James has responsibilities for corporate governance and represents the interests of all stakeholders. He supports the executive team in strategy development and fundraising. James has spent over a decade raising and investing money in renewable energy assets in the UK for private equity investors and sits on the Organics Steering Group of the Renewable Energy Association. James is also executive chairman of Regen Holdings, a TPG portfolio company, operating in the UK waste recycling and renewable energy industries.
Co-Founder and Managing Director
Sam is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of the Simply Blue Group. A civil engineer by profession, he established Swirish International with his Swedish wife. This group of companies has interests in real estate in Western Sweden and Eastern Germany along with investments in the Food and Beverage, Agriculture and Renewables sectors. Sam has founded and developed a number of companies in the EU, Asia and the US including Delaney’s Irish pub chain in Asia and Swirish Property AB in Sweden.
Co-Founder and Commercial Director
Hugh is presently acting Project Managing Director of Blue Gem Wind, the joint venture between Simply Blue and Total. The JV is developing a floating offshore wind portfolio in the Celtic Sea which includes the 96MW Erebus project. Having originally qualified and practiced as a civil engineer in Ireland, the UK, France and Canada, he established and developed businesses in the EU, Middle East and Australasia, in manufacturing, distribution and IT. He is a former President of the Irish Exporters Association and holds a number of Non-Executive Director roles.
Director of Policy and Strategy, Managing Director of Aquaculture
Christoph Harwood is Director of Policy and Strategy, the Managing Director of Simply Blue Aquaculture and also a Director for Loch Long Salmon, the salmon farming joint venture. He leads on the development of the company’s business strategy and support the energy companies with their engagement with national and local stakeholders. Prior to joining the group in 2018, Christoph spent 10+ years in the world of environmental finance and marine energy and is a founder member of the Marine Energy Council. He has a degree in Philosophy, Politics & Economics from Oxford University and lives in Edinburgh.
Don Brockie, the Group’s Finance Director, works on the commercial and financial development of the company and supports capital fundraising. He is responsible for establishing sound internal processes and structures to meet corporate governance requirements. A Chartered Accountant, Don has vast experience in financial roles both in Ireland and internationally. He spent 10 years at CFO level with GSK and 13 years as Group Finance Director with the Bowen Group – an Irish group of companies primarily involved in construction and property development following his training in EY.
Anthony Gurnee is a non-executive Director of the Group and has a long track record as a senior executive in the shipping industry. Founder, CEO, President and Director of Ardmore Shipping Corporation he has built the company to a fleet of 27 high quality, modern products and chemical tankers with a further 9 vessels on order. His previous experience includes acting as CEO of Industrial Shipping Enterprises Inc, COO of MTM Group and CFO of Teekay Shipping Corporation. Anthony oversaw a public floatation on the New York Stock Exchange in 2013.
Our Senior Management Team
Chief Development Officer (International)
Kevin is responsible for leading Simply Blue Energy’s international expansion outside of Ireland and the UK. Prior to joining Simply Blue, he spent almost 10 years with Principle Power, the owner of the WindFloat floating wind technology. As a pioneer in the industry, he led the company’s business and project development activities around the world, which included engagement with utilities, developers, government officials, stakeholders and policy makers and resulted in a significant pipeline of projects for the technology. Based in Portland, Oregon, USA, Kevin has a long history of energy project development and has been an appointment in the US on state energy task forces, and today sits on various boards and committees. Kevin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara and holds an MSc in Economic Development from the London School of Economics.
Operations & Projects Director (Ireland)
Val Cummins has over 25 years of expertise in the marine and energy fields at national and international levels. She brings a considerable track record in team building, leading complex projects with diverse disciplines, and high levels of stakeholder engagement through previous roles (i.e. Director of Coastal & Marine Resources Centre, Director of Irish Maritime & Energy Resource Cluster, Principal Investigator EirWind and Senior Lecturer in University College Cork). Val has a PhD in coastal management, is an Eisenhower Fellow, and has participated in Women in Leadership executive training at Harvard University. She is now Operations & Projects Director for Simply Blue Energy Ireland.
Capt. Brian FitzGerald
Director of External Affairs and Stakeholder Liaison (Ireland)
Captain Brian FitzGerald is the Irish Director of External Affairs and Stakeholder Liaison and represents the Group, focusing on the Irish projects, as exemplars in community engagement and trust building. He enjoyed a long and successful career with Ireland’s Naval Service including two periods as a ship’s Captain before ultimately serving as the Navy’s Operational Commander. Captain FitzGerald has obtained specialist qualifications in Maritime Law, Mediation and Public Relations in addition to his wide-ranging naval qualifications. In 2017 he completed a successful deployment to the Mediterranean Sea as part of Europe’s response to the humanitarian crisis to rescue migrants. His love of the sea, desire to protect Ireland’s maritime interests and his extensive career experience, drive him in his current role.
Rt Hon Julian Smith CBE
Julian was appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland following Boris Johnson’s election as Prime Minster in July 2019. On behalf of the UK government, he led the recent negotiations that restored devolved Government to Northern Ireland following a three year impasse. The talks included negotiation of a £2bn financial package to support the Northern Ireland executive. He was awarded Spectator magazine’s Minister of the Year following the deal.
From 2017-2019 Julian was Government Chief Whip. In this role he managed the Government’s confidence and supply agreement with the DUP and led the Government’s relationships with other political parties during the Brexit legislative process. Julian was a member of the Government negotiation team with Labour during the talks that sought to resolve the Brexit impasse in Spring 2019 and sat on various Brexit sub committees of Cabinet.
Prior to becoming Government Chief Whip Julian was a Minister in various roles in the Whips office including Deputy Chief Whip and Vice Chamberlain – the Minister who regularly updates the Sovereign on parliamentary affairs.
Julian previously set up and ran an executive search firm in London and Singapore.
Head of Engineering
Julius leads the engineering of technically and commercially robust marine energy projects for Simply Blue Energy. Julius developed the Blue Gem Wind project portfolio, the basis of the joint venture between Simply Blue and Total. Currently, as Technical Manager for Blue Gem Wind, Julius is responsible for the engineering programme for these exciting pre-commercial floating offshore wind projects. Julius is a Mechanical Engineer with two decades experience dedicated to the renewable energy sector, having delivered a broad range of technically challenging schemes. Julius has a strong foundation of project and safety management and hands-on experience in both onshore and offshore renewable energy technologies.
Sam works on modelling wind and wave energy resources – identifying and assessing promising sites for offshore wind and wave energy. Sam studied Theoretical Physics/Mathematics at Trinity College Dublin, before doing a H.Dip and Grad. Dip in Economics. Sam has done fundamental research in Physics, and has experience in physical and economic modelling.
Business and Policy Analyst
Charlotte’s role at Simply Blue Energy is focused on priming the company to adapt to external policy and sectoral changes, in a proactive and reactive manner. This entails responding to Calls for Evidence by the UK Government and devolved administrations, engaging with projects and liaising internationally with the European Commission and related stakeholders.
Prior to this, Charlotte led research at the University of Edinburgh quantifying the potential economic benefit offered by offshore renewables at a UK and European scale.
Charlotte is driven by her love for the marine environment and Scottish coastlines, and desire to mitigate climate change through innovation.
Sean joined Simply Blue as an Environmental Specialist in August 2020. He is currently supporting the development of the Blue Gem Wind (BGW) portfolio of floating offshore wind projects in the Celtic Sea, including the 96MW Erebus project. His primary day-to-day focus is the oversight and coordination of BGWs consenting programmes, with a focus on offshore. Sean has a BSc in Marine Biology and considerable experience in the delivery of Environmental Impact Assessments, Habitat Regulations Assessments and Water Framework Directive Assessments from his previous marine ecology, nature conservation and environmental policy roles.
Ruairí is an environmental and consenting specialist within the Ireland team with additional responsibilities around group communications and branding. He is currently working on the consenting and stakeholder relations elements of both the Saoirse Wave Energy and Western Star Floating Wind projects. He studied Civil Engineering in UCD before spending 12 years as an engineer and construction project manager on large civil and structural projects in Ireland and Canada. A lifelong passion for the marine environment led him to UCC and a first-class honours master’s degree in Marine Biology with his current role reflecting his diverse background.
Ryan is a GIS specialist, establishing and overseeing GIS as an operating system and applying GIS as a tool for various projects including site analysis and constraint mapping. He provides the team with logistical support, data collection and storage along with archiving metadata. Ryan obtained a first-class honours in Outdoor Education in GMIT. He was subsequently awarded the Quercus scholarship and obtained a first-class honours in UCC in MSc in Applied Coastal and Marine Management. As a GIS researcher in MaREI he worked on the development of a pre-commercial floating wind project.
Head of Environmental
Ben is a Chartered Environmental Scientist and also holds a diploma in Planning and Environmental Law from the Law Society of Ireland. With over 12 years’ experience in environmental management, he specialises in the management, coordination and production of Environmental Impact Assessments, Habitats Directive Assessments and other planning and environmental reports. His experience extends to both onshore and offshore renewable energy projects, as well as projects in the transportation and utilities sector.
Project Development Manager
Ashit is Projects Development Manager focusing on early-stage technical and commercial development of multiple large scale marine energy projects in the UK and internationally. Prior to joining Simply Blue, he spent more than 12 years working on marine and offshore structures globally covering a diverse remit across all areas of project development. Ashit is a Chartered Naval Architect and Mechanical Engineer with experience from concept and planning to commissioning and de-commissioning of offshore structures. Ashit has a successful track record of developing marine projects with strategic planning through close relationships with clients, collaborators and stakeholders.
Stakeholder Director (UK)
David is currently focussed on stakeholder engagement for the Blue Gem Wind portfolio of floating wind projects in the Celtic Sea. This involves working with all interested parties, from supply chain companies, ports, government, and coastal communities. Before joining Simply Blue, David was the CEO of Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum, a multi-award-winning company, voted the “most sustainable social enterprise” in Wales. He has worked specifically on marine energy for over 12 years, developing Marine Energy Wales from inception. He has also worked directly for Government Ministers and shaped supportive marine energy policy in Wales.
Corporate and Commercial Support Officer
Jenny joined Simply Blue in May 2021 as Corporate and Commercial Support Officer. She provides legal and corporate support across a wide variety of projects. Jenny graduated from University College Dublin in 2020 with a First Class Honours degree in Law with History. Motivated by her passion for all things environmental, Jenny has decided to utilise her legal and commercial experience in the renewable energy field.
Office Manager (Cork)
Emilia is the Cork office manager with Simply Blue. Having worked for two out of the “Big Four” Tech Giants she brings a wealth of experience in business management, technology and people management. She has obtained Honours Bachelor of Commerce and MSc in Electronic Business from UCC. She deeply cares about the environment and its protection for the benefit of the society and the planet. Emilia is passionate about the marine renewable energy industry and holds a CMAS Open Water Diver Certification.
Offshore Renewable Energy Engineer
Peter Mazurenko is a member of the Simply Blue Energy engineering team. He is engaged in the application of marine engineering principles to Simply Blue’s portfolio of Irish offshore renewable energy projects. Peter utilises hands-on marine engineering experience to identify and mitigate project technical risk. Since graduating Peter has had a highly active and internationally focused career. He has managed teams of fitters in blue-collar engineering environments, acted as the in-country project engineer for a multinational engineering consultancy’s flagship wave energy R&D program, written and supervised marine operation procedures and has been a keynote speaker at an intentionally recognised conference on Marine Renewable Energy (PRIMaRE).
Clodagh is Project Manager for the Emerald Offshore Floating Wind Project, which includes the management of proposals, projects and associated resources, budgets & forecasting for the project. She is also Simply Blue Energy’s representative on range of Government and Industry Committees. Clodagh has 25 years’ experience in the environmental sector with specific expertise in the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), consent applications and stakeholder engagement for offshore wind and tidal development in Ireland, UK and Canada and onshore wind and solar projects in Ireland, Canada and Australia. She is a qualified and experienced environmental trainer and has presented at a range of environmental conferences and seminars. Clodagh has a BSc in Applied Ecology and an MSc in Environmental Impact Assessment.
Kevin O’Brien is a management accountant within the finance team, he works on preparing various monthly reports, budget management, assisting with the annual audit and supporting the team across various locations. Kevin graduated from UCC and trained working in practice and more recently in industry with a global leader in the technology circular economy supporting activities in Ireland, the UK and USA.
Projects Management Support Officer
Zoe is a head office administrator with Simply Blue. Following obtaining a first-class honours MSc., she has worked professionally as a researcher with UCC on fixed and floating offshore wind projects in the field of marine policy. She has also worked in facilitating an editorial team on ‘Shorelines: The Coastal Atlas of Ireland’ in the production of a c.900-page publication with Cork University Press on all aspects of Ireland’s coast.
Keith is Engineering Manager for Simply Blue Energy’s Irish project portfolio, overseeing the Engineering function, as well as Project Manager for our novel floating wind and wave energy technology co-location project. Keith has over 10 years of global experience developing offshore renewable energy technology and projects. He is a Chartered Engineer and has a PhD focussed on offshore wind and wave energy technologies. Keith has led offshore engineering projects with a diverse range of industrial companies, including prototype Engineering, Procurement and Construction projects in excess of USD$12m in value as well as complex product development and qualification programs in the renewable energy sector.
Louise is an Administrator with Simply Blue. Having gained a B.Sc (Hons) Computer Information Systems, she worked in Corel Corporation for a number of years. Since then, she has worked with Burex Ltd. and in the I.T. Support Department of the HSE.
Corporate and Communications Support Officer
Clara is an intern working in the Cork Office with Simply Blue. Having obtained a first-class honours in BCL Law with History at University College Dublin in 2020, she has decided to pursue her interest in the environment with Simply Blue, bringing her legal and commercial background into the renewable energy space.
Charlotte has extensive experience of working in high level administration and across a wide variety of projects gained from a career that spans the corporate, private and not for profit sectors. A qualified PRINCE2 Practitioner, Charlotte has a track record in administering projects, delivering process improvement and customer relationship management.
Rory Shanahan is a qualified Electrical Engineer and has focussed his professional career on renewable energy, most of which has been dedicated to offshore and floating wind. Rory is Simply Blue Energy’s electrical engineering lead while also tasked with route to market optioneering. Rory previously led the Carbon Trust’s Electrical Systems & Cables research and development work as part of the Offshore Wind Accelerator and Floating Wind joint industry programme. Rory has project manged several projects across these disciplines on a range of topics including dynamic export cables, subsea cable design and installation improvements, cable monitoring & fault detection, black starting WTGs and grid regulation optimisation. As part of project development and management, Rory has engaged with a range of stakeholders across the industry and has presented this work at numerous conferences in Europe and North America.
Emily Summers is carrying out an internship with the Simply Blue team, supporting project management and carrying out independent research related to the Irish offshore renewable energy projects. After obtaining a first-class honors BSc in Physics at Swansea University she hopes to incorporate her technical skills and love for the coast and environment by venturing into the world of offshore renewable energy.
Aquaculture Project Manager
Mark joined Simply Blue Aquaculture (SBA) in January 2019 as Project Manager responsible for delivering a number of new salmon farm projects across Scotland. He is currently managing the development of the first inshore, semi-closed salmon farm in Scotland which will bring innovative engineering, farming and energy technologies together to provide a new and sustainable approach to salmon farming. Mark is also the HSE Manager for the Simply Blue Group and provides support across all our projects. With a background in biological sciences, energy and the marine environment, Mark has managed engineering operations around the world in often challenging environments since leaving the Royal Navy in 2013.
Sam Wilks is carrying out an internship in the Simply Blue Energy engineering team. He is supporting the application of marine engineering principles to Simply Blue’s portfolio of Irish offshore renewable energy projects, through technology landscaping to understand and predict FOW industry technology trends and identify disruptive technologies which might affect them. This internship will form part of Sam’s Mechanical Engineering MEng qualification from the University of Edinburgh. After completing his degree in 2022, Sam is looking to continue his career in the offshore renewables industry.
Alfie is a Project Engineer for Simply Blue Energy FLOW projects, having worked on the Blue Gem Wind portfolio in the UK since 2019. His primary focus is supporting the day-to-day development works for Blue Gem Wind that range from technical support on design and procurement, to regulatory and contractual support for grid and other key stakeholders. Alfie has been working, volunteering or competing in marine environments around the world for more than ten years, including subsea operations support and cable analysis, the delivery of shore-based navigation courses, as well as recreational or competitive sailing tuition. He was awarded an MSc in Sustainable Energy by the Technical University of Denmark, and a BAI in Mechanical Engineering by Trinity College Dublin.
Adrian de Andres
Adrian is a civil engineer with extensive economics, finance and commercial experience having worked in academia, project development and consultancy sectors. Adrian has been involved in offshore renewables since 2010 and has worked across wave, tidal and floating and fixed wind both in technology development and project development capacities. Adrian holds a PhD in techno-economic assessment of wave energy converters and has assessed and advised more than 10 wave and tidal technologies. More recently he has been working in the development of floating and fixed wind projects across Scotland, England, Ireland and Japan. Adrian has managed several innovation projects related to wave, tidal and floating wind, up to £2m and has managed multiple organisations and co-ordinated inputs from multiple people. Adrian was recognized in 2016 with the Young Professionals Green Energy Award for his contribution to the Scottish renewables industry.
Dr Nichola Lacey is an Environmental Consents Manager at Simply Blue. Nichola has a benthic ecology specialism and broad experience in marine ecology with 8 years working in the offshore environment. Nichola is responsible for the design and delivery of consenting strategies for offshore wind projects through all stages of the consenting process. Nichola’s focus is on the design and delivery of consenting strategies, building relationships with internal and external stakeholders, the environmental impacts of offshore energy developments and identifying appropriate mitigation measures. Nichola has a background in environmental consultancy, leading EIA and related scopes for marine projects within Xodus Group. Nichola’s experience includes working as an offshore ecology technical lead for Round 4/ Scotwind site selection and scoping projects, and leading offshore oil and gas EIAs for multiple clients.
Graham is the Project and Engineering Manager for the Salamander Project. His responsibilities include the day to day running of the project, project financials, team management, reporting and ensuring project milestones are achieved. In addition, he is responsible for the technical oversight of the project and leads the engineering team. While being a chartered civil engineer (CEng) and member of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), he has extensive experience in offshore engineering after spending several years working in the North Sea O&G industry. Graham is currently seconded to Simply Blue Energy from Xodus Group where he is a Lead Renewables Consultant. At Xodus, he specialises in renewables project development and sits in the energy transition team.
Chris is a structural engineer with extensive experience in the design and analysis of floating structures in both the Oil and Gas and Renewable sectors, with an emphasis on coupled loads modelling of floating offshore wind turbines. Having been involved in the engineering design of several previous multi-turbine demonstrator projects on behalf of MHI Vestas he grew to lead their engineering loads assessment and certification engagement for EFGL, Eolmed and GBI. Chris is a Principal Consultant with Xodus Group and currently fulfils the role of Engineering Manager for Salamander having joined the project in early 2021.
Director, Loch Long Salmon
Stewart started working on the Loch Long Salmon project in early 2018. He is a founding partner of Trimara Services UK Ltd, an aquaculture sales and services company based in Scotland. He has more than 30 years’ experience in senior leadership roles in the global salmon farming industry in Scotland, Canada and New Zealand. Stewart was awarded an MSc with distinction from the internationally recognised Institute of Aquaculture at Stirling University. He was the Managing Director for Grieg Seafood in BC, Canada; General Manager of Aquaculture for New Zealand King Salmon and Farming Director for Dawnfresh Seafood, Scotland largest trout farming company.
José Humberto Román
Associate - Puerto Rico
José is a professional with over 20 years in the energy industry in USA, Spain, México and Puerto Rico. He was a Commissioner and then Chairman of the Puerto Rico Energy Commission. Under his leadership, Puerto Rico became the first jurisdiction to have Microgrid Development Rules. During his tenure as Commisioner, the first independent rate review took place, eventually reducing the utility’s projected expenditures by $50M. Also during this time, PREPA’s long term capital investments were approved to allow for the incorporation of renewable energy sources. Before joining the public sector in 2014, José was involved in multiple developments throughout the world, from utility generators to the design and construction of energy efficient buildings. He has engineered large projects with development costs of up to $900M, providing the technical leadership required to maximize the return on investment.