Sir David Higgins was knighted for his services to regeneration in 2011 and is currently NonExecutive Chairman of High Speed Two (HS2), the Government-owned company in charge of the planning and delivery of the £50 billion high speed lines connecting London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester. He was formerly Chief Executive of Network Rail, the London Olympic Delivery Authority, English Partnerships, and Lend Lease. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from Sydney University, a Post Graduate Diploma from the Securities Institute of Australia, and is a Fellow at the Institution of Civil Engineers.
David Birkbeck studied law but became a journalist. That background of reading the small print (and knowing it shouldn’t be so opaque) helped him produce design guidance ‘notes’ later supported by Governments and their agencies. The success of one, Building for Life, opened the door in 2006 for him to work with OMP Architects, McCabe Durney and others on DOEHLG’s Urban Design Guidance.
When the UK decided to plan much larger scale development, David argued for the community-endorsed technique pioneered at Adamstown for synchronising the delivery of infrastructure such as schools to housing sales to be copied wholesale across the UK. During the crash, this made those behind Adamstown sought after in London and, today, Europe’s most ambitious new settlements programme, Homes England’s Garden Towns, is run by a South Dublin CC ex-officer.
David is director of the Housing Design Awards, a partnership between government and industry since 1948 to recognise the best in new-build. www.hdawards.org hosts 7000 images and 50 revealing short films about winning schemes.
David was in the HAPPI report team which made proposals to boost the appeal of ‘senior housing’. Some 10 years later ‘Over-55’ developments are now frequently the best new housing in their location.
Léan is an Associate Director with Arup Dublin where she leads consulting work on digital property and smart cities. She has over 20 years of professional experience in the industry which includes working with a variety of clients from city and national governments to private developers, and on a variety of projects involving extensive strategy and policy work on the application of smart technologies. Recent project work includes digital strategy and policy work for the Danish and Singaporean governments, Dublin City Council, the Greater London Authority, Sydney, Canberra and major masterplanning projects in Singapore and Dubai. In this evolving field she has been active in working with research institutes and industry bodies to set international standards and research agendas, including University College London and the Cambridge University Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction. She was a member of the advisory board for the British Standards Institute key smart cities standards.
Her masterplanning work includes advising on impacts and opportunities for digital technologies in smart building and regeneration projects in Madrid, Singapore, Denmark and the UK. She is a member of the ULI European Product Council for Innovation and Technololgy.
David O’Connor brings vast experience to his role as Chairman of Property Industry Ireland, having begun his career as in architect in the 1970s before moving into local government in the 1980s. He became county architect for the newly established Fingal County Council in 2003 and served as county manager from 2006 to 2013. Since retiring he has remained active in public service and was involved in the establishment of the Housing Delivery Office. In the private sector, he works as policy adviser with Sherry FitzGerald.Show more
Mark is Chairman of the Sherry FitzGerald Group. He has worked for over 40 years in the property industry. Mark founded Sherry FitzGerald, along with partners, in 1982 and was appointed Managing Director at the age of 25. He stepped down as CEO in July 2017. He negotiated the company’s commercial property link with the international firm of DTZ Holdings (now Cushman & Wakefield), as well as leading innovation in the Irish estate agency industry through the franchising of Sherry FitzGerald in the late 1990s.
In 2001, he led the creation of MyHome.ie, which was subsequently sold in 2006. In 2005, he successfully led the diversification of Sherry FitzGerald into the London residential market through the acquisition of the long-established business of Marsh & Parsons. In the following six years, he dedicated much of his time to helping develop this business and was involved in the successful sale of Marsh & Parsons in late 2011. In 2018, he oversaw the acquisition of Cushman & Wakefield Ireland by Cushman & Wakefield Global.
Mark is a former non-executive director of Tedcastle’s and a former chairman of Bord Iascaigh Mhara.