Catalyst Inc

A unique environment in which your business can thrive

The Team

Steve Orr

Steve Orr

Chief Executive Officer

Steve Orr is Chief Executive Officer of Catalyst Inc and serves on the Board of Directors. Before being named CEO in November 2018, Steve was Director and Co-founder of Connect, Catalyst Inc’s not-for-profit network of experienced entrepreneurs, business professionals and top research talent dedicated to the creation and scaling of innovation companies in Northern Ireland. Connect helps over 800 local entrepreneurs to aim higher and succeed faster each year. Prior to Connect, Steve co-founded Kineticom, Inc a San Diego, California based technical talent firm in 2000. In 2006 Kineticom was ranked #33 on the Inc 500, the list of the fastest growing privately held companies in the US. Previous to Kineticom, Steve worked in Buckinghamshire, UK and San Diego and San Francisco, California for S.Com Ltd and S.Com Inc. Steve earned a BSc in Business Information Technology from University of Northumbria.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Trudy Parry

Trudy Parry

Frameworks Programme Manager

Trudy co-ordinates business development, membership engagement and the contribution provided by NI’s entrepreneurial community to direct, deliver and improve Connect. She also produces our Annual Report and organises special projects for Connect. Trudy returned to NI after working in production in the BBC and project management in the NHS in London for 20 years. She has a BA (Honours) degree in English from Queen’s University Belfast.

Sonya Kerr

Sonya Kerr

CEOs Connect & Co-Founders Programme Manager

Sonya brings 20 years’ experience in Marketing and Communications from large public and private sector organizations. She worked in in marketing and student recruitment for both Queen’s University and South East Regional College and 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 with the William J.Clinton Leadership Institute.

Tierna Byrne

Tierna Byrne

Marketing Executive

Tierna manages the day-to-day communications and marketing for Catalyst Inc, having initially joined our team in 2015 as a Digital Marketing Coordinator for our Connect programmes. She previously worked for several years as an in-house as a graphic designer for a large corporate.

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.

Kerry McGarvey

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.

Jessica Caldwell

Jessica Caldwell

4IRC Programme Manager

Jessica is responsible for our 4th Industrial Revolution Challenge and previously worked in the arts sector as an Events Manager with a leading venue. Jessica has experience working with clients from all sectors including arts, government, business and tech.
She has a Masters in Arts Management and an undergraduate degree in Law with Politics, both from QUB. She is an alumna of the Washington Ireland Program.

Laura McCarry

Laura McCarry

Digital Marketing Coordinator

Laura joined our team in 2016 as a Coordinator on our Springboard Programme. She then joined our Marketing team in November 2017 with a particular focus on coordinating our online channels. She is currently studying for her CIM Professional Certificate in Marketing and graduated from Ulster University in 2015 with a degree in Business and French.

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.

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.

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.

Alan Watts

Alan Watts

Director

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.

Melanie Wilson

Melanie Wilson

Accounts Assistant

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

Claire McCafferty

Claire McCafferty

Project Manager (NW CAM)

Claire joined our team in 2017 to project manage the INTERREG funded North West Centre for Advanced Manufacturing (NW CAM). She is responsible for the day-to-day operations of delivering the NW CAM project through co-ordinating and reporting with the project partners. She has experience working within the higher education sector, government and private industry. Claire has a Master’s in Business Development and Innovation and an undergraduate degree in Business Studies.

Chris McAfee

Chris McAfee

Project Administrator (NW CAM)

Chris joined our team in 2017 as the Project Administrator for the North West Centre for Advanced Manufacturing (NW CAM) project and works with partners in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland to assist in establishing an Advanced Manufacturing super cluster.

Chris graduated from Queen’s University Belfast with a BA in Politics and a MA in Irish Politics. He has a wide range of experience in administrative roles across the voluntary/community and higher education sectors in Northern Ireland.

Chloe McCallan

Chloe McCallan

Personal Assistant

Chloe graduated from Ulster University with a BSc Hons Advertising Degree in 2015 and following this, spent two years in an administrative role with CCEA. Chloe joined the Catalyst Inc team in 2017 and is responsible for providing administrative support and diary management to the Chief Executive and the Senior Management team.

Grainne McGarvey

Grainne McGarvey

Marketing Executive

Grainne manages the day-to-day marketing and communications for Catalyst Inc. She brings a wealth of experience to the role having worked with some of Northern Ireland’s best known companies over the last 15 years. A natural networker, Grainne has established genuine relationships with much of the Northern Ireland media across print, broadcast and digital. She has achieved a CIM Digital Marketing Diploma which she adds to a CIM Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing and a Masters in Media & Communication Studies. She is also a graduate of UU with a BA (Hons) in Modern Studies.

Laura Wilson

Laura Wilson

Community Manager

Laura is the Community Manager for the Catalyst Belfast Fintech Hub, a Catalyst Inc and Danske Bank partnership dedicated to supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland. Laura is responsible for engaging and supporting the members whilst also managing the physical space. Laura graduated in July 2018 with a BSc in Business Management from Queen’s University Belfast and has a passion for supporting and encouraging innovation within Northern Ireland.