Members have been appointed by the Minister for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in accordance with the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA) NI Code of Practice. The Chair receives an annual remuneration of £26,248 and is expected to commit approximately 40 days per annum to the post. The Deputy Chair receives £10,941 and has a commitment in the region of 20 days per annum.
Mr. Colm McKenna (AFBI Chairperson)
Mr. McKenna was previously Deputy Chair of Investment Belfast (Belfast City Council) and Chair of the NI Euro Preparations Forum (DETI). He is a Business Administration Graduate from Manchester Business School.
Mr. McKenna is Chairman of the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, Chairman of Northern Ireland Confederation for Health and Social Care (NICON), Chairman of BBC NI Appeals Advisory Committee, Chairman of the NI Assembly Secretariat Audit and Risk Committee, Chairman of NI Food Advisory Committee, a non-executive director of the Food Standards Agency, a non-executive director of the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service, Chairman of Club Aontroma, a registered charity responsible for fundraising to assist Antrim GAA.
Colm lives in Glenavy, Co Antrim with his wife Giuseppa and they have two grown-up children and six grandchildren.
Prof. Bill McKelvey OBE (AFBI Deputy Chairperson)
He was Chief Executive and Principal of the Scottish Agricultural College for ten years until early 2012. He is a Non-Executive Director of Scotland’s largest farming business, Glenrath Farms. He holds one other Ministerial appointment: he is a member of the Board of the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.
He holds a first class honours degree in veterinary science from the University of Glasgow, a postgraduate diploma from the University of Guelph, Canada, and a PhD from the University of Aberdeen. He also holds an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from the University of Edinburgh.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and was awarded an OBE in 2011 for services to Agriculture.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies, and was recently elected as the Moderator of the Scottish Panel of the Council for the Awards for the Royal Agricultural Societies. He is also Chair of the Farmers' Club selection panel for the annual Pinnacle Awards made to Agriculture students from across the UK.
Mrs. Maureen McKeague
Maureen is currently Chief Executive Officer with Derg Valley Care, a local charity which provides health and social care. Maureen has worked tirelessly to develop DVC as a high-quality social care provider, winning the prestigious National Training Award – individual category in 2010.
Maureen has spent much of her spare time researching the benefits of complementary therapy and coaching as a supportive intervention for long term conditions, graduating in the first cohort as a Mental Health and Wellbeing Life Coach in 2015 through Kingstown College and is currently working towards a coaching supervision diploma as well as furthering qualifications in sport and physical activity field.
Mr. Colin Coffey
Mr. Coffey has held a number of senior management posts within the Northern Ireland Food Industry including Chief Executive of United Feeds and Manufacturing Director at Pritchitt Foods. He is currently non Executive Chairman of Flint Studios a software development company, 4 Beauty Group a specialist skincare company and is Corporate Services Director of the RDA Group a specialist Property Development company.
Mr. Ian Buchanan
He is a member of the Ulster Farmers’ Union having served as the Rural Development Chair and is the immediate past Chair of the Hill Farming Committee. He is the elected Northern Ireland Regional member for the British Wool Marketing Board and is currently the Chairman. He is also a member of the Northern Ireland committee of Lakeland Dairies.
Ian is married to Pamela and they have five grown up children.
Dr. Michelle Costello-Smith
Dr. Costello-Smith has held numerous NCHD clinical positions in the Irish Public healthcare system (HSE) managing patient clinical care prior to transitioning into the pharmaceutical industry in 2000. With over 16 years experience working in roles of increasing responsibility in: Quintiles (Clinical Research Organisation), 2004 AstraZeneca (UK), 2008 Abbott Ireland Ltd and 2013 AbbVie Limited, Dr. Costello-Smith has successfully executed and managed National Research & Development (R&D) academic and clinical programmes. Her accomplishments include: developing and implementing a national medical department for successful delivery of: all local national clinical research, national medical strategy, quality assurance and related governance / procedural / audit oversight, compliance regulatory and medical affairs activities, in addition to budget management.
In her most recent role as Medical Director of an international biopharmaceutical company, she has been a senior leader within the management team of the national commercial organisation prior to taking a career break in March 2016 to raise her young children on the family beef and sheep farm in rural County Meath.
Ms. Theresa Cullen
Ms. Cullen holds an MSc in Counselling and Therapeutic Communication from the University of Ulster, is a BACP Accredited and UK Registered Counsellor/Psychotherapist, an EMDR Practitioner, specialising in Trauma Therapy and has held a number of senior Clinical Service Management roles in a range of organisations. Theresa lives with her partner in Co. Antrim.
Mrs. Fiona Hanna
Fiona Hanna lives on the family farm in rural County Down near Rathfriland. She is a member of Rathfriland Young Farmers Club, having previously held a Directorship with the Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster.
Dr. Richard Horton
Dr. Horton was Group Manager in Cable and Wireless PLC (London) and Director for the European Network for Communications and Information Perspectives (ENCIP, France) where he led policy and socio-economic research. He has also worked as a consultant in strategic business development, policy and regulation and was Senior Programme Manager at the Commission for Communications Regulation (Ireland) working in technology foresight and regulation. More recently, he worked as a consultant in technological innovation, strategic business development, policy and regulation at White Rose Consulting (NI) and is founder and Managing Director of Carritech Research Ltd (NI).
Ms. Joan Houston
Ms. Houston was a founding member of the Insolvency Licensing Committee and Chairman since 2007 at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (CAI) and its Chartered Accountant Regulatory Board and is its representative for the UK Joint Insolvency Council. In September 2016 she was appointed to the Regulatory Policy Board for CAI. Ms. Houston was elected as NI Representative in 2012 (having previously been NI Chairman) of the UK Association of Business Recovery Professionals Council -R3. She is a member of NI Insolvency Rules Committee. Ms. Houston has served as a General Commissioner for Tax for 20 years and as Governor, Chairman and Finance Director at Hunterhouse College.
Mrs. Sharon Smyth
Following early retirement in 2013, she opened her own Business and Financial Consultancy business SME Smyth Business & Financial Consultant. Mrs. Smyth works with a variety of organisations including: Countryside Rural Agri Partnership, Rural Support, Derry City and Coleraine Borough Councils as well as Enterprise NI – Business Start-Up (formally known as NI Small Business Loan Fund). Mrs. Smyth currently volunteers as Chairperson of "Ardstraw Against Trafficking", an anti-human trafficking awareness group. Mrs. Smyth has also travelled extensively with various missionary organisations, travelling as far as India, the Andaman Islands, Zimbabwe and Romania; working with those who are severely disadvantaged and in need.
Mr. Richard Solomon
Following this, Mr. Solomon worked as a Solicitor at MKB Russells, ABR Plc and Sheldon and Stewart, dealing in Commercial, Corporate, Banking, Litigation and Franchising Law. From 2013 Mr. Solomon has been a Director of the Victims and Survivors Service and sits as a Legal Aid Panel Member for the Legal Services Agency.