New and notable appointments at Creative Enterprise West (CREW), COBALT, HaloCare, CONNECT Centre, Midleton Distillery

By Business & Finance
11 March 2021
Pictured: Niamh Costello, Chief Executive, Creative Enterprise West

This week sees new and notable appointments at Creative Enterprise West (CREW), COBALT, HaloCare, CONNECT Centre, Midleton Distillery

Niamh Costello, Chief Executive,
Creative Enterprise West

CREW, Creative Enterprise West,  a new collaborative initiative, which supports the creative digital enterprise sector in the West, has appointed Niamh Costello as Chief Executive.

Niamh Costello, Chief Executive of CREW has a wealth of entrepreneurial, business and industry experience, following 7 successful years as General Manager of the Galway Technology Centre.  She is also a founding member of Galway City Innovation District, who’s first building is the high profile Portershed.  Niamh also holds the position of National Vice Chair and Director of the National Association of Community Enterprise Centres, NACEC which represent over 120 centres across Ireland. She’s also a previous director of Galway Chamber and Network Galway.

Key partners in the CREW initiative are Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), the Western Development Commission (WDC) and Galway Film Centre (GFC).

CREW’s focus will be on the development and scaling of creative digital entrepreneurs, job creation, incubation and accelerator programmes, training, and outreach services along the Atlantic Economic Corridor.  Plans are also under way for the development of a Centre of Excellence providing enterprise and co-working space, on the GMIT Centre for Creative Arts & Media, Cluain Mhuire campus, Galway.

Steve Molloy, Head of Insurer Services

Steve Molloy, Head of Insurer Services, COBALT

Steve Molloy has joined Cobalt Solutions as Head of Insurer Services. Steve has been working with the business as a Consultant since August 2020, and joined on a permanent basis as the start of 2021.

Steve has worked in outsourced motor claims management and replacement vehicle services for nearly 20 years, in Sales, Senior Account Management and Senior Operational Management roles.

On his appointment, Steve said: “It’s great to join on a permanent basis, and to be able to guide the business to become a force in motor claims. 

“The service standards that already exist within the business are really high, driven by the way in which our sister company Coplus handles its broker claims. That is a fantastic starting point for me. The business is already ‘best in class’ when it comes to FNOL, regardless of whether in or out of hours; liability decision making on the first notification; and the ability to ensure a claim is placed on the right track. Not many companies can do this right first time, and provide the customer with certainty of the next steps. Combining the use of technology and people is really key to Cobalt’s decision making. 

We have  a number of Insurers using Cobalt’s services, and this will increase as we engage further with the market to better understand how we can reduce indemnity spend; reduce claims touches and other frictional costs; and ultimately exceed customer expectations.”

As Head of Insurer Services Steve will take the lead on client relationships, supply chain partnerships, and support the operational team in the development and delivery of the services required by the market.

With the motor reforms date confirmed as 31 May 2021 Cobalt is ideally placed to support Insurers with the challenges this may bring. The volume of defendant small claims may increase, and Cobalt is able to provide an outsourced service to manage these small claims on behalf of the Insurer. The efficient and streamlined processes used by Cobalt will ensure a reduction in claims cost for the Insurer, and help protect the insurer’s brand reputation. What’s more, the service is fully resourced and straightforward to implement to ensure a smooth transition in May.

Dr Rhona Mahony, Board Member,

One of Ireland’s most respected medical professionals, Dr Rhona Mahony has been appointed to the board of HaloCare, the Irish healthcare company which is focused on care for older people, helping them to live a better quality of life for longer in their own homes.

Dr. Mahony served as Master of the National Maternity Hospital from 2012 to 2018 and was instrumental in securing Government backing for the construction of a new maternity hospital for the women and children of Ireland.

She is a leading advocate for women and was Executive Director of the Women and Children’s Clinical Academic Directorate within Ireland East Healthcare Group from 2018 to 2020. She also currently serves on the board of St Vincent’s Healthcare Group and on the board of the Little Museum of Dublin and the Advisory Board of Trinity Business School. Additionally, Dr. Mahony is a member of the Institute of Directors of Ireland and the YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization).

David Walsh, CEO and co-founder of HaloCare said: “I am delighted to welcome Rhona Mahony to the Board of HaloCare.  She brings vast clinical experience to the board and her leadership style, developed over many years leading Ireland’s largest maternity hospital and latterly serving on the board of one of Ireland’s largest healthcare groups, will also be beneficial to us as we grow our company”.

“We have ambitious plans for HaloCare and I was very impressed with Rhona’s vision for what we can do as a company to benefit our service users.  She constantly challenges us with her energy and drive to do more to improve the lives of older and vulnerable people in our society”.

Dr. Rhona Mahony said, “When I first heard the HaloCare story I loved the scope of its ambition and its dedication to filling an unmet need of care for older people in our society.  Their vision aligns greatly with what is needed within the Irish healthcare system – the delivery of excellent care in the community. The company addresses a vital segment of our society that unfortunately goes under-looked and under-served: that is, the forgotten middle-ground of aging people in our society who are well enough to live at home but nevertheless require personalised support. I’m delighted to join David, Niall Kelly and Dr Johnny Walker on the HaloCare Board and I look forward to working with them to deliver on their vision of improving the lives of older people living at home.”

HaloCare aims to address the critical need of community care for older people, keeping them out of healthcare settings for as long as possible.  The company’s assistive technologies give the older person the independence and confidence to age comfortably in their own homes. HaloCare’s innovative, proprietary software focuses on personal safety, medication adherence, and social & cultural interconnectivity via intuitive technology. The service is backed up by medical professionals available on demand, who will remotely check in with customers to ensure their continual health and happiness.

Dan Kilper, Director,
CONNECT Centre, Trinity College Dublin

Professor Dan Kilper has been appointed as Director of CONNECT – the world leading Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications, hosted by Trinity College Dublin. Professor Kilper will also hold the position of Professor of Future Communication Networks in Trinity’s School of Engineering.

Professor Kilper comes to CONNECT from the University of Arizona where he held a research professorship in the College of Optical Sciences, and a joint appointment in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He also holds an adjunct faculty position in the Data Science Institute at Columbia University, where he is a co-PI on the COSMOS advanced wireless testbed. He was lead PI on the founding project of SFI’s US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership and has served in leadership positions in multiple international university-industry research centres including participating in CONNECT’s precursor, CTVR, while he was at Bell Labs.

Earlier this month, Simon Harris, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation & Science, announced a six-year €39 million investment in CONNECT through the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres programme. This investment is expected to be matched by another €60 million in industry partnerships and non-exchequer, non-commercial funding.

Professor Dan Kilper said:

“I am very excited to lead CONNECT and take up this position in the world-famous Trinity College Dublin. CONNECT has a strong international reputation for academic excellence and extensive engagement with industry, and I intend to build on this.

“I am also looking forward to furthering the impact of CONNECT’s research: already the Centre has produced five spinout companies which employ 41 people, with a further 14 people to be hired in 2021. Over €14 million has been invested in the Centre by 44 companies, and CONNECT’s researchers have won over €25 million in non-exchequer, non-commercial awards mainly from the prestigious Horizon 2020 fund. This is an impressive track record.”

Welcoming the appointment, Dr Patrick Prendergast, Provost of Trinity College Dublin, said:

“I am delighted to welcome Professor Dan Kilper to Trinity as a Professor in the School of Engineering. Telecommunications is one of our key research themes and the CONNECT Centre is a world leader in this field. The Centre’s top-class testbed facilities have led to many significant international research collaborations.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vital importance of communications networks, and I wish Professor Kilper and his team every success as they engage in an ambitious research programme which will result in new breakthroughs and innovations in this area.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said:

“I am delighted to congratulate Professor Dan Kilper on his appointment as Director of the CONNECT SFI Research Centre. Professor Kilper brings tremendous experience from his research in the fields of optical and wireless networks. We are excited that CONNECT’s creative research programme will be led by a director with an outstanding international reputation for innovation in this space.

“Professor Kilper has already had an association with Science Foundation Ireland in his capacity as the lead Principal Investigator on the founding project of our successful US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership, and I am delighted to hear that he has plans for further collaborations.

“CONNECT recently received an investment of €39 million through the SFI Research Centres programme to advance its research in ways that positively impact our society and economy. I wish him well as he leads CONNECT into its next phase.

“I also pay tribute to Professor Kilper’s predecessors, Professor Luiz DaSilva and Professor Linda Doyle, who led the CONNECT Centre with distinction.”

Deirdre O’Carroll, Blender
Midleton Distillery

Irish Distillers, producer of some of the world’s best loved Irish whiskeys, today announces the appointment of Deirdre O’Carroll as Blender at Midleton Distillery, Co. Cork.

In her new role, Deirdre will work with Master Blender Billy Leighton in Midleton Distillery, and will be responsible for the development of new and existing blends, marrying together specific and intricate flavours and aromas, ultimately, creating a palette of tastes that make up Irish Distillers’ portfolio of Irish whiskeys. She will also be responsible for the management of stock, including cask profile and age profile, as well as laying down stock for future generations.

Deirdre O’Carroll, Blender, Midleton Distillery

Deirdre holds a degree in Food Science and Technology from University College Cork and a diploma in Distilling from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. Deirdre joined Irish Distillers in 2012 as part of the first year of the Jameson Engineering Programme. During the two-year programme, Deirdre gained a solid foundation in the whiskey-making process and upon completion, was appointed as a Process Technologist. In this role Deirdre was part of the team involved the commissioning of the new pot stills in the Garden Stillhouse and the new columns in the Midleton Distillery expansion project. Most recently, she served as Bond Supervisor. There are over 1.7 million casks maturing in Midleton.  As Bond Supervisor, Deirdre helped oversee the filling and emptying of these casks with a wider team of 61 people over a split shift.

Billy Leighton, Master Blender at Midleton Distillery, said: “Deirdre was one of the first graduates to join as part of the Graduate Distiller Programme. The programme is designed to give graduates ownership of their career aspirations, supported by practical experience and training to help them succeed and Deirdre is a shining example of what success looks like. In a few short years, Deirdre has risen through the ranks, proving how competent and capable she is in the roles that she has held, most recently managing a team of 13 people. She is an invaluable member of the team in Midleton and I am delighted to announce her appointment as blender.”

Deirdre O’Carroll, blender at Irish Distillers said: “In simple terms, four simple ingredients can make an array of whiskeys; water, yeast, cereal and wooden casks. However, it is the sensory aspect, balancing the flavours, is what defines the taste. I look forward to channelling my knowledge and experience into my new role, while learning from Billy and the team.”