“To be taken seriously you have to speak the language.”
Anne Marie Tierney Le Roux knows this better than anyone. The new IDA manager for the South East Region, a new structure to ensure that a jobs focus is really hammered home in the region which suffered the highest increase in unemployment during the recession.
Anne Marie is from Kilkenny, knows Kilkenny and the South East and has spent her entire career bringing business to Ireland from Europe; and her posting at the European IDA headquarters in Paris.
So she knows the language of business, the language of Europe and of course the language of the locals and what’s needed for the region.
“I’ve had a really busy start, the appointment in January 2015 was a new appointment to the South East Region. The role was previously managed from Cork and its an important signal from the IDA in driving jobs to Kilkenny and the South East region. I have metmet key stakeholders - exising companies, indigenous companies, meeting with the county council, the acting CEO, recruitment companies, accountancy firms everybody that can help me to sell Kilkenny and the South East region.”
Anne Marie is the daughter of James and mary Tierney from Jenkinstown. James is a retired school teacher who taught at the vocational school. She went to St Canice’s NS and Loreto Secondary Sechool, before completing her Leaving Cert there and moving on to UCD where she studied Law. Completing that, it was on to London where she became an Associate of the International Chartered Marketing of Europe and them a Masters in MSC and International Marketing in Glamorgan University in Wales.
She then worked at PwC consulting before returning to work for the IDA in the South East Region from 2002 to 2007. Then it was off to Paris for the opening of a new IDA office, eventually managing the IDA team for Europe from there.
At present the IDA has backed 65 companies in the South East, creating employment for 12,000 people. Anne Marie also sees her role as maintining strong links with those companies, ensuring they increase their mandate in the South East and recent job announcements have been very positive - like Bausch and Lamb.
“Each job is a family, one job from foreign investment leads to seven. I am old and enough and young enough to remember the closure of Fieldcrest, people still talk about that and the impact when employment is taken away.
“There is a new focus by IDA, with very strong investment targets, for the next five years for the region. 44 new investments, 4,5000 jobs, the IDA is a really focussed organisation, not just dream up a strategy. In July, Minister Bruton will announce the regional action plan for jobs for the South East. I have contributed to that and that nails to the mast the positioning of each of the regions
“We have done a deep dive analysis, Kilkenny is extremely attractive, have had companies in, struck by, I suppose Kilkenny oozes charm, it’s cosmopoplitan. A change from when I was growing up here, the best thing is the super quality of life here and I am witness to that myself, enjoying re-experiencing what Kilkenny has to offer.
“What companies are looking for are property solutions, office based ready to go, ,facilities like New Work Junction, any existing space and we are interested in engaging with local developers.
“ And they need people - we have data based from people in Dublin from South East. We know people will come back, we also know that people will commute.,”said Anne Marie
“Kilkenny isdeally suited to international financial services, internationally traded services, born on the internet companies, can we find the new facebook and bring it to Kilkenny?”
She revealled that the IDA has a landbank near Belview in South Kilkenny where there is abig focus and a positioning for biopharmacy industries. And in Kilkenny city there are five companies, employing 761 people brought in by the IDA>
“I have presented to the council a couple of weeks ago, a blue print of plans for the positioning of Kilkenny for foreign direct investment, have had every question asked of me.
“Existing, 761 jobs from five companies a re based in Kilkenny, Stat e Street, HCL etc are foreign owned nearly thousand jobs, and now we have to sell Kilkenny for new companies.
“Our location near to Dublin, a vibrant city, thriving indigenous companies - Glanbia is a huge reference - Cartoon Saloon, if you can demonstrate you can do something its far easier attract business.”
Other key factors are infrastructure - telecommunications, high speed broadbnnd - and Tax incentives.
“Then there are those above the iceberg factors, stuff that goes on underneath, the difference between a company making an investment and not . Recently a company had a super weekend enjoying and being in Kilkenny, but you can only bring a horse to water. IDA have a regional policy and we are incentivised. We don’t have barbed wire fencing around Kilkenny, we have a very strong mandate and remit from Minister Bruton, and we have to deliver,.
“The people of Kilkenny help me sell it, they are very proud and well able to do so across every angle, you can do business, can live here, and can have a very successful business in Kilkenny.”
“IDA is supportive of the move to a technological university, a benefit to the region, and we are supportive and aware of the difficulties and backgrounds. Kilkenny has not lost projects becaiuse of not having a third level insitution, there are off campus courses here from NUI Maynooth and Waterford IT. We must remember we aremarketing urban centres, of Kilkenny City, Waterford City, and remember there are 120 cities in China the size of Dublin.”
“We are heavily involved in helping the council shape the brand of the facility. We are aware of the planning process and where it’s at, and we can help position what part of the brewery site is relevant for FDI, like incubation space, smaller emerging companies,
“It’s a marvellous concept, and IDA is fullybehind it - for a city centre scheme it’s really attractive,
“New development in companies ‘homeworking’, meaning partly working from home, part of a mini cell - things are moving, the trend is towards global growth, smaller office solutions, access to planes, trains, and smaller pockets. “We are looking at innovation companies and companies in that area that are well matched with the history of Kilkenny - arts, heritage and craft. We can hothouse companies, bring in companies that find a landing spot, smart fall and want to grow big.”
So coming home, looking for ‘homeworkers’ to bring jobs to the county of her childhood. For Anne Marie, the outlook is “positive.”.