Catalyst Inc

A unique environment in which your business can thrive

The 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.

John Carew

John Carew

Project Accountant

John is the project accountant responsible for cost monitoring and reporting on existing Catalyst Inc research & construction projects and for providing financial information to support new project business cases.

John has a BSc. in Biochemistry with a background in biotech research before becoming a CIMA qualified accountant in 2009. John has held various accounting roles for both public and private companies.

Paul Clancy

Paul Clancy

Manager

Paul has been with Halo since November 2010. His responsibility is to deal with the companies that are seeking investment and to organise the pitching events, which have included Ravenhill and Stormont.

Paul graduated from Queen’s University Belfast with a degree in Geography and a masters in Environmental Management.

Shauna Collins

Shauna Collins

HR and Office Manager

Shauna joined Catalyst Inc in 2009 as PA to the CEO and the Executive team. Since then her role has evolved and she now is the HR and Office Manager. As HR Manager, Shauna is responsible for Employee Resourcing, Employee Relations and Performance and Talent Management.

She graduated with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in Advanced Human Resource Management.

Peter Edgar

Peter Edgar

Programme Manager

Peter manages the development and delivery of key innovation and educational programmes, including INVENT and Co-Founders Wanted. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography with a Certificate in American Business Practice from Queen’s University Belfast and is a graduate of the US-NI Mentorship Program (2011/12).

Eliza Harvey

Eliza Harvey

Facilities Assistant

Eliza is Facilities Assistant for the Innovation Centre in Derry~Londonderry and manages the day to day operations associated with the building. She also works very closely with the 30+ companies in the state of the art facility to ensure they receive the full benefit from their tenancy.

Eliza has a BSc Honours in Construction Engineering and Management

John Knapton

John Knapton

Director of Springboard

John has responsibility for Connect’s flagship programme, Springboard. John is a Chartered Director Ambassador and qualified executive coach, with over 25 years’ experience in sales, marketing and international business development, within the technology sector. John has worked around the world with industry-leading firms at board level, he has built companies from the ground up and managed growth within multi-national conglomerates. A long time member of the IEEE and fellow of the Institute of Directors. John also has a BSc in Marketing and Engineering.

Tierna Byrne

Tierna Byrne

Digital Marketing Coordinator

Tierna is responsible for the organisation’s digital marketing strategy. She brings a strong offering of creative design and marketing to our team, having worked for several years as a graphic designer for one of the world’s largest and most innovative law firms. Tierna has a degree in Design for Visual Communication from the University Of Ulster and recent professional qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

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.

Declan McCaffrey

Declan McCaffrey

Facilities Manager

Declan has been with Catalyst Inc since August 2008. Responsible for managing the facilities and operations for Catalyst Inc Real Estate while providing an efficient and cost effective service for over 150 tenant companies.

Declan has a BSc Hons in Building Surveying, has obtained a Diploma in Industrial Studies, Advanced Diploma in Leadership & Management Practice. He is also is a Certified Member of the BIFM.

Jenna McComb

Jenna McComb

Management Accountant

Jenna is a qualified Chartered Certified Accountant and graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in 2006 with a LLB Law Degree (2:1).

In 2006, Jenna started working for Moore Stephens as an Accounts Technician and studied IATI; Jenna completed her IATI studies achieving a distinction in 2008.

Jenna joined Catalyst Inc in 2009 where she is responsible for the preparation of the management accounts.

Andy McDonald

Andy McDonald

Business Development Manager

Andy has been with Catalyst Inc since 2010 working in general Business Development. Day to day duties include: Managing and securing tenants, marketing communications, procurement, supplier account management, process and operational management.

He has a BSc in Interactive Multimedia Design and a Diploma in Project Management.

Laura McCarry

Laura McCarry

Springboard Programme Co-Ordinator

Laura graduated from Ulster University in 2015 with a degree in Business with French and joined Connect in December 2016 as the Springboard Programme Co-ordinator. She is responsible for the co-ordination and organisation of the Springboard Programme.

Steve Orr

Steve Orr

Director

Steve graduated from the University of Northumbria at Newcastle in 1994 with a degree in Business Information Technology. For the following six years Steve worked in Buckinghamshire, San Diego and San Francisco for S.Com Ltd and S.Com Inc. In 2000, Steve co-founded Kineticom, Inc a San Diego, California based technical talent firm. In 2006 Kineticom was ranked #33 on the Inc 500, the list of the fastest growing privately held companies in the US.

Bored with perfect weather and missing the craic, Steve has now returned to his roots and hopes to focus the rest of his career on helping to create an advantage for new ventures and entrepreneurs from Northern Ireland.

Roberta Osborne

Roberta Osborne

Receptionist/Admin Officer

Roberta is our Receptionist/Admin Officer. She has worked at Catalyst inc for over 9 years and is your first point of contact when visiting us. Roberta also looks after any booking enquiries for our event space.

Trudy Parry

Trudy Parry

Business Development & Membership Co-ordinator

Since joining in 2011, Trudy has been at the centre of Connect’s events and programmes. She coordinates the contributions provided by NI’s entrepreneurial community to direct, deliver and improve Connect. Trudy returned to NI after 20 years working in the BBC and the NHS in London.

Carolynn Rooney

Carolynn Rooney

Financial Controller

Carolynn joined Catalyst Inc in January 2013 as Project Accountant, mainly for the NorthWest project, before taking up her current position of Financial Controller in December 2014.

Carolynn graduated with a BSc in Accounting from Queen’s University, Belfast and a Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Accounting from the University of Ulster before qualifying as a Chartered Management Accountant.

Carolynn has held various FC and FD roles, mainly within the IT sector, spanning both SME start up companies and blue chip PLC organisations.

Elaine Smyth

Elaine Smyth

Head of Programmes

Elaine Smyth is Head of Programmes for Connect. Elaine brings a strong combination of operational management and investment experience from her previously held roles in companies including Apion, Aepona, E-Synergy Ltd, KANA and Pentech Ventures LLP.

Elaine is committed to supporting the growth and success of NI based entrepreneurs and early stage companies.

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.

Alan Watts

Alan Watts

Director

Since graduating with a First as an engineer from Queen’s University Belfast, Alan has co-founded successful tech companies and 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 grown to over 150 angels and investors. Alan has twice been elected as Vice President and Trustee of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. He is married with two daughters. In his spare time Alan is an experienced windsurfer who is systematically trying to break every bone in his body.

Melanie Wilson

Melanie Wilson

Accounts Assistant

Melanie joined Catalyst Inc in 2009 as the accounts assistant & is responsible for the day to day accounts.

Emily Mc Daid

Emily Mc Daid

Editor – TechWatch

Emily is the editor of our TechWatch fortnightly newsletter, for which she writes about all the fascinating technologies being developed in Northern Ireland. Emily has worked in technology communications since 2001, in Boston, MA, London, Birmingham and now Belfast. She started her own company in 2008 and has created PR and marcomms strategies for brands including Nokia, Virgin Media and Microsoft. She specialises in straightforward, impactful articles that generate awareness for growing technology companies.

Daniel Johnson

Daniel Johnson

Facilities Assistant

Daniel is studying part time Construction Engineering & Management in University of Ulster. Daniel joined the team in 2014 as the facilities assistant for the Belfast site and provides support in the day to day operation of all of the buildings within Catalyst Inc Real Estate. Daniel works closely with the 100 plus tenant companies to ensure they receive the full benefits of their tenancy and also endeavors to provide an efficient service in the provision of high quality office environments for all tenants on-site.

Kerry McGarvey

Invent Programme Manager

Kerry is responsible in showcasing and rewarding local innovations through the delivery of the INVENT Programme. Kerry has over 10 Years experience in Event Management working within both the private and voluntary sectors. She has worked with a range of industries including agriculture, youth and sports. She graduated from University with a Bachelors Degree in Leisure, Events and Cultural Management and a diploma in Industrial studies.

Sonya Kerr

CEO Peer Support & Co-Founders Wanted Programme Manager

Sonya brings 20 years’ experience in Marketing, Communications and Sales in large public and private sector organizations. She worked in the education sector for both Queen’s University and South East Regional College in marketing and student recruitment. At Queen’s she had a special focus on the China market for the Business School.

Sonya gained valuable insight into the tech sector during her 8 years at Allstate Northern Ireland as Head of Marketing and Communications.
She has a Postgraduate in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a BA (Hons) Degree in Management from Ulster University and completed the Business Leadership Programme in 2015 with the William J.Clinton Leadership Institute.