programme, Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley said: “We are delighted to have secured such high profile speakers for our second Regional Leaders Programme. The life-experience and knowledge they have amassed throughout their careers will no doubt inspire and motivate our programme participants, who are all potential leaders themselves. That coupled with the experience and understanding our mentors offer, participants will gain the confidence to reach their own potential and become leaders in their chosen field. We are very grateful to have the support of Bausch + Lomb, Waterford Chamber Skillnet and new partners Waterford Institute of Technology, all of whom are important advocates for learning and development. We would encourage anyone in business, or heads of business who have identified potential leaders within their organisation, to give serious consideration to taking part and ensuring the future of their business.”

To find out more about the Regional Leaders Programme or to book a place, please see or call 051 872639.

Chambers Ireland today (12th July 2018) launched its Pre Budget 2019 Submission, recommending that Government use Budget 2019 as an opportunity to think strategically about how we can future-proof our economy and make the best use of today’s prosperity in preparing for the threats facing Ireland on an international stage.

Speaking at the Chamber Chief Executives’ Forum in Athlone, where Chamber Chief Executives from all over the country have gathered, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said, “Budget 2019 will be the first since the finalisation of Project Ireland 2040, but it will also be the last before the UK’s departure from the European Union. This is representative of the wider position in which we currently stand; with great opportunity for growth on the one hand, and significant external threats on the other.

“The message from consulting with our Chamber Network was clear: delivery of the National Development Plan is a priority for business. Government now needs to ensure that the infrastructure commitments made in the National Development Plan are delivered upon. The Rainy Day Fund should act an equalisation fund to ensure that we can continue to invest in infrastructure in any future economic downturn.

Chambers Pre Budget Submission 2019“Our Pre Budget Submission recommends a range of measures which aim to make Ireland a better place in which to do business and bolster our economy for sustainable growth well into the future. Supporting entrepreneurs through the Brexit period, enabling indigenous businesses to grow and continuing to improve upon Ireland’s overall competitiveness should be the focus of Government in Budget 2019. Chambers Ireland’s submission recommends measures which will promote a sustainable future through investment in infrastructure; supporting our workforce through fair taxation and affordable childcare; encouraging entrepreneurship though tax equity for the self-employed and improving upon employee share options for SMEs; and battling Brexit through trade supports and maintaining the 9% VAT rate for the tourism industry.

“Ireland’s competitiveness is increasingly under threat from the high cost of doing business and general high cost of living in Ireland. Government must focus on addressing the issues contributing to these high costs, from childcare to housing and beyond.

“It is imperative that we use Budget 2019 to plan for the future with equal measures of optimism and caution. We stand in a strong economic position today. Strategic planning and spending should lead us on a sustainable path, ready to seize future opportunities and weather any threats.”


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