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Biographies and Motivations - Board Election

Annemette Broch (Nominated by Westnet)

I am a highly focused professional with more than 20 years of strong cross-functional experience primarily in the areas of commercial, finance, legal and change management (Six Sigma) within the IT industry at strategic and operational levels. This experience was gained working for GE Information Services, GXS and IHS in the USA and UK. More recently I have taken on the role of Risk & Compliance Manager at Westnet, a regional ISP in the west of Ireland. I have a MSc(Econ)/MBA obtained in Denmark/USA.

My motivation for joining the board is to bring a business-focused, non-technical perspective to the running of the organisation (while having a background in the technology industry). I believe my academic qualifications, experience in both large multinationals and SMEs, and recent focus on regulatory and compliance issues will all help INEX as it seeks to excel in the areas of transparency and corporate governance.

David Burke (Nominated by HEAnet)

I am a Solicitor with legal advisory, privacy and governance experience gained across highly regulated industry in Europe, North America and Southern Africa. My experience includes identifying, evaluating and mitigating risk as a Board advisor and Member of a not-for-profit Board.

As the HEAnet Legal and Privacy Officer, I am responsible for information governance across the HEAnet Group. Before joining HEAnet, I served as Company Secretary to a large Irish non-profit entity and was responsible for managing a broad range of corporate governance requirements.

A motivation for joining the Board is to support INEX to serve members while deepening my industry exposure. Based on experience as Board Member of a sports and education development charity, I believe that diversification of skills at Board level is an important component.

I am admitted to practice law in New York, Ireland and England & Wales, certified in Data Protection practice by the Irish Law Society and have extensive public and private corporate governance experience in Ireland and abroad. My interests include drumming, climate change and water sports.

Des Chambers (Nominated by Lightnet)

Des Chambers holds a primary degree in electronics engineering and a PHD in Computer Science. Currently his full-time role is as the Programme Director of the undergraduate Computer Science degree at NUI Galway where Des also lectures in software development and network design. Prior to his 20 years as a lecturer at NUIG Des also lectured for several years at the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology. Outside of the academic arena Des has played a key role over the past 15 years as a company director in two other businesses. He is a co-founder and director of Syncrophi Systems which is a medical software company specialising in making patient care in hospitals easier, faster and safer and also a co-founder and director of Lightnet, an internet service provider and INEX member since 2013. Prior to his academic career, Des spent about 10 years with Digital Equipment Corporation working on hardware design and later software development both in Ireland and in the USA. Des is a regular attendee at INEX meetings, representing Lightnet, and he did a presentation at the Euro-IX meeting held in Galway in 2018, as a customer of INEX, which got very positive feedback from the conference attendees.

My motivation for joining the board of INEX at this time is to work with the new board and the members to ensure good governance of the organisation and to provide good independent oversight on behalf of all members. I firmly believe that this has to involve total transparency and the disclosure of all facts related to recent events that have created the current situation where the entire board felt it was necessary to resign. This has led to some reputational damage for INEX and I think one of the key tasks of the new board will be to help repair this damage. I believe the new board should immediately undertake a root and branch review of the events and decisions that have led to the current situation. If necessary, independent expertise should be sought to help and advise the board in this activity. The board should then present the full results of this review, in a spirit of total transparency and full disclosure, back to the membership. Decisions will then have to be made on how best to move forward in the long-term interests of the organisation. INEX has been a great success and the continued success of INEX is critical for the future development of the Internet in Ireland.

Ed Diggin (Nominated by Real Broadband)

We have been operating as a Kerry Based Wireless ISP since 2003 and with a focus on Customer Service. I have no pre-existing opinions as to what way INEX is run/managed. We would like to have a voice for the “little guy”

We do not have any allegiances to any other organisation and therefore believe that I am a good candidate in remaining impartial. I would like to see INEX return to the valued service and community that we are all a part of and continue to grow into the future.

Rob Evans (JANET, nominated by GÉANT)

I’m Rob Evans, hailing from just across the water in Wales (though currently living a short hop away in Manchester), and I am the Chief Network Architect for Jisc, working on the Janet network — the UK’s research and education network.  I am being nominated on behalf of GEANT, which operates the pan-European research and education network.

I have been working in the peering community for over 20 years, and the networks I have worked on have benefitted from the excellent work that INEX has done in that time, whether that’s indirectly from the interconnection in Ireland, from software such as IXP manager, from technical contributions by Nick and Barry, and from community contributions by Eileen.

In my role with Janet, I was one of three people that helped set up IX Leeds in the UK, and I regularly participate in LINX meetings — Janet was a founder member of LINX in the 1990s, and I served on the LINX programme committee for a number of years.

I’ve also been involved in the RIPE community for some time, having co-chaired the Routing working group for about 10 years, currently co-chairing the NCC Services working group, and being a Trusted Contact for the community at RIPE meetings.  The community around RIPE bears a lot of similarity with IXP communities having both a company (the RIPE NCC) with a member-elected board to represent it, and the community itself.

I’ve watched the recent discussions with concern, and I see one of the key roles of the new board is to re-establish trust between the board and the membership, and getting INEX focused again on what it does best.  This can only happen through being as transparent as possible, and building a solid foundation for INEX to continue providing services to its members and the community.

I would like to be part of a balanced board representing good commercial and governance background as well as the technical community.  The board should be setting a strategy that enables the staff of INEX continue to run an Internet Exchange that not only benefits its members and business in Ireland, but contributes to the global peering community.

Unfortunately, whilst I had kept the 29th of January free in my diary for the EGM, I have a long-standing commitment for the 30th which I am unable to escape. I regret that I’ve not been able to move it at this notice, and this is not a lack of desire to fulfil any responsibility to the INEX membership.

If you would like to talk to me about my motivation, please feel free to get in touch via email <Rob.Evans@jisc.ac.uk>, or Twitter @internetplumber.

John Earley (Nominated by Airfibre)

  1. I am the founder/chairman/CEO of Airfibre Limited.
  2. INEX is an important strategic resource for Airfibre.
  3. I have been a main board director of seven companies/organisations (from 1997).
  4. In one instance, I resigned a board position as a consequence of prejudicial activity by the Chairman in respect to specific shareholders. At another, I challenged the board to justify the ongoing trading position of the company, forcing the appointment of administrators following my own resignation. I take fiduciary duty very seriously indeed. (All other enterprises have been successful.)
  5. I suggest it worth noting that I previously served as Vice President of the Infrared Data Association, an international standards organisation serving the interests of its members (largely high profile manufacturers of consumer and business electronics).
  6. Whilst I have a long standing track record in pioneering technologies in the past (going to back to ISDN in the late ‘80s) I have no interest in steering the technology strategy of INEX. My focus will be upon ensuring that the organisation remains focused upon the interests of its membership.

Shane Hartigan (Nominated by Integrated Media Solutions)

My name is Shane Hartigan and I live in Limerick. I would be very proud to represent the members of INEX if elected to the board. My focus will always be to assist INEX and to achieve best possible outcomes.

Bio:

I am the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Integrated Media Solutions. I’ve been continuously self employed in the telecommunication industry for the past 24 years. My company has been an INEX Member since 2008 and now provides services to the hospitality sector in over nine European countries.

As CEO, I have gained extensive experience in the area of corporate governance, human resources and business management. I was elected to represent the Regional Internet Service Providers (RISP) trade association during the tender phase of the National Broadband Plan. I was also a founding member of the Board of Governors at Limerick Regional Technical College.

Motivation:

• I believe very strongly in my fiduciary duty of an INEX board member.

• I wish to give something back to an IXP that has delivered so much to the telecoms sector in Ireland.

• I believe that the culture of openness and transparency within INEX should be strongly promoted.

• I believe that the interests of INEX members should always be front and centre.

• I believe that corporate governance at INEX must always be beyond reproach.

• I believe that Ireland Incorporated is promoted at a global level directly and indirectly through a vibrant and open INEX community.

• That INEX sets the standard as a world class community based IXP.

• That the full confidence of International and Domestic members is restored in relation to the corporate governance of INEX.

• That the lessons of the past are learned and to develop a framework to ensure they never happen again.

• To ensure that INEX resources (human, financial, technical and reputational) are always used appropriately for the good of the organisation and the Membership.

• To be fair and balanced with all stakeholders.

Ciarán Kendellen (Host Ireland)

I’ve been with Host Ireland for 15 years and overseen massive change in the organisation in that time. Starting with software development and web hosting I designed and built out Host Ireland’s broadband infrastructure and business as a complete newcomer to the industry. We now provide many of the larger members of INEX with access connections via our network and have gained a reputation for operational, service and performance excellence.

I believe most of INEX’s members, if not most of its traffic, are of a similar size to Host Ireland. I put myself forward to make sure we have a relevant voice on the board. I’ve never been one to do something a certain way “because we’ve always done it like that”, we constantly re-invent ways of doing things and continually look to improve outcomes and processes as our experience, skill-set, staff members and customers change. I will bring a similar outlook to a role on the board at INEX.

Martin List-Petersen (Nominated by Airwire)

Biography and Motivation statements to be added, when received.

Tom Strickx (Nominated by Cloudflare)

Bio:

For the past two plus years I’ve been a network engineer at Cloudflare, working on peering, day to day operations, and network development. This builds on the dozen years of experience in the networking area, some of which included running my own consultancy business from Brussels. It is that work that had me interacting with all kinds of small businesses.

Motivation:

Currently working for a global Internet company offers me the unique perspective of being active in many hundreds of exchanges. This allows me insights in how each of them operate (both technically and governance-wise). At Cloudflare we try to be leaders in securing the Internet (see our RPKI work) and help build a better Internet in-general. As such, this means we also put in the work (and time) to get there. This wide breadth of knowledge and experience would be put to good use in helping INEX get out of the choppy waters, and navigate into its bright future.

In closing, let me say that there’s no doubt in my mind that INEX can become a global leader on governance, matching it’s existing leadership in the technical arena. I would like your consideration and your vote so that I can be a part of this future journey!

Jerry Sweeney (Nominated by CloudCIX)

Bio:

Jerry Sweeney is Managing Director of CloudCIX Limited T/A Cork Internet eXchange, a member of INEX. Jerry has been self employed in the IT/Telecomms sector for more than 35 years. He sits on the events committees of both it@cork and The Cork Electronics Industry Association. Jerry was awarded the it@cork Technology Leader of the Year award in 2016. Jerry has a B.E.(Elec.) degree from UCC and an M.Sc. degree from DIT. He has extensive technical knowledge and business experience.

Reasons for running for election:

  1. To ensure that there is electoral competition for places on the board, so as to demonstrate that members had adequate choice in selecting a board.
  2. If elected, to facilitate the staff/consultants managing INEX on a daily basis, in getting on with the critical work of developing INEX.
  3. If elected, to help develop INEX (and in particular to develop INEX Cork) by canvassing to connect more CDNs and eyeballs.
  4. If elected, to help to control INEX costs to ensure continued value for members.

Chris Wilkie (Nominated by Ecom)

I started my career at the BBC in London, initially as an apprentice on their engineering training scheme, and later as a Broadcast Communications Engineer based in the Central Communications Area at the infamous Television Centre.  At the time I also ran some reasonably big websites (for the time, nothing in today’s world!) based on automotive themes and my hosting costs were starting to get out of control for something that was just a hobby.  This prompted me to buy my first dedicated server and, once I had moved my sites over to it, I realised I still had capacity left that I could sell.  One thing led to another, and I found myself in the ISP industry albeit on a hobby basis!

I left the BBC in 2005 to concentrate on the ISP business full time.  In the early days, like a lot of start-ups, I ran everything from sales and support to engineering and accounting.  This gave me a good, first hand understanding of how a small business works from a commercial perspective.  The company was eventually sold, to one of my customers no less who’s bandwidth requirements were so large they needed their own BGP network.  At the time the company had six full time employees, so a similar size to INEX.

Despite telling myself I was going to do something completely different I still had the aforementioned websites I needed to host somewhere and ended up taking on a rack in a local independent data centre.  I had a /24 of my own, an AS number, and a few bits of hardware laying around so I thought I might as well run BGP, and of course had spare space in the rack that I could sell, and… oh, it seems I’m back in the ISP industry again!

Fast forward to today my company Ecom Networks (aka Electronic Communities Ltd; named because it was originally set up as a holding company for those same websites) operates a BGP network across six countries.  We are members of INEX, LINX, RIPE and Nominet, and also peer at DE-CIX in Madrid, Equinix in Zurich, and KleyReX in Frankfurt.  Most recently the company branched out into building a fibre network to providing ‘fibre to the home’ services in rural Buckinghamshire, UK, in the area around where the offices are based.  This has grown to be one of the primary focus of the business; I often joke that I’ve switched from running an ISP to a groundworks company.

From the experiences I have gained from the above I consider myself well versed in both the engineering and commercial aspects of operating a small business.  Over the years of peering on multiple exchanges I have obviously learnt the engineering side of how an exchange works, but equally important in being hands on in the running of the business I am equally at home negotiating contracts, looking at accounts, and making commercial decisions.