A team of experienced retail professionals have been recruited by the Beacon Initiative with a wide range of skills to provide expertise to retailers participating in the programme:
James Burke & Associates
James Burke – Retail Consultant
James is the owner of James Burke & Associates. Having spent over 20 years with Superquinn and serving on the board of the business for 4 years, James has amassed considerable knowledge of the food retail sector in both Ireland and internationally.
He is also a leading expert in the food service sector. James specialises in helping producers achieve sales growth in the domestic and international markets. He is also the retail advisor for the TV series “Feargal Quinn’s Retail Therapy”. In his current role as business consultant, James provides strategic advice and business planning for some of Ireland’s best known companies within the food and retail sectors e.g. Country Crest, Donnelly’s, Maxi Zoo. James is a current member of the TASTE Council (the strategic advisory group for the speciality food industry) which involves continuous contact with the Artisan sector.
Keith Harford – Business Advisor
Keith Harford MBA started out in the family seafood business in 1981 before going into retailing, firstly in the area of White and Brown Goods and then into Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) with grocery multiple, Superquinn.
Superquinn presented Keith with many opportunities, including managing flagship stores in Sutton and Blackrock. Keith also led a number of projects including bringing Superquinn4food to market (Ireland’s first grocery internet shopping service) and Liaison Manager between the grocery operations (companywide) with the then banking operation, Tusa. Keith keeps close contact with the Institute for Retail Studies at the University of Stirling, where he completed his MBA (with distinction). Keith lectured in the College of Marketing Dublin (Business School) for two years and has also been a guest lecturer on Retailing, Customer Service, Changing Business Models and Leading Business Change in Dublin City University (DCU), Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), University of Stirling (UK), University of Pamplona (Spain) and Florida State University (US).
In early 2005, Keith joined UniPhar (pharmaceutical wholesaler) where he led a team to bring commercial and retail skills to ailing pharmacies and also developed Ireland’s first franchise pharmacy group, Life Pharmacy. In late 2007, Keith believed he could offer businesses much more by way of independent advice & training and went down the road of self-employment, forming Keith Harford Limited, Business Advisors & Trainers.