Carolina business alliance to benefit Galway

Dr John Young, who lives in the United States and has a second home in Galway city, set up an Irish American business alliance with North Carolina recently. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy

Dr John Young, who lives in the United States and has a second home in Galway city, set up an Irish American business alliance with North Carolina recently. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy

An international authority on leadership development and organisational health, who lives in the United States and has a second home in Galway, is forging business links between Ireland and a state in the south-eastern region of the US.

Dr John Young, who was born in Co Antrim and has a second home in Galway city for the past 30 years, set up an Irish American business alliance with North Carolina recently with the support of three other business development experts.

The business alliance of public and private entities, which was launched in Dublin and Charlotte (the most populous city in North-Carolina ) is committed to supporting bilateral trade, investment, education, and cultural appreciation between Ireland and North Carolina, according to Dr Young. Darragh O’Brien TD, the Minister for Housing, Heritage, and Local Government attended the Irish launch.

The inspiration for the project came from Dr Young’s position as the first Honorary Consul of Ireland for North Carolina. He was appointed to this prestigious role in April 2014. “The idea [for the alliance] was conceived before Covid,” he says. “Our membership has deep roots within the North Carolina and Irish communities at both the corporate and governmental levels giving us a unique reach and influence that is beneficial to our members and affiliates.

“As a non-partisan, non-advocacy, open forum, our purpose is to deepen economic, financial, and educational connections between Ireland and the State of North Carolina. We are a platform for bringing businesses and economic development together to leverage the unique tax and economic benefits provided by doing business between Ireland and North Carolina.

“We facilitate access to these businesses through marketing opportunities, business intelligence, and insights that will enhance company competitiveness in the State.

“Through the depth of both our personal and professional experience within the island of Ireland and North Carolina, we can skilfully guide and support our alliance partners. Whether people are seeking to establish a business or navigate cultural and political challenges, we have the resources and connections to ensure their success.”

He believes North Carolina and Ireland share powerful “economic drivers” in the financial services, research and education, and life science industries. The alliance will play a key role in building and strengthening commercial opportunities.

Dr Young has a solid business background and strong links with Ireland. He lives in Charlotte and is a leading member of the Irish community there. He helped establish the Irish Society of Charlotte in 1986 (now the Charlotte Irish Connection ) and served as its first president. He founded the McLaughlin Young Group, a human capital company specialising in leadership development, organisational effectiveness, and employee assistance programmes in 1987 and has spent more than 40 years coaching chief executives.

The business alliance founder, who holds an undergraduate degree from the University of London and a doctorate from Purdue University in Indiana, has lectured at the Washington University in St Louis, Purdue University, and the University of North Carolina. He regularly conducts leadership seminars for senior business executives at Ballynahinch Castle in Connemara and is the author of “The Five Essential Leadership Questions: Living with Passion, Leading through Trust”, and “Being Intentional: Making Work and Play One and the Same.”

Business expansion possibility

He says the alliance is at the “getting to know one another” phase currently. “As we get going, it will expand and there will be different levels of membership. We are not competing with the IDAs, our aim is to optimise economic development between Ireland and North Carolina. There are great things to be learned from each other. I’d like to see the visibility of Ireland in North Carolina. There are lots of places in North Carolina that could benefit from rejuvenation.”

He is often contacted in his consular position by Irish businesses keen to expand into the US market. A person from Westport was in touch with him in this regard recently. Many young Irish people moved to Charlotte in recent years to work in IT. There is a strong GAA and Irish dancing community there.

Dr Young, who was in Galway recently, is in the process of setting up the European headquarters of his company, the McLaughlin Young Group in Galway. He expects his human resource company to be up and running in three months. “I work with multi-nationals, therefore having a European operation would be advantageous. Galway is a vibrant, university city, a very natural place, with all kinds of industries and motorways, and you can get to Dublin in no time.”

His love affair with Galway began 32 years ago when he was in Ireland to give a business seminar at Ashford Castle in Co Mayo. The businessman, who has travelled eight million miles as part of his work, visited the city and liked it so much that he bought a house in Knocknacarra.


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