Plenary Speakers

Dr. Edmond Harty

Dr. Harty is CEO of Dairymaster has been involved in the dairy farm equipment industry during his entire working and academic life. While completing his PhD in University College Dublin he developed a new method for the evaluation of milking units by measuring performance under flow conditions. The methodology he invented then became the adopted international standard for performance measurement of machine milking. In May 2017, Edmund was appointed as Adjunct Full Professor in the School of Biosystems and Food Engineering at UCD College of Engineering and Architecture.

Through his leadership and, in particular, the advances and innovations he has introduced, Dairymaster is now a world leader in technology for dairy farming. Dr Harty's concentration is always on future possibilities, scientifically developed and proven. The level of patent applications (over 45 so far) speaks to his commitment to innovation. Dr Harty and Dairymaster apply physics, chemistry, mechanics, software, electronics and fluid dynamics to an industry in need of technological revolutions. His expertise has been recognised internationally and he was the youngest person appointed to the top three scientific committees globally in the dairy industry including the International Dairy Federation, the ISO standards and the US based National Mastitis Council milking expert groups, largely as a result of his PhD on milking performance. Dr Harty is certified in Ireland for the installation and testing of milking equipment and is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of Engineers Ireland. Dr Harty was elected to the Board of Directors of Agri-Aware, which is a charitable trust that creates awareness, builds understanding and educates consumers about agriculture.

In Ireland he has previously been named the international and overall Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. He was also a finalist in the World Entrepreneur of Year competition held in Monte Carlo.

Barry Kennedy

Barry is currently CEO of Irish Manufacturing Research ltd. ( having previously worked until 2014 as New Business and Strategic Program manager for Ireland Fab Operations in Intel and on secondment as CEO of 2 cross sector research centres for manufacturing productivity (ICMR - Irish Centre for Manufacturing Research) and energy efficiency (i2e2 - Innovation for Irelands Energy Efficiency). These centres have been set up in partnership with multinational and national indigenous companies across ICT, pharmaceutical, bio medical, heavy industry and food sectors. He qualified with an MSc from University of Dublin, Trinity College Dublin in 1996 and has worked in a research environment in Trinity College Dublin for 10 years before commencing work with Intel. He has worked in a number of senior engineering roles in Intel as process integration, failure analysis engineer. He has worked in a number of management roles within Intel such as Laboratory and Failure Analysis manager, Process Integration manager, Device, Process Control and Statistics manager, Yield Analysis manager, Quality and Reliability manager, Yield Q&R department manager.

Lionel Alexander

Mr. Alexander is the former CEO of HP Ireland and Vice-President / Managing Director of HP Global Consumer Supplies Business & Development. He brings a wealth of significant relevant Enterprise and Board experience to current role of Chair of the Governing Body of the Institute of Technology, Tralee. He has served as a Board Member on the Irish Development Authority (IDA) since 2009. He was previously both the President and a Board Member of the American Chamber of Commerce and also served a six year period as a Board Member of the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC). He was also the Governing Board Chairman of Information Communication Technology (ICT) Ireland.

Mr. Alexander also has a longstanding interest in developing the talent and competencies of Irish students which he sees as key to driving future economic growth and prosperity for the country. In his role as chair of ICT Ireland he contributed to the introduction of Bonus Points for those taking Honours Level Maths in the Leaving Certificate which has led to an increase in the numbers of students taking Higher Level Maths over recent years.

Professor. Shane Ward is professor of Biosystems Engineering (also known as Agricultural & Food Engineering) at UCD. UCD is Ireland's premier university (ranked in the top 2% of universities worldwide). Professor Ward specialises in the application of "smart systems" within the agri-food industry, to enable efficiency optimisation and minimisation of environmental impact. He has extensive academic and senior management experience. He served (2008-2011) on the Senior Management Team (SMT) Executive of the university and also as Head (2008-2011) of UCD's largest and most research active school, the UCD School of Agriculture, Food Science & Veterinary Medicine, including Biosystems Engineering. He is Director of the Smart Systems Unit (SSU). The Smart Systems Unit Team comprises of two academics (Prof Ward & Dr Brennan); three postdoctoral researchers (Drs. Shanahan, Jackman and Cushen) and several graduate students. The Team works closely with industry, and has a number of "smart systems" ranging from TRL2-7 stages under development, some deployed within the industry. The application of the internet of things and "BIG DATA" to the agri-food industry is a major focus of the Team: specializing in agri-food data mining and transformation into knowledge to enhance the efficiency of the agri-food sector. The Team has published extensively in this area.

Prof. Conor McCarthy is an Associate Professor of Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Limerick and the Centre Director for the new SFI Confirm Centre for Smart Manufacturing, with 8 academic Institutions and 45 industrial partners. Prof. McCarthy's main area of research is in joining lightweight materials, mostly for high performance structural applications, where he has published over 120 papers and four book chapters. He currently leads a large research group looking at novel joining methods (see Prof. McCarthy is a Science Foundation Ireland Principle Investigator and leads major research programmes in Engineering Science. His interests include bolted, bonded and thermally joined composites, multi-scale damage mechanics and non-linear finite element analysis.