30 May Belfast Bound

We traveled from Dublin to Belfast today and were greeted by Norman Apsley who is the CEO of the Northern Ireland Science Park.  We first toured the Titanic dock and finally got a picture of all of us!

IMG_2405The Science Park has activities and organizations too numerous to name, but one is NISP CONNECT –  a leadership platform and catalyst between Northern Ireland’s entrepreneurs, research institutions, investors, technology corporations and professional service providers.  NISP CONNECT accelerates the growth of knowledge-based companies bro commercialize world-class research and IP. A joint effort between Northern Ireland’s academic research base, University of Ulster, Queen’s University Belfast, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, and Northern Ireland’s private sector, the CONNECT programmes are designed to facilitate a culture of collaboration between the region’s highest quality science and technology entrepreneurs, research institutions, professional services providers and investors.

Norman stressed that leadership and business success come only when being collaborative, believing in what you’re doing, and a focus on commercialization.  To give you an idea on how Norman’s brain works, consider that when explaining “simple” business concepts, he’ll divert into talk on Bell’s theorem of quantum mechanics.  He’s not know for being one of the top physicists in the world for nothing!

Gary Wilmot, the new managing director from Andor, said, ‘It’s all about having the right people – and companies need people who are crazy ambitious and motivated!”

Gary Hamilton was the CEO at Omiino and successfully sold to Xilinx.  He is not pursuing a new start-up.  He shared invaluable “recipe” cards of what worked and what didn’t.  For example on the plus side – great team, strategy, vision, timing, execution, communication, structure and process, and shared equity.  On lessons learned – raising capital, valuation, small client base, inadequate sales team.




Successful entrepreneur Colm McGoldrick is pictured here with his wonderful family.  Suffice it to say, we were privileged to share in a very special life moment that is only Colm’s story to tell.








Lastly, a visit to Belfast would not be complete without the wit and wisdom of one Bryan Keating.  A humbler man I have never met.  My take-away this time was that part of job satisfaction is that it must have a level of complexity.  As a motivator, providing it costs nothing and yields engagement beyond measure.

I end the day feeling quite proud; but mostly grateful.  An exceedingly satisfying day.

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