Chamber News

AGM 2019 Photo

Jonathan Earl, owner of B2B Communications, was elected President of Waterford Chamber at the 232nd AGM in the Granville Hotel last night (Monday, May 27th).

Jonathan has been involved with Waterford Chamber since joining the retail committee in 1996, became a director in 2000 and subsequently returned to directorship in 2014. He is chair of the Chamber’s Connectivity, Infrastructure and Development Policy Advisory Panel and the Chambers Ireland representative on the Programme Monitoring Committee of the Ireland-Wales Programme.

Addressing Waterford Chamber members, he said: “In the 25 years I’ve worked in Waterford I have witnessed significant changes in our city and county. Waterford has emerged from being an industrial city to a post-industrial climate with the evolution of our tourism offering, service industry and the growth of our tech, pharma and life-science sectors.

“In the last fifteen years I’ve been fortunate enough to work with all sectors and all sizes of business. B2B Communications has tracked the changes in industry in Waterford and the South East. Ours is a business which is a weather vane for consumer and business confidence, and we’ve seen how within certain sectors Waterford’s self-assurance has grown. This needs to spread across the whole of Waterford and the Chamber has a role in this evolution.

“I have spent my adult life attempting to interpret and communicate messages, and today I find myself in a role, in an organisation, in a City where now more than ever a confident, consistent and positive message is required.

“We all have our roles to play, Waterford Chamber, Waterford City & County Council, businesses, home grown or foreign direct. We have all chosen to live, work and do business here.

“Waterford has a proud business tradition, but in recent decades has lost its confidence. Over the last few years there has been significant investment in Waterford, hundreds of millions and there are hundreds of millions more to be invested over the next number of years. This is a time to restore that confidence, but as with life, its cannot be restored from without, confidence must come from within.

“Waterford Chamber will play its part, but it requires a consistent, confident message from all stakeholders, large and small. And it requires partnership and collective responsibility from within for confidence and success to be restored.”

Outgoing President Kathryn Kiely thanked Chamber members, staff and fellow Chamber Directors for their support. “During the year what was particularly striking to me was the willingness of members and business leaders to participate and give of their time, be it on voicing their views directly to Government, engaging in a dialogue on the role of regional cities and their vision for Waterford, mentoring future business leaders and participating in a series of workshops to help shape the development of Waterford Chamber’s Strategic Plan 2019—2022. I would like to thank all our members for their continual engagement, sharing of ideas, experiences and knowledge.

“Through this process, informed by members, we have set out our values as an organisation and strategic objectives for the coming four years. Our members are at the heart of what Waterford Chamber is about. We represent a diverse range of business sectors and organisational profiles from the individual entrepreneur to large multinationals. We are ambitious for our city and Region and are collaborative in our approach advocating on behalf of our community and enhancing our capacity as a City Region. We are progressive and innovative in the priorities we set and the programmes we plan.”

Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley re-iterated this by reporting that Chamber is performing better than it has in years, confirming that membership was growing and Chamber is in a very solid position to develop going forward.

Speaking at the AGM, Gerald said: “On a day when we are all talking about the local and European elections and eager to hear the mandates that follow, it is fitting that this evening we also launch our own Strategic Plan for the coming years.

“Working collectively has never been more important, whether it is with our members, stakeholder groups or with our elected officials, as we all strive for the same vision – to ensure a vibrant economic environment for the Waterford we choose to love, learn, work and do business in.

“Our mission is clear – to be the voice of business in Waterford, dedicated to supporting, promoting and advocating for our members while being the catalyst for creating a vibrant and sustainable economy. In an ever-changing landscape, we must all do our part, starting by getting the message right.”

As the meeting concluded, Danette Connolly, Home Instead Senior Care and John McSweeney, AIB Bank were deemed elected as Deputy President and Vice-President respectively.

Join President Jonathan Earl at Waterford Chamber’s President’s Lunch on Friday, June 21st in the Majestic Hotel, Tramore, where Irish Times Editor Paul O’Neill will make the keynote address. For bookings contact Lynda Lawton on 051 311130 or see www.waterfordchamber.ie

Paul O Neill Editor Irish Times

Paul O’Neill, Editor of the Irish Times, will make a welcome return to his native county for the Waterford Chamber President’s Lunch, which takes place on Friday, 21st June in the beautiful surroundings of the Majestic Hotel in Tramore.

During the mid-summer lunch event, which is sponsored by AIB Bank, guests will enjoy a sumptuous meal, preceded by a drinks reception compliments of Legacy Irish Cider.

Always a popular corporate event on the Waterford Chamber calendar, the President’s Lunch sees the coming together of business owners and executives for an informal gathering and sharing of ideas.

Incoming President Jonathan Earl said he is very much looking forward to hearing Paul’s story from local journalist to editor of Ireland’s leading newspaper.

“I have spent my adult life attempting to interpret and communicate messages, and today I find myself in a role, in an organisation, in a city where now more than ever a confident, consistent and positive message is required. The media plays an integral part in delivering that message and it will be interesting to hear how Waterford is perceived on the national media agenda.”

Speaking in advance of the event, Paul said he looked forward to getting a better sense of the challenges facing Waterford at a time of such momentous change at home and abroad. “It’s not a question of me coming home because I don’t feel I ever went away. But some, no doubt, will see me as an outsider and perhaps there’s a different perspective that comes with that.”

Event sponsor Marian Keane of AIB Homes said: “This is our second year sponsoring the President’s Lunch, which we view as an important event for the business community to network and take time out to engage with peers.”

Paul O’Neill was appointed Editor of The Irish Times in April 2017. He has had a long and varied career with the company, having joined in 1989 as London Correspondent. Over 30 years, he has been a news reporter, Crime Correspondent, Deputy News Editor, Finance Editor, Editorial Director and Deputy Editor.

In more recent years, he has played a central role in the transformation of The Irish Times into a digital publisher.

Paul began his career as a reporter with the Waterford News & Star in 1982 and subsequently joined the then Cork Examiner in 1989.

The acquisition by The Irish Times last July of the Irish Examiner, the Echo and a number of regional titles, including the Waterford News & Star, has brought his journalistic career under one umbrella and brought him back to the place where it all began almost four decades ago.

Tickets for the lunch are €65 including VAT and can be booked by contacting Lynda Lawton on 051 311130 or online at here.

RLP Michael Doherty

‘One More Attempt’ was the theme of Michael Doherty’s address at the Waterford Chamber Regional Leaders Programme Inspiring Lunch talk at the Majestic Hotel.

In front of a large crowd, the Cheekpoint native and CEO of Woodbrook Group said: “Fear and failure are indicators you’re on the right road, not roadblocks. The more you handle your fear and accept failure and move forward, the more you continue creating entrepreneurial vision and graft, the more you will come to appreciate important errors.”

Having started his own mobile phone company at just 16, Michael went on to have many successes and failures along the way and spoke about how hitting rock bottom while sleeping in a Metro Station in Moscow made him realise the only way was up and to give it one more try.

This led to the foundation of the Woodbrook Group just over five years ago, which he has led through a period of significant international expansion and he is now considered one of the '100 Most Influential People in the Global Financial Services Sector' by the respected International Advisor publication.

Things have come full circle for Michael as he is now looking to expand his European operations in Ireland, having just secured a new company in Galway, which will be re-located and expanded right here in Waterford, under separate to the Woodbrook operation.

He has full confidence in the Waterford of the future and in its entrepreneurs and business leaders.

“There are no limits to the Waterford’s next millennium of opportunities because we are world class, and that is reflective in the investment flowing into the region at present. We have survived underfunding, marginalisation, and dismissal. We created the new future Waterford out of consistent campaigning for infrastructure, links and development funding.

“The seeds not just of economic recovery, regeneration and renewal are sprouting in Waterford today. Waterford’s global engagements – Crystal Valley Tech, the emergence of vibrant tech and pharma hubs, the world class development at North Quays – are fully representative of the new way of working and the new way of succeeding. Waterford is returning to its roots as a global trader of excellence. Entrepreneurship and the further shore are in our DNA. There are no barriers to the entrepreneur, only obstacles leading to opportunities.”

Speaking at the event, Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley said, it is these opportunities we must now grasp with both hands.

“It is companies of international repute, working with our own indigenous companies, which will make Waterford great again and we all have a responsibility to work together to achieve that common goal. 

“By supporting Waterford Chamber through membership and initiatives like the Regional Leaders Programme, we in turn can support you, by working on your behalf to be the voice of business in Waterford. By coming together the business community is a powerful voice and one we are proud to champion and advocate for.”

This was the last Inspiring speaker lunch before the programme’s closing lunch on June 19th in Faithlegg with Waterford Ambassador of the Year and renowned chef Paul Flynn. Expressions of interest and applications are now being accepting for year three of the Regional Leaders Programme, which is designed to develop leaders for the future in the South East Region. It is aimed at professionals who want to develop their leadership competencies and will benefit companies seeking to increase the capacity of their internal talent pool.

The programme runs monthly from September to June and incorporates practical guidance on leadership styles, problem-solving and key recommendations during 1:1 mentoring sessions. Mastermind workshops and speaker lunches create opportunities for programme participants to engage with Regional Leaders colleagues and expand their network.

The programme is supported by Bausch + Lomb, Waterford Chamber Skillnet and Waterford Institute of Technology.

For more information, contact Lynda Lawton or Kelly Cummins on 051 872639.

Ahead of local and European elections taking place on 24th May, Waterford Chamber is calling on voters to support candidates who are committed to realising a long-term vision for Waterford.

According to Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley, there has never been a more important time to vote. “I would urge everybody to exercise their right to vote on 24th May. It is imperative that we select candidates on a local and European level who can drive the Waterford agenda. Local government make decisions on housing, transport and infrastructure, and these decisions shape our daily lives. More significantly, decisions that are made at European level dictate the choices our governments can make across a wide range of issues, from trade to agriculture to regulation. We must not underestimate the opportunity we have before us on the 24th May to elect representatives who will work to build a prosperous, sustainable Waterford.

“It is critical we have the right voices heard locally and in Europe who will fight to improve planning, secure investment for our city and county and support the delivery of the objectives set out in the National Planning Framework.

“As a business community, we will drive the economy of our city but as we outlined recently to An Taoiseach Leo Varadker, we need the infrastructure to do so. We need you to support us, so we in turn can support you. We need strong voices locally, nationally and in Europe to achieve that. Working together, we can drive Waterford forward, create sustainable jobs, spend more money locally and ultimately grow our businesses and economy for the betterment of all.”

Chambers Ireland is the national voice of Ireland’s largest business network. Our network has the broadest geographic presence, reaching towns and cities across the country. As a network, we want to see sustainable communities thrive in locally vibrant economic environments. A fast, national, reliable broadband network is a prerequisite for this.

Speaking following the Cabinet’s decision to appoint a preferred bidder to the National Broadband Plan, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said, “Our network of Chambers are aligned in their view that access to reliable high-speed broadband is an economic necessity. Broadband is essential infrastructure for the 21st century and it is already as important to our professional and personal lives as the telephone network was at the end of the 20th century. A community without broadband today is as disconnected from the wider economy as the communities without electricity were in 1945.

If flexible and remote working is to become a lived reality for people in all parts of the country, then it is conditional on broadband being available in their homes. The alternative is economic stagnation, long commutes and regional decline, all of which contribute to poorer quality of life, lower productivity and a bigger carbon footprint.

Government policy itself has effectively made access to broadband mandatory. Many public and business related services now have an online dimension, despite the absence of broadband in so many parts of the country. This alone makes a clear case for increased, sustained public investment in broadband infrastructure. The economic benefits make national broadband access a necessity.

However, in respect of Government action on broadband, for this investment to be worthwhile it will need to be capable of delivering ever faster speeds exceeding 1,000 megabits per second. A network which does not meet that need will not be future-proofed and will not be capable of delivering for communities and local economies in the years to come."

Taoiseach Visit 2019

Following an invitation by Waterford Chamber, An Taoiseach Leo Varadker met with representatives of the business community at a private meeting on his visit to Waterford, where he was presented with five critical issues to the future development of the Waterford City Region, including Health Care, the Technological University, Waterford Airport, required infrastructure and upgrading the road network.

Pictured welcoming An Taoiseach to the Waterford Chamber offices are Michael Walsh, Chief Executive, Waterford Council; Waterford Chamber President, Kathryn Kiely and Gerald Hurley, CEO, Waterford Chamber. Photo: Leo Murphy Photography

Chambers Call for Strong Voter TurnoutAhead of local and European elections taking place on 24 May, Chambers Ireland, as the national voice of Ireland’s largest business network, launches the “Our Time To Vote” campaign. The campaign calls on voters to support candidates who are committed to realising a long-term vision for our communities by improving planning, investing in our cities and regions and supporting how we transition to a resilient low carbon economy.

Speaking this morning, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot calls on the business community to engage with candidates and turn out to vote on 24 May.

“Although they have the largest franchise, Local and European elections aren’t prioritised in the same way as general elections and turn-out is often low. Today, with the support of our Network of 41 chambers, we are launching the “Our Time To Vote” campaign in an effort to give these elections the attention they merit.

Our members want to see sustainable communities thrive in locally vibrant economic environments, but in order to achieve this, we need to elect representatives who share this vision. Our goal in this campaign is to help educate Chamber members and voters as to the importance of these institutions and encourage them to turn out to vote.

Local government make decisions on housing, transport and infrastructure, and these decisions shape our daily lives. More significantly, decisions that are made at European level dictate the choices our governments can make across a wide range of issues, from trade to agriculture to regulation. We must not underestimate the opportunity we have before us on the 24 May to elect representatives who will work to build a prosperous, sustainable Ireland.

We encourage every eligible person in the country to ensure that they are registered to vote, and then to vote on polling day 24 May itself. Every adult, legally resident in Ireland, can vote in at least one of the upcoming elections. The deadline for voter registration is this Tuesday, 7 May. This is Our Time to Vote.”

workforce ireland south east event 2019Attracting and retaining talent is a growing concern for industry across Ireland. As one of the five key pillars in the Government’s Future Jobs Ireland 2019 report, enhancing skills and developing and attracting talent is recognised as a significant contributor to securing Ireland’s economic success.

The challenge of attracting and retaining talent will be addressed at the upcoming Workforce Ireland 2019 seminar, jointly hosted by Waterford Chamber Skillnet, Carlow Kilkenny Skillnet, County Tipperary Skillnet and Wexford Chamber Skillnet. The seminar takes place on Wednesday, 22 May at Mount Juliet Estate.

The event will be facilitated by one of Ireland’s foremost trainers Michael Cox of MCX Training and Development and will feature a number of keynote speakers throughout the morning, including Michael’s presentation on ‘Theory into Action’.

At Workforce Ireland 2019, Paul Healy, Chief Executive of Skillnet Ireland will discuss how we can ‘Address Current and Future Skills Shortages’. Speaking on the importance of having a strong workforce, Healy said At Workforce Ireland 2019, Paul Healy, Chief Executive of Skillnet Ireland will discuss how we can ‘Address Current and Future Skills Shortages’. Speaking on the importance of having a strong workforce, Healy said:

"Fostering a skilled and educated workforce is critical for strengthening Ireland’s competitiveness and sustaining our future success. The world of work is transforming, and the pace of technological development is redefining the future of economies globally. This presents challenges but also new possibilities - many job roles will be redefined, and emerging job roles will require new and different skillsets. Businesses need to consider new ways of attracting and retaining talent by becoming flexible, innovative and adaptable. I am delighted that a number of Skillnet Networks have joined together to bring this expert event to businesses in the South East.” 

David Cooney, Associate Director with Morgan McKinley, will speak on ‘The South-East as part of Ireland Inc – Attracting Talent to our Business Unit’ Other topics throughout the half day seminar include Staff Retention with Brian Cleary of Acorn Regulatory; Recruitment with Dr Karen O’Connor, Datapac; Learning & Development with Elaine Hayes, Zurich; Spending your Training Budget with Ria White, Eirgen and Creating a Great Workplace with Lisa Murphy, Scurri.

Speaking about the event, Network Manager of Waterford Chamber Skillnet Sara Mullally said “Future-proofing, succession planning and retention are all key concerns for industry right now. As we approach full employment, attracting and retaining talent must be given due consideration at all times and our seminar will offer expert opinions, advice and shared experiences, so we can ensure our workforce is reaching its full potential. We are delighted to have such a high calibre of speakers lined up and we would encourage all HR Executives, senior managers and business owners to take the half day away from the office to engage, learn and of course offer their own advice.”

To book your place at Workforce Ireland 2019 for €50, please contact your local Skillnet Network; Waterford Chamber Skillnet on 051 311139, Wexford Chamber Skillnet on 053 9122226; County Tipperary Skillnet on 052 6191105 and Carlow Kilkenny Skillnet on 059 9132152.

To find your local Skillnet Learning Network in the South East region, visit www.skillnetireland.ie/region/south-east/

Chambers Ireland Local Government ManifestoChambers Ireland has launched its Local Government Manifesto and calls on voters to ask their candidates the hard questions about the long-term future of their areas: How candidates intend to deliver sustainable infrastructure and housing for their communities? What will they do to support local economic development? And, how will their policies help adapt our economy to decarbonisation?

Chambers Ireland is a network of businesses with a geographic reach that spans the cities and towns of Ireland. Chambers have been active in Ireland for over 200 years. This lends a long-term perspective to how we look at the economy and the world we live in.

Speaking today, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot calls on all voters to get engaged and to vote on 24 May, saying;

“We’ve come a long way since the last election in 2014. Our economy is growing and we’re almost at full employment, so while prosperity might have returned, the sustainability of our economy must now be the focus of our attention.

The National Development Plan sets out a long-term view on how to build a better future for Ireland. Our cities and towns need tens of thousands of new homes. We need to build better places to live and do business. Better planning and long-term thinking will improve the quality of life and quality of local economies around the country. The decisions that elected members of our local authorities make in the coming years will be central to realising this ambition.

We in Chambers Ireland are calling on all voters to vote. Our local authorities matter, and their decisions can’t be left up to someone else. We call on all candidates to take the long-term view and help build a better Ireland.”

Chambers Ireland calls on candidates for local government to support the long-term vision for Ireland and consider the following;

  • Our approach to the urban environment needs a revolution, we need integrated housing, transport, and civic spaces which prioritise the needs of the people living and working there.
  • Our local authorities need to co-operate to guide the development of our cities and towns so that policy decisions are coherent at the regional level and are consistent over multiple election cycles.
  • All our regions need to benefit from the production of green energy. If rural Ireland is to benefit from our decarbonising economy, it will need help to move beyond the traditional agri-food sector and into innovative new industries.
  • Ireland needs to work harder to facilitate women remaining in or returning to the workforce. The network of Local Enterprise Offices and other Local Government structures need to develop strategies that will support women in their areas.
  • If we are to have thriving local economies, our local authorities need to have procurement policies which look towards quality and long-term sustainability.

Click here to download the Local Government Manifesto

Business Expo 2019 1

Autoboland Jaguar and Land Rover was the place to be on Thursday night last for the Waterford Chamber Business Expo, which saw over 80 exhibitors showcase the vibrant business offering in Waterford right now.

Special guest, horse trainer and jockey Joseph O’Brien took time to go around to meet with exhibitors and said he was hugely impressed by the diverse businesses on show and in particular High Horse Events, who provided free tea and coffee for everyone in attendance from their converted horse box.

He also lent his support to the Noah’s Wish to Walk Campaign, who were fundraising and raising awareness through the evening.

Speaking at the event, Waterford Chamber President Kathryn Kiely emphasised the importance of taking the time to network with other businesses.

“Events such as these allow us that time away from the office to share ideas and learn from our peers. The buzz in the showroom this evening only emphasises how strong the Waterford business community is and we wish you all continued success.”

Teresa-Jane O’Mahony, BMCI Insurance & Investments Ltd, who sponsored the event for the sixth year running said: “Six years ago myself and my business partner Michelle decided to follow our dreams and go out on our own. There are so many people like us here today, who are working hard to make a difference. Entrepreneurs are the life blood of our business community and to see so many here today is really encouraging.”

Pat Drea of Autoboland Jaguar and Land Rover thanked all those who made the event such a great success and in particular their brand ambassador Joseph O’Brien.

WLR’s Teresanne O’Reilly was broadcasting live and certainly added to the occasion by playing great music, coupled with interviews with various exhibitors.

The event concluded on a high note as Rob Cass of Falcon Real Estate and Niall Harrington of Fewer Harrington & Partners made a presentation on delivering the vision for Waterford, revealing new images of the North Quays and the 2000 new homes planned for Kilbarry.

The message was clear – North Quays is happening, Kilbarry is happening and there are opportunities abound.

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What Our Members Say

"Waterford is a very attractive location for Foreign Direct Investment as it is a dynamic city which is very much open for business – the city has a proven track record of attracting investment from start-ups and expanding business, who are hugely supported by Waterford Chamber. The city, county and region offers a young, well educated workforce and is easily accessible for international visitors. Waterford’s quality of life for employees is exceptional as it blends elements of rich cultural heritage with a new and vibrant lifestyle – with new additions such as the Greenway further showcasing the county to not only locals, but visitors from all over Ireland and overseas. The Chamber has been a vital link in welcoming our companies into the local Business Community – helping them not only network, but also gain a sense of community and belonging."

Brendan McDonald, Regional Manager, South East Region, IDA

 

 

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