Mr Borla has been an active member of Waterford Chamber for many years and said in his opening address that at this stage he is ‘nearly more Waterford than French’ having lived and worked in his adopted county for so long.
“To be part of such a rich heritage and to contribute in some small way is a very proud thing for me and my family, who are deeply rooted in this community”, he said.
Looking forward to the year ahead, Laurent announced job creation and economic growth as his key priorities, with a particular emphasis on start-ups and technology.
“I admit I love toys, I admire innovators and technology fascinates me. With these interests, Waterford is a great place to live, particularly as it is becoming a highly respected innovative technologically advanced city.”
Mr Borla said as the leading advocate for business in Waterford, Chamber intends to lobby new Minister of State for Training and Skills John Halligan at the earliest opportunity.
“We want jobs, we want education, we want skills and training and we as a Chamber won’t be afraid to ask for it. Waterford Chamber acts as a voice for all business and we are acutely aware of the challenges that businesses face.
“It is our priority to address those issues at a local, regional and national level. We will continue to work closely with Waterford City & County Council, the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and other key stakeholders including our membership, to secure future job creation opportunities for Waterford and the South East Region.”
Outgoing President Michael O’Dwyer said lots has been done to rebuild Waterford and there is still plenty to do.
“Waterford is steadily becoming a vibrant city to do business and we in Chamber are very proud to have been a strategic stakeholder in making this happen.
“There is so much to look forward to now – the significant infrastructural work ongoing and planned for our City, the strategic development zoning of the North Quays with demolition work underway, the plans for a new shopping centre, the Apple Market is due a major face-lift as part of the Urban Renewal Development, ArcLabs is about to undergo a major expansion, jobs being created by many of our leading companies, the West Pharma construction is at an advanced stage…..these are just some of the highlights and the list goes on.
“All of these factors and initiatives, in addition to the changing cityscape, have the potential to deliver a very significant economic boost for Waterford and the SE Region in the years ahead.”
Chamber CEO Nick Donnelly reported that Chamber is performing better than it has in years, which was reiterated by Treasurer Ronan Brazil, who confirmed that membership was growing and Chamber is in a very solid position to develop going forward.
Following official proceedings, the newly elected Board of Directors was announced with Paul Nolan of Dawn Meats being elected as Deputy President; the role of Vice President goes to Kathryn Kiely (WIT), while Teresa Jane O’Mahoney (BMCI Insurance & Investments) and Ronan Brazil (O’Sullivan Scanlon Brazil) are being retained as Company Secretary and Treasurer respectively.
In addition, the ladies came to the fore during the election process, taking seven of the 11 seats on the board with Ciara O’Connor (PricewaterhouseCoopers), Maria Clifford (Book A Room/Liberty Blue Estate Agents), Pamela Pim (Bank of Ireland) and Jacqui Kielthy (Fieldmaster) joining Neil Kenneally, (Cantec Business Technology) as the new faces on the Board.
Existing Directors Danette Connolly (Home Instead Senior Care/NAS Centre), Jonathan Earl (B2B Communications), Kieran Walsh (The Munster Express), Nora Widger (Theatre Royal), Tina Darrer (Dooley’s Hotel) and Tony Power (Bausch & Lomb) were also re-elected to serve for the next two years.