Meet the Board

We are lucky to have an extraordinary group of highly experienced people behind us


Dick Milliken (Chair)

Mr. Milliken is a former CFO of the Almac Group and CEO Lamont plc. A qualified Chartered Accountant, Mr. Milliken serves as a director of Bank of Ireland Mortgage Bank, Ryanair Holdings Plc and a number of private companies. Mr. Milliken is a graduate of Queens University Belfast, a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland and a former Chief Executive Officer of the Investment Bank of Ireland.


Bonnie Dean OBE (Deputy Chair)

Non Executive Director

Clare Colhoun

Business Development Director Aveva

Jane Davies OBE

Director and Business Leader

Philip Gilliland

Managing Partner Caldwell & Robinson Solicitors

Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan  

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation) Ulster University

Bryan Keating

Entrepreneur & Non-Executive Director

Alec McRitchie 

Retired Director Bombardier

Professor Paddy Nixon

Vice-Chancellor Ulster University

James O’Kane 

Registrar and Chief Operating Officer Queen’s University Belfast

Des Speed 


Stephen Wray 

Director, Deloitte Digital 

Jeff Wylie

Experienced software CFO/COO

Senior Management Team

Dr Norman Apsley, OBE

Dr Norman Apsley, OBE

Chief Executive Officer

Dr Norman Apsley has steered Catalyst Inc since 2000, when he became our first Chief Executive. He had returned from England where he was involved for some thirty years in applied research and the commercialisation of research. Norman’s career spans academia, government bodies and corporations, where his wide contribution to science and economic development earned him an OBE in 2012.

Philip Maguire

Philip Maguire

Director of Finance & Administration

Philip Maguire has been responsible for all of the finance, administration and company secretarial duties for Catalyst Inc’s portfolio of properties and entrepreneurial programmes since joining in 2007.

Philip has been a Finance Director at eircom, the telecoms incumbent in the Republic of Ireland, and the O’Kane Group of companies, the poultry processing and food distribution business. He has a degree from University College Dublin and is a chartered accountant.

Dr Joanne Stuart, OBE

Dr Joanne Stuart, OBE

Director of Development

Joanne is responsible for the development of strategic relationships to support the growth of the Knowledge Economy in Northern Ireland. Since returning to NI in 2005, she has been active in the area of economic development and championing STEAM subjects amongst the region’s younger generation. A former Chairman of IoD NI, Joanne has over 25 years’ experience working in the IT industry, including nine years with the Oracle Corporation.

Mervyn Watley

Mervyn Watley

Director of Corporate Real Estate & Facilities

Mervyn's role involves the management of the Catalyst Inc Real Estate’s 25-acre estate at Titanic Quarter Belfast, 3 acre site at Fort George in Londonderry and the recent Mid-East Antrim campus in Ballymena. Responsible for providing and managing the physical environment for around 150 companies including blue-chip ones like Citi,DOW, HP, IBM, Kana, Microsoft and SAP. Responsibilities also include capital development, lease management and facilities management.

Steve Orr

Steve Orr


As the co-founder and Director of Connect at Catalyst Inc, Steve is responsible for developing the support ecosystem for entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland, to create and scale innovation companies. Steve spent ten years prior to this in California where he co-founded Kineticom Inc, a San Diego, California-based technical talent firm in 2000. The firm ranked #33 on the Inc 500 list of the fastest-growing, privately-held US companies in 2006. Steve graduated from University of Northumbria with a degree in Business Information Technology.

Shauna Collins

Shauna Collins

Director of HR

Shauna is responsible for employee resourcing, relations, performance management and talent management for Catalyst Inc. She joined our team in 2009 as PA to the CEO and Executive team. Her role moved into HR & Office Manager before evolving again in 2018 to become Director of HR. She graduated with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in Advanced Human Resource Management.

Alan Watts

Alan Watts


Since graduating with a First as an engineer from Queen’s University Belfast, Alan has co-founded successful tech company Yelo Ltdand invested as a business angel. He was General Manager of Mindready NI before joining Catalyst Inc as Halo Director in 2009, in which time Halo has he grew this network to 200 angels and facilitated investment of over £12m in NI companies. Today he is Director of Capital Match.

Alan has twice been elected as Vice President and Trustee of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. In his spare time Alan is an experienced windsurfer who is systematically trying to break every bone in his body.