Our Judges

Declan Hughes

Declan Hughes is Assistant Secretary General in the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. He is a member of the Management Board of the Department with responsibility for the Indigenous Enterprise, Digital and Finance Division and formerly the Strategic Policy Division and Management Support Unit of the Department.

Declan has over twenty years’ experience in enterprise policy and advisory roles. He was a member of the National Competitiveness Council, the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, and co-chair of the ICT Action Plan Group with the Department of Education and Skills and has led on the development of the annual Action Plan for Jobs, the trade and investment strategy, Ireland Connected and on enterprise strategy, Enterprise Policy 2025.

Prior to joining the Department in 2014, Declan was member of Executive Committee of Forfás, the Government’s enterprise, trade and science and innovation advisory and coordination Board. He was Head of Division for Enterprise and Trade Policy and Finance and Property. Declan has served on a number of EU and OECD Committees and is a member of the Institute of Directors of Ireland.


Eilish Henry

Eilish was the first facilitator appointed in Europe to support the Shingo Model for Operational Excellence and is the most experienced European coach and facilitator. Over the past 10 years she has worked with and supported a large number of organisations to achieve levels of Shingo recognition from Shingo Bronze Medallion to the ultimate, Shingo Prize.  In Ireland she has worked with and supported all but one of the Shingo Award recipients.  Globally, she has supported 9 out of the 12 most recent Shingo Prize recipients: Abbott Vascular Clonmel; DePuySynthes, Cork; Newsprinters Eurocentral, Motherwell, Scotland; Abbott Diagnostics, Longford; BSCI, Cork; Abbott Nutrition Sligo; AbbVie, Sligo; ANSC Granada and most recently, Abbott Manufacturing Singapore.

Using her expertise as a Shingo Examiner she is also highly experienced in assessing organisations against the Shingo Excellence framework and in helping organisations to self-assess against an Operational Excellence Framework.

Additionally, she has worked with a large number of other businesses across a range of sectors including Central Government, Healthcare, Pharma, Medical Devices, Food, FMCG, Engineering, Printing, Automotive, Aerospace, Financial Services and Banking. Her focus is primarily on ensuring the sustainability of improvements achieved through lean programmes by securing real “buy-in” and ownership at all levels and in all functions of the client business – Leaders, Managers and Associates.

She is experienced in business delivery, organisational change, in particular culture change, including both design and implementation, and also programme management across a wide range of sectors including manufacturing, healthcare and central government. In 2004 she was awarded the OBE for her work in leading major cultural change programmes in the UK public sector.


Paul Ebbs

Paul Ebbs is an advocate of Lean Project Delivery for the Architectural, Engineering, Construction and Operations (AECO) sector. Currently, he is part of the team at the Centre for Lean Projects in Nottingham Trent University, UK and is a Director of Umstot Solutions Ireland Ltd. He is the lead organiser and conference chair of the International Group for Lean Construction’s (IGLC) 27th Annual Conference scheduled for summer 2019 in Dublin.

Previously, Paul spent 10 months working with Umstot Project and Facility Solutions, LLC and The ReAlignment Group of California, LLC. He has 22 years’ industry experience in a range of healthcare, educational, residential and commercial projects. Roles included Mechanical Technician, General Operative, Finishing Foreman (including contractual closeout), Site/Project Manager, Low Energy Consultant and Lean Coach.