Our people


Michael Bell

Executive Director

Michael has over thirty-two years’ experience in the food industry. Prior to joining NIFDA he worked in the bakery trade in Northern Ireland and Malta for twelve years. During this period he worked closely with major retailers and obtained a place on the senior management board of Ormeau Bakery.

Michael holds a Food Science (Hons) degree from The Queen’s University of Belfast. He is also a Chartered Scientist and a Fellow of the Institute of Food Science and Technology.  He holds a Diploma in Company Director from the Institute of Directors.   He has been instrumental in the development of NIFDA since its foundation in 1996.


Harry Hamilton

Project Manager

Harry has been involved in the food and drink industry for 30 years. He has worked in business development for all that time and during his career has worked for some of Northern Ireland’s biggest food companies such as Moy Park, Dale Farm and Irwin’s Bakery. 

During his time with NIFDA Harry has managed the Access 6 programme which assisted 30 NI food companies in developing Food and Drink export sales across Europe and USA. Recently he has just completed a collaborative network scoping study in the skills gaps and sector attractiveness of the NI Food and Drink Industry.  


Joan Sherman

PA to the Director

Joan has been employed as Personal Assistant to the Executive Director of the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association for the past nineteen years. During this time she has seen many changes within the agri-food sector, and is still passionate about promoting local products brought to market by NIFDA members wherever possible.

She is an avid reader, enjoys long leisurely walks, dinning out, going to theatre and good wines.

Our Board

Governance – The NIFDA board meets four to five times a year. A chairman is appointed by the board for a period of two years. We have a chairman, a vice chairman and an executive director.


Nick Whelan


Brian Irwin


Dr Bronagh Owens


Declan Billington


Peter Henry


Ursula Lavery


Tony O’Neill


Michael Bell


Michael Howard


George Mullan