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The Chairman: Manufacturing NI brings together leaders in sector for launch of Manufacturing Month

In Pictures: Manufacturing Month launch at The MAC in Belfast Close

Nigel Birney, Mary Meehan, Johnny Hanna and Andy Hodgson

Nigel Birney, Mary Meehan, Johnny Hanna and Andy Hodgson

Bill Montgomery, Stephen Kelly and Noel Brown

Bill Montgomery, Stephen Kelly and Noel Brown

Mark McAllister, Leah Smyth, Julie McCallion and Andrew McBurney

Mark McAllister, Leah Smyth, Julie McCallion and Andrew McBurney

Nigel Birney, Ian McCreevy and Conrad Smyth

Nigel Birney, Ian McCreevy and Conrad Smyth

Adrian McCourt, Tom Verner and John Mathers

Adrian McCourt, Tom Verner and John Mathers

Siobhan Marley, Fran McKee and Sarah-Ann Gamble

Siobhan Marley, Fran McKee and Sarah-Ann Gamble

The panel at the launch of Manufacturing Month NI

The panel at the launch of Manufacturing Month NI

Nigel Birney, Mary Meehan, Johnny Hanna and Andy Hodgson

There’s little else in this world that the Chairman enjoys more than being conscious before the sun’s had a chance to raise its head up above the horizon.

But it was the turn of an important showcase for Northern Ireland’s manufacturing sector that got this fella up early. The MAC played host to the launch of Manufacturing Month – an event running throughout March, run by Manufacturing NI, to highlight the success stories among the sector.

Hosted alongside Ulster Business, editor John Mulgrew was joined by Manufacturing NI chief executive Stephen Kelly, deputy Mary Meehan and a panel of experts to discuss everything from Brexit, to Flybe, coronavirus and the place manufacturing has within our economy.

They were joined by Johnny Hanna, partner in charge at KPMG, Nigel Birney, head of trade credit at Willis Towers Watson, and Andy Hodgson from Siemens.

“While there may be a softening in some sectors you only need to leaf through a copy of Ulster Business to see the success stories of a wide swathe of companies, many family-owned and run, and many of the flagships coming from within our manufacturing sector,” John Mulgrew told those gathered.

“Last year’s Top 100 edition, which showcases our largest firms, is one indication of that, and our Next 200 in April shows both sales and profits are up among our leading SMEs.”

Those turning out included Siobhan Marley, Fran McKee and Sarah-Ann Gamble, along with Adrian McCourt, Tom Verner and John Mathers. Also making the trip the event were Ian McCreevy, Conrad Smyth, Mark McAllister, Leah Smyth, Julie McCallion, Andrew McBurney, Bill Montgomery and Noel Brown.

Stephen Kelly told those gathered that “the manufacturing sector is innovating and flourishing across Northern Ireland.”

“The skills base is distinct with educational institutions equipping our young people with the skills they need to develop the industry further. Global investment is strong, with areas such as Mid Ulster and the North West becoming central bases for leading international manufacturers to set up in.”