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New CEO appointed to relaunched Laois Chamber of Commerce

New Laois Chamber CEO Bernie Everard and new president Martin Crowley

A vastly experienced businesswoman has been appointed to head up the recently relaunched Laois Chamber of Commerce.

The new CEO of the Laois Chamber is Bernie Everard.

Her appointment comes following months of painstaking preparations, consultations and ultimately interviews as part of the process of getting a Laois Chamber off the ground again.

The revival of the Laois Chamber of Commerce was identified as a top priority by the Laois County Council Chief Executive, John Mulholland.

The local authority have worked closely with the business, commercial and industrial sectors and stakeholders in the county to get a reformed Laois Chamber up and running.

This process was spearheaded and conducted by interim Board Chairman, Ciarán Finane of Finline Furtniture.

The new Laois Chamber of Commerce has been officially formed and the appointment of a new full time Chief Executive is significant progress which will now serve as a catalyst for further developments and more visible Chamber activity in the months ahead.

Bernie Everard has been involved with the award-winning Kildare Chamber of Commerce for the past seven years, most recently as Business Development Manager.

Bernie holds qualifications from Carlow IT, UCC and UCD. She was also a founder and director of her family-run business, Splate, specialising in artisan and craft food gifts for the Irish and tourist market, particularly in the US.

Her responsibilities included the day-to-day operations, managing client accounts and new product development from concept to commercialisation and marketing.

In another significant boost for the new Laois Chamber, highly successful entrepreneur, Martin Crowley has agreed to take up the role as Chamber President. A native of Cork, Martin founded the hugely successful food distribution and wholesale company Wilbar Ltd, based at Morette, Emo.

“I feel very privileged to have been offered the role of Chief Executive of the new Laois Chamber,” said Bernie.

“My plan is to create a membership organisation for the business community in Laois that will encourage engagement, connection and economic prosperity.

“I’m very encouraged by the positive attitude and warm welcome I have received to date from all involved in the process.”

According to the new Chamber President Martin Crowley: “Laois is the most central location in Ireland for any business to locate particularly with its road network and easy access to the main cities, all within 90 minutes.

“It certainly contributed to the success of my businesses over the years. I see one of the vital roles of the Chamber as bringing new companies and more importantly new jobs to Laois.”

The interview process was conducted by an interim Board chaired by local businessman, Ciarán Finane of Finline Furniture.

“We were overwhelmed by the response and the extremely strong applications for the full time Chamber CEO position.

“Following a lengthy and rigorous interview process, the Chamber were delighted to offer Bernie and Martin the roles of CEO and President.

“We were very impressed by their shared vision, drive and commitment to support business in Laois and towards creating new business dynamic in the county.”

Laois Chamber CEO Bernie Everard with president Martin Crowley (left) and interim chairman Ciaran Finane

Ciaran is joined on the interim board by a further four directors; Conor McGarry of Powerpoint Engineering; Alison Browne of Browne’s Jewellers; David Walsh-Kemmis of Ballykilcavan Brewery and Paul Muldowney, Bank of Ireland.

The establishment of the Chamber has been strongly supported by the Chief Executive of Laois County Council, John Mulholland, Evelyn Reddin of the Laois Enterprise Office and Denise Rainey of the Business Support Unit at County Hall.

The new Chamber office is located in the same building as the Laois Tourism office in Lyster Square, Portlaoise.

An official Laois Chamber of Commerce launch event will be held on Tuesday, September 24, with more details to follow.

For any information on the Chamber you can contact Bernie Everard on 0852522566 or email bernie@laoischamber.ie

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