Our Executive Team

Dr Conor Patterson, Chief Executive

Conor has been actively involved in the economic regeneration of the Newry and Mourne and the Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland east border region since the mid-1990’s. Conor is currently a Director of Enterprise Northern Ireland, a Director of Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade, the Company Secretary of Binnian Developments Ltd (a non-profit-taking economic development partnership company active in Kilkeel), the Company Secretary of Oriel Developments Ltd (a non-profit-taking economic development partnership company active in South Armagh) and a co-opted advisor to the Board of the Newry Confederation of Community Groups.

In September 2012 Conor was appointed by Northern Ireland’s First and Deputy First Ministers to sit on the Maze/Long Kesh Development Corporation which is responsible for the development of the site of the former Maze/Long Kesh prison, the largest development site in public ownership on the island of Ireland. During the last twenty years Conor has been the President of the Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade, one of the co-ordinators of the Greater Newry Vision Partnership, the Chairman of Enterprise Northern Ireland, the federation of Local Enterprise Agencies in Northern Ireland, the Chairman of the Newry and Mourne Economic Forum, the Northern Ireland Country Desk Officer for the UK Leader+ EU rural development Network, a director of the Department of Agriculture and  Local Authority managed SOAR rural development partnership, a Governor of the Southern Regional College, the largest FE College in Northern Ireland outside Belfast and the Chair of the panel guiding a planned development of a large-scale offshore wind farm off the County Down coast by an international renewable energy consortium.

Conor was for 10 years a joint co-ordinator (alongside senior District Council officials) of the District Partnership and Local Strategy Partnership in Newry and Mourne which invested almost £10m of EU Peace and Reconciliation Programme funds in the District. He also co-managed with District Council officials an urban regeneration programme in Newry as a result of which £18m was invested by the public and private sector in transforming a previously run-down part of the City one outcome of which was the location of First Derivatives in that area. He is currently actively involved in supporting the Department for Communities Newry Neighbourhood Renewal Programme. At international level Conor has been involved in the development of enterprise initiatives in Germany, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Kosovo, Norway and Egypt. He has co-ordinated several NI/RoI cross-border trade missions to the USA (Chicago, Pittsburgh, New Hampshire, New York, Maine) and Canada (Montreal, Toronto, Sault Sainte Marie and Niagara). He has spoken on innovation in business at a number of international conferences, most recently in Spain (June 2014), Paris (April 2015), Berlin (June 2015), Amsterdam (June 2016) and Paris (October 2016). In January 2016 Conor gave evidence on the prospects for improved economic co-operation between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic to a Joint Committee of the two houses of the Irish Parliament (Oireachtas). Conor has spoken on the impact of Brexit on the Irish border region in the French National Assembly (8th of November 2016) and in the European Parliament (11th of January 2017). He gave evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee in the British House of Commons on the 30th of November 2016 and to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement in December 2016.

Before taking up his current post as Chief Executive of the Newry and Mourne Co-operative and Enterprise Agency, Conor managed a pioneering ‘Area Based Strategy’ for the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture in the South Armagh region, which was then a heavily militarised border area which had for decades been the focus of political violence.  Prior to that he was employed for nearly six years in Scotland as the Manager of Grampian Regional Council’s European Policy, Programmes and Trade Unit, headquartered in Aberdeen. He previously lectured on economic development and strategic planning at Coventry University in England where he published a comprehensive practitioner’s manual on “Inward Investment” for the Royal Town Planning Institute. Conor has a Doctorate in Business & Economics from Kingston University in London. In December 2008 his Doctoral Thesis was awarded a prize in recognition of its international significance by the EU Committee of the Regions at a ceremony in the European Parliament. He is an MSc Economics graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, and a Chartered Urban and Regional Planner. Conor is accredited as a Mediator by the Mediation Network for Northern Ireland.  He is a Member of the Institute of Business Consulting and a Member of the Institute of Economic Development.


Liam Quinn F.C.A. Financial Controller

Liam qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1995 and worked for several years in the Corporate Finance Division of Pricewaterhousecoopers in Belfast. He joined the Agency as Financial Controller in 1998 and has been involved in the delivery of support to new and growing businesses in the Newry & Mourne area. His primary role is the delivery the Business Start up programme in the Newry & Mourne Council area. Liam has also project managed the development of significant work space schemes within the Agency and its associate companies. Liam is a former President and Treasurer of Newry Credit Union and is currently Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of St Colman’s College in Newry.  He owned and operated a successful retail business for over nine years. He is currently a voluntary director of a local community business, treasurer of the Newry Scout group and treasurer of the Down Ladies GAA.


Pauline Coghlan, Senior Business Development Executive

Pauline Coghlan M.B.A. graduate has over 35 years’ experience in small business development and financial management, with over 5 years’ at senior management level.    Since joining the Agency in 2004 as Client Manager on the ‘Go For It’ programme, she has assisted with the co-ordination and delivery of various initiatives including: The Rural and Start A Business Programmes, Exploring Enterprise, The Small Business Loan Fund, Tradelinks, INI Social Enterprise Programme and The LSPs SENAM initiative with responsibility for financial control of the budget. Since 2012 Pauline has managed The BIG Lottery Work4Uplus Programme providing support to ‘at risk’ young people to improve their confidence, self-esteem and develop a range of skills enabling them to return to training or education, improve their employability or explore the world of self-employment.


Maria Coyle, Finance Officer M.I.A.T.I.

Maria has worked at Newry & Mourne Enterprise Agency for over twenty seven years as Finance Officer.  She is a fully qualified Accounting Technician with responsibility for the day-to-day book-keeping of the Newry & Mourne Enterprise Agency, where she manages the accounts for a variety of programmes, including the handling of claims from funding organisations.  She is also responsible for the day-to-day book-keeping of Oriel Developments Ltd and Binnian Developments Ltd.  Maria also supports our team and Chief Executive with administration duties.



Maeve McParland, Business Development Executive


Maeve, a Business Studies graduate has worked at Newry & Mourne Enterprise Agency for 13 years. During this time Maeve has been involved in a wide range of Programmes i.e. Social Enterprise Newry and Mourne, Enterprise Network East, Tradelinks, Start A Business Programme and Exploring Enterprise. Maeve is currently the Programme Co-ordinator of the Education2Employment Programme, funded by the Department for Communities which helps to support school pupils aged 11-18 from the Newry Neighbourhood Renewal Area attending schools in Newry helping them to prepare for the world of work, volunteering and higher and further education.


Michelle Frost, Office Services


Michelle has worked at Newry & Mourne Enterprise Agency for 24 years and provides our team with administration support for our programmes. She also works with our external clients providing backup office support services.



Colin Hanna, IT and Research Manager

In his role as IT Manager, Colin maintains and develops a sophisticated suite of onsite ICT systems and websites as well as providing day-to-day support to both staff and tenants. As Research Manager he regularly provides technical input for strategy documents and reports published by e.g. Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade. Colin has delivered ICT advice and training across a range of business development programmes; he is currently the area manager for the Co-innovate Programme which is supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme. Colin is also working on the YouthNest Programme, an EU sponsored initiative under the auspices of the Erasmus+ Programme which will help to promote employment in the creative sectors in rural areas of Europe.


Jennifer Malone, Property Manager

Jennifer heads our Commercial Property Development Team and also has 37 years’ experience as a member of our Business Support Team. Jennifer has an extensive knowledge of industrial property and has been responsible for managing 4 industrial estates totalling over 178,500sq ft.  Jennifer manages the property portfolio for the Co Operative Ltd, including the facilitation of SMEs in their requirements for suitable and affordable workspace. Jennifer has been the project officer for the heritage lotteries fund for the regeneration of Canal Street and Sugar Island for 5 years. Jennifer is a Member of the Institute of Business Advisors. Jennifer is also a board member for the Women’s Network Newry & Armagh, and also the labour and Education Forum.


Kieran Mathers, Senior Business Development Executive

Kieran has over twenty-five years experience in industry having worked as a Systems Manager with Norbrook Laboratories, a leading veterinary pharmaceutical company.  He is a Quality specialist and was self-employed as a Quality Systems Consultant before joining Newry & Mourne Enterprise Agency in 2002.  Kieran was the operational manager for the SEED Business Development Programmes, Businesspoint and the Rural Enterprise Awareness Programme and was the programme manager for Tradelinks, a 12 countywide programme supporting the micro-enterprise sector. Currently Kieran is the programme Manager for the INTERREG VA funded Co-innovate Programme, an innovation support programme delivered across NI, the 6 Border Counties of ROI and Western Scotland. Kieran has a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry and Biology and he plays a role in maintaining the Agency’s ISO 9001 accreditation.


Stephen McClelland, BSc (Hons). DMS. MBA. Senior Social Enterprise Executive

Stephen is an experienced Senior Business Development Executive with a demonstrated history of working in the management consulting industry. He is skilled and experienced in Social Enterprise, Business Planning, Coaching, Entrepreneurship, Strategic Planning and Partnership Working. Stephen is a strong business professional with an honours degree in Psychology, a Postgraduate diploma in Management Studies and is a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) focused in International Business from University of Ulster. He has 40 years of experience in the community and voluntary sector and 15 years of public sector senior management experience. For the last 15 years he has managed and delivered social enterprise support the sector on behalf of Newry & Mourne Enterprise Agency. Stephen has managed the Community Business Start-Up Programme in the Southern Region, the Invest NI Social Entrepreneurship Programme, Newry LSP’s Social Enterprise Newry & Mourne programme, the Department for Communities South Eastern Social Enterprise Hub and Newry Mourne and Down District Council’s Social Enterprise Newry, Mourne Down programme.  Stephen has provided consultancy support to numerous private sector businesses under the Start a Business, Tradelinks and Leader Rural Development Programmes. Stephen has a wide range of experience working on the boards of a number of social enterprises and community based organisations and represents NMEA on various DEA and Community Planning fora.