Advisory Board

The IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme is guided by an Advisory Board made up of experienced entrepreneurs, business leaders and representatives of City and County Councils, County & City Enterprise Boards and UCC.

‌Dick Lehane - Chairperson

A native of Cork, Dick Lehane was educated at the North Monastery and received a University Scholarship to UCC, graduating with a degree in Electrical Engineering in 1968.

Throughout his career, Dick continued to upgrade his own business skills, obtaining an MBA from NUI Galway in 1978 and an MSc in Management from IMI/Trinity in 1984.

He also participated in the Institute of Directors’ Programme at UCC in 1994. He received the UCC Alumnus Achievement Award in 2008.

Mary Byrne

After a brief career in Investment Banking, Mary managed the startup and growth of the European subsidiary of US based BMDP Statistical Software Inc.

She was directly responsible for all aspects of corporate management as well as formation and implementation of strategic plans for the global BMDP operation from 1984 to 1995.

Mary led the Management Buy Out of the subsidiary company in 1995, leading to the formation of Statistical Solutions Ltd of which she is CEO/Managing Director.


‌Kieran Calnan

Kieran is the former Chief Executive of SWS Group. His appointment to this position in 1996 marked the culmination of 30 years of service to the organisation and to the co-operative movement in West Cork.

Kieran opversaw the diversification of SWS from a single service provider (agricultural services) to a multi – service company to include Renewables, Business Process Outsourcing, Forestry and Business Services. Kieran retired in 2007.

‌‌Kieran was conferred with an Honorary Doctor of Economic Science from UCC in 2016.


John Forde

John Forde is Senior Executive Officer at Cork County Council working in the area of Economic Development, Enterprise & Tourism. A qualified Civil Engineer, John joined Cork County Council in 2006 after a number of years in industry. He has been involved in regional economic development with Cork County Council since 2010.


‌‌Mark Hurley

Mark Hurley is Country Manager for UK and Ireland at Chr. Hansen A/S. Mark has filled a number of roles in Chr Hansen since he joined in 1985 as Sales & Marketing Manager for dairy ingredients business in Ireland. He has international experience across sales, marketing, finance and HR in bioscience sector.

Aiden Lee

Aiden is the founding member of Eolas International. He is a qualified Food Scientist with over 14 years experience in the Food and Beverage industry. Aiden provides the strategic vision for the company and leads the company's business development as well as playing an active role in key projects.

Aiden recently completed an Enterprise Ireland funded MSc in International Business in Trinity College Dublin, and is leading plans for the further development of the company. Aiden says "It has been a fantastic experience to have been involved in the development of a unique, progressive and innovative company, such as Eolas International.

The combination of very talented, eager and motivated staff in conjunction with progressive and forward looking clients, places us in a very fortunate and exciting position as we continue to grow our business. It is our mission to become the unquestioned choice as partner for our clients varied research needs".


‌Pat Lynch

Pat Lynch is a Cork based Entrepreneur and business owner. Pat founded Microtech Cleanroom Services in 1998. He previously worked as finance director / controller for the Irish operations of US multinationals Seagate Technology and Summit Technology.

He is currently Director of Compliance & Risks and Omnivend. He also holds the roles of Chairman and CEO of Cork based You Get it Back Ltd and Founder and CEO of Stock Market Training Ltd

Dr Anita Maguire

Dr Anita Maguire is Vice President for Research & Innovation and Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at University College Cork. She is Director of the interdisciplinary research centre, the Analytical and Biological Chemistry Research Facility, and is actively engaged national strategic policy development in relation to research, STI policy, the academic industry interface and strategic development of the pharmaceutical industry.


Rónán O’Dubhghaill

Rónán Ó Dubhghaill is Vice President for External Relations at University College Cork. Rónán has almost 30 years experience in consultancy, operations, engineering, supply chain management and higher education roles in the US, Italy and Ireland.

Prior to UCC, Rónán worked with EMC Corporation, Bourns Electronics and Farran Technology. Rónán holds BE (Elec) and PhD degrees from UCC and an MBA from Henley Management College.


‌Seán O'Sullivan

Seán O’Sullivan is the Head of Local Enterprise Office South Cork having previously been CEO of South Cork Enterprise Board since 1996.

Seán has extensive experience working with a wide range of businesses and has a keen understanding of the issues and challenges faced by start-ups.

Seán holds a BComm from University College Cork.


Adrienne Rodgers

Adrienne Rodgers has been assisting Cork businesses since 1995 in her role as Head of Enterprise at Local Enterprise Office, Cork City and previously as Acting Chief Executive Officer and Assistant Chief Executive Officer with Cork City Enterprise Board.

Prior to this she worked for 9 nine years with Barclays and AIB Bank.

Her background in the banking sector and latterly her vast experience in dealing with a wide spectrum of businesses at Cork City Enterprise Board, provide deep insight and understanding of the issues and challenges facing startup businesses.


Dave Ronayne

Dave Ronayne is CEO at Irish Mainport Holdings, a leading provider of marine services to the maritime sector. Dave has extensive experience running a global, capital-intensive business: Mainport trades in South America, the Middle East, Africa, Malaysia and across Europe. He is also Regional President of Irish Business & Employers Confederation (IBEC). 


Martin Scally

Martin Scally is President of UCC Students’ Union.









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