Coaches on Campus

IGNITE’s “Coaches on Campus” provide an informal entrepreneurial support network for participants of the programme. They are available to provide guidance/advice to those who may wish to discuss aspects of their business idea on an informal basis.

IGNITES’s “Coaches on Campus” have significant entrepreneurial or leadership experience. Collectively, they represent a broad range of disciplines as seen below;

 ‌John McCarthy

John is currently undertaking a part-time research based masters, in the Department of Government at UCC, on the topic of banking regulation. He is a Chartered Accountant by profession and is an advisor to a number of businesses.

He has worked with start ups over a long period and is certain that they will be a critical component in the recovery of the Irish economy. He believes a focused approach that matches experience with good ideas will help to build robust investment grade companies.

John specialised in corporate finance and business assessment and worked for many years with SWS Services and with Ernst & Young, Cork.


‌Owen O’Brien

At 57 years of age, Owen O’Brien has had a successful entrepreneurial career. Starting from home in the early 1980’s, he set up an import/distribution business in the plumbing and heating sector, acquiring unique agencies and selling and distributing to the retail sector.

This business was sold to a multinational company in 2007. He also started and ran a distribution business in London from 1999 to 2007. Owen also got involved in the commercial property sector, making a timely exit in 2006/7.


‌Colman Casey

Administrative Director for Research and Industrial Liaison, College of Medicine and Health, University College Cork. President, PDA Ireland Chapter, Member of editorial advisory board of Journal of Pharmaceutical Innovation.

Seven years as General Manager of an FDA/EMEA regulated Multinational Biotech Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company with over 900 employees Management of almost $200 million of capital investment projects covering additional capacity and associated infrastructure and GMP upgrades.

Ten years of line management in a Pharmaceutical manufacturing environment. Seven years experience in enzyme production for the food industry Served on the boards of ISPE, American Chamber of Commerce, National Food Biotechnology Centre and Cork University Foundation.

Granted a Distinguished Alumnus Award by University College Cork in 2003


‌Joe Kerry

Dr Joe Kerry is head of the food packaging research group in the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences at University College Cork (UCC).  He is a member of the Institute of Packaging and is very involved in national and international research projects both at fundamental and applied levels.

Primary research interests address various aspects of food packaging, shelf-life stability, food composition and numerous aspects of food quality, particularly in relation to muscle foods.

He also has very strong links with industry and his research team assists companies in relation to many aspects of new food product development.  He has over 110 publications in peer-reviewed international journals, over 200 presentations at major international conferences, along with several other significant publications.

His expertise includes use and manipulation of modified atmospere packaging systems for use with foods, use of extrusion technology for the manufacture of food products/packaging materials, applications and sensor/new technology developments within the area of food packaging.


‌Pat O’Connell

A graduate of the former Dairy Science Faculty (now School of Food & Nutritional Sciences), he obtained his B.Sc (Dairying) in 1969. From then until 1975 he worked in the meat and milk processing industries in Production and Quality Assurance Management positions.

From 1976 to 1980 he worked in the pharmaceutical industry as Manufacturing Manager. In 1980 he joined the National Board for Science and Technology as Sector Manager for Food and Agribusiness, where policy documents on Science & Technology for both sectors were produced, accepted and implemented.

In 1985 he returned to the Dairy Foods processing industry, working in the Technical and New Product Development areas at the former Borden Foods, Columbus, Ohio., and Mallow Co Cork. In 1998 he joined the Faculty of Food Science and Technology at UCC as Work Placement Officer, a position he still holds. In 1999 he obtained his Diploma from UCC in Health, Safety and Welfare at Work.

He is a Fellow member of the Institute of Food Science & Technology of Ireland (IFSTI) and Chairperson of the Society of Dairy Technology (South of Ireland Branch).


‌Barry O’Sullivan

Science Foundation Ireland, Principal Investigator; Associate Director, Cork Constraint Computation Centre (4C); Senior Lecturer, Department of Computer Science, University College Cork, Ireland.

Dr Barry O’Sullivan’s main area of research interest is intelligent software systems, artificial intelligence, optimisation and applications to real world problems. He is also interested in theoretical computer science, in particular parameterised complexity and its applications.

While, most of his work is in the area of constraint programming, he also like to combine techniques from the field of machine learning and formal methods with constraint and satisfiability solving techniques.

Specific application domains he is interested in include: cancer care, health, environmental sustainability, computer/network security, configuration, design, telecommunications, combinatorial auctions and electronic commerce.


‌David Murphy

David Murphy's research interests are in the areas of Interactive 3D Simulation, Serious Games, Cognitive Ergonomics, and Spatia Sound. In 2005 he setup the Interactive Multimedia Lab (IMCLab) in conjunction with colleagues from the Department of Surgery, UCC.

This was the culmination several years of working with individualsin the College of Medicine and Health on medical informatics projects. This interdisciplinary applied research has culminated in many research activities and has further strengthened the relationship between Computer Science and the College of Medicine & Health.

Specific application domains he is interested in include: cancer care, health, environmental sustainability, computer/network security, configuration, design, telecommunications, combinatorial auctions and electronic commerce.


‌Virginia Teehan

Virginia Teehan worked at University College, Cork where she developed the first Irish institutional university archives service. In 1999 she became Director of Heritage and Visual Arts and was charged with driving the curatorial brief for the Glucksman Gallery, a €13million (privately funded) project, initiated 1999 completed 2004. In 2003 she joined the Hunt Museum as Director until 2009. At the Hunt Museum, she was responsible for the direction and management of the organization.

In 2003 she initiated a strategic business plan securing the sustainability of the Museum. When she completed her term as Director, the accumulated deficit (€580,000) had been cleared; the Museum recorded a surplus in its operations for the financial years 2008 and 2009 and she personally raised in excess of €2million. The Museum also raised its national profile and recorded a year on year increase in visitor numbers.

In late 2009 Virginia re-joined UCC as Director of Cultural Projects and Humanities Research Support. In this role, she provides support to the University in developing and realising its potential in the cultural arena at national and international level.


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