Mr Tony O’Neill OBE, Chair
Mr Tony O’Neill OBE, Chair
Tony O’Neill is Group Deputy Chief Executive of Dunbia Ltd. Alongside his Chairmanship of the AFSB, he is Joint-Chair of the Future Skills Action Group and a past Chair of the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association. Prior to his appointment at Dunbia Ltd, he was Marketing and Business Development Director of Moy Park, as well as a Director of the British Poultry Council, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Poultry Federation and Chairman of Rose Energy. He was also a previous Member of the Industry Advisory Panel which jointly produced the Focus on Food strategy.
 
Tony graduated from the University of Ulster in 1977 with a BSc (Hons) Engineering and took up a position with Davidson and Co., where he remained until 1986. He was then employed by a number of high profile companies such as Coopers and Lybrand, Dalgety, Nestle, Premier Foods (Group Operations Director), WD Irwin and Sons (Chief Executive) and Moy Park Limited (Further Processing Director) before taking up the position as Managing Director within the O’Kane Poultry Group in 2005. Tony returned to Moy Park with the acquisition of O’Kane Poultry in 2010 before leaving to join Dunbia in 2014.

 

Mr Declan Billington
Mr Declan Billington
Since 2005 Declan has been the Managing Director of John Thompson and Sons Ltd, the UK’s largest multispecies animal feed mill. Responsible for the overall strategic direction and performance of the company. Prior to this he was Finance Director and then Managing Director of Copeland (NI) Ltd (1997-2005), a production facility which is part of a US business involved in the manufacturing of air conditioning and refrigeration compressors.
 
Currently Chair of NIFDA and representing Northern Ireland on the Board of the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC), Mr Billington has previously been President of Northern Ireland Grain Trade Association (2010/11), Chair of Skills Sub-Group of Economic Development Forum (2006-07), Chair of CBI (2006-08) and Chair of Economic Affairs Committee of CBI (2003-05). Mr Billington was responsible for the development and implementation of recommendations of the NI Industry Food Assurance Group following the Dioxin scare working with all sectors within the industry and is a member of the Institute of Global Food Security Industry Advisory Board.
Mr Owen Brennan
Mr Owen Brennan
Owen is Executive Chairman of Devenish Nutrition, an agri-technology company which has grown to be an international, technology driven, research-focussed organisation.

Member of the Food Strategy Group (2004), which produced the Fit For Market Report. Former Chairman of the Livestock and Meat Commission (2002-2009) and President of the Northern Ireland Grain Trade Association on three occasions, 2002, 2012 and 2013.
Dr David Dobbin CBE
Dr David Dobbin CBE
Dr David Dobbin CBE is Chairman of Belfast Harbour, Chairman of Dairy UK (the UK dairy trade association) and a member of KPMG NI advisory board. Dr Dobbin has extensive international business experience in the agrifood and packaging industries having previously been the Group Chief Executive of Dale Farm, the UK’s largest dairy cooperative for 16 years and held Senior Executive roles Boxmore International Plc, Dalgety Plc, C&C and Rothmans International. He is actively involved in the development of the agrifood sector and regional economy and was Chairman of a number of organisations including the Northern Ireland Food & Drink Association, CBI NI, the Princes Trust and was President of the NI Grain Trade. He was appointed as an expert to the EU Agri Markets Task Force in February 2016.   He also Chaired the Energy in Manufacturing Advisory Group to the NI Economy Department which issued its report in the Spring of 2016. A passionate rugby enthusiast, Dr Dobbin is Chairman of Ulster Rugby Management Committee and Vice Chair of Ireland/Northern Ireland’s 2023 Rugby World Cup bid.
 
Mr Jim Dobson OBE
Mr Jim Dobson OBE
Group Chief Executive and co-owner of Dunbia operating from 9 production facilities with over 3,000 employees.  Appointed Dunbia Group Management Board to bring a diverse mix of skills and perspectives. Developed a strategic plan for the organisation centred around key strategic themes with challenging performance targets and KPIs.  Rebranded the organisation to provide a focus for marketing activity, which has driven sales, particularly across Europe.
 
Jim was named UK IoD Large Company Director of the Year for 2014.
 
Since 2010, Jim has been a Non-Executive Director for ‘Caring for Life’, a charity which provides accommodation and support for homeless and vulnerable people in Leeds through farming and animal care.
 
Mr Trevor Lockhart
Mr Trevor Lockhart
Currently Chief Executive of Fane Valley Co-operative Society since 2007. Prior to this he was Deputy Chief Executive from 2006 to 2007, and Project Development Manager from 2004.   Also currently Chairman of the renewable energy company Linergy, Chairman of Linden Foods, a Director of the Scotland-based company United Farmers and a Director of the Republic of Ireland-based Slaney Foods.

Mr Lockhart was the Chair of the Food Industry Advisory Panel (IAP) established by the DETI and DARD Ministers in August 2008 which jointly produced the Focus on Food strategy. Mr Lockhart held this position from 2008 until February 2012 when the IAP ceased to exist, to be replaced by the new Agri-Food Strategy Board.
 
Mr Lockhart was appointed Vice- Chairman of the CBI in 2017.

 

Mr Ian Marshall
Mr Ian Marshall
Ian Marshall farms in Co. Armagh. The family farm consists of a heifer rearing business, beef enterprise, and a small area of cereals.
 
Ian is a past pupil of Greenmount College and has completed a Masters in Agri Food Business Development at UU in 2009. He was President of the Ulster Farmers Union until April 2016 and has recently been appointed Chair of Lantra's National Council in NI; he is a trustee of Agrisearch and a member of the Farm Safety Partnership and is also a professional member of the Institute of Agricultural Management (PIAgrM). He currently is a member of the ownership body of Assured Food Standards (Red Tractor Assurance) and an Executive Committee Member of the Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster.  He also previously sat on the College Advisory Group to CAFRE. 
Mr Francis Martin
Mr Francis Martin
A chartered accountant by profession, Francis Martin is a Partner in BDO Northern Ireland, a member of the global accountancy and business advisory firm, where he is Head of Corporate Finance and of Global Outsourcing Services. He served as Managing Partner between 2008 and 2013. 
 
Francis leads the Firm’s Corporate Finance and Global Outsourcing Teams in BDO Northern Ireland.  Recognised as one of Northern Ireland’s leading business advisers, Francis has over 20 years’ experience in corporate finance, business strategy development, advising Northern Ireland’s largest organisations as well as SMEs across a broad range of sectors. He was awarded Northern Ireland Dealmaker of the Year 2016. 
 
Francis was a Board Member of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry between 2009 and 2015 and served as President between 2010 and 2012. He has been a Board Member of the British Chambers of Commerce since 2012 and was Vice President from 2013. He was appointed President in July 2016 and is the first Northern Ireland President in the 156 History of the British Chambers of Commerce.
 
He was also invited by the Northern Ireland Executive in 2014 to join the Advisory Board to the Stormont Committee charged with undertaking, and implementing the findings from, a detailed review of Red Tape in Northern Ireland. The results of the review were published in early 2016.
 
He is Chairman and Director of Lagan College, Northern Ireland’s leading integrated, all ability, all religions, co-educational school.
Mr John Thompson
Mr John Thompson
John has been the Chairman of Animal Health and Welfare Northern Ireland (AHWNI) since its launch in September 2012.  He is an Honorary member of the British Veterinary Association Northern Ireland Branch, and a member of the NFU Mutual Northern Ireland Advisory Board since 2007, becoming Chairman in 2014.  John has been a Board member of Rural Support since 2012, and was the inaugural Chair of Open Farm Weekend.  He is a former President and Deputy President of the Ulster Farmers Union.  He is also a dairy farmer.
Mr David Small
Mr David Small
David held various posts within the NICS before moving to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in 2002, where he was Director of Policy until early 2007, with responsibilities for the environment and food. In January 2007, he moved to take up the position of Chief Executive in Forest Service, one of the Department’s Agencies, returning to the core Department in July 2011 when he assumed the role of Deputy Secretary with responsibility for the Department’s Service Delivery Group. In this role, he has responsibilities for the delivery of the Single Farm Payment, LFACA, Agri-environment Schemes, education and training delivery through the Department’s colleges at CAFRE, and the delivery of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme. 
 
Following the restructuring of the NI Departments in May 2016, he was appointed Deputy Secretary with responsibility for Environment, Marine and Fisheries group within the newly created Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.  His role encompasses regulatory and advisory responsibilities for air, land and water and includes an advocacy role in promoting understanding of and access to the countryside.
 
Mr Brian Dolaghan
Mr Brian Dolaghan
Invest NI is Northern Ireland’s main economic development agency. Brian holds the position of Executive Director,  Business & Sector Development Group which has responsibility for the account management of strategic and growth businesses across a number of sectoral divisions. The Group has an annual programme budget of about £40m and staff of over 100.
In his ten years with Invest Northern Ireland Brian has held the roles of Director of Business Services, Director of Engineering and Business Services and Finance Director. Having qualified as a Chartered Accountant, with Price Waterhouse, he spent ten years in Corporate Finance roles with the Industrial Development Board (NI) and Viridian plc before spending six years as Group Finance Director with the Heyn Group, a long established NI based Group involved in materials handling, shipping and logistics. 
Brian replaced Jeremy Fitch as a member of the Agri-Food Strategy Board.
Mr Norman Fulton
Mr Norman Fulton
Norman Fulton is Deputy Secretary with responsibility for the Food & Farming Group within DAERA. This role brings together policy and delivery services which impact across the food and farming sectors in NI, contributing to the wider strategic policy and direction of the Department.
 
Prior to this, he was Director of Policy and Economics within DARD, with lead responsibility for the provision of economic analysis and advice. He was also the policy lead for the recent Pillar 1 CAP reforms, and acted as sponsor within DARD for the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute.

 

Mr Eugene Rooney
Eugene Rooney was Senior Finance Director and Head of Management Services Group in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in October 2013.  He is responsible for Departmental Financial Management, Corporate Services, and the department’s Business Regulation Services.  He joined DETI from DHSSPS where he had responsibility for healthcare reform, primary care policy, and oversight of the Health and Social Care Board and the six Health Trusts. He previously worked in the Department of Education, the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Ministers and the Department of Finance and Personnel.
 
Eugene has recently taken over as Deputy Director in the new Department for Economy. His Directorate is Operational Policy – Delivery through ALBs with responsibility for Further Education, Youth Policy, Business Engagement and Quality Improvement.