Role will promote greater cultural and economic ties between Ireland and Ohio
Team NEO VP of Marketing & Communications Mark Owens has been selected as the first-ever Irish Honorary Consul in Ohio, based in Cleveland. Owens will be recognized during St Patrick’s Day events hosted by the Irish Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Honorary Consuls are a critical element of the Irish State’s global engagement, supporting the broader development of economic, business, and cultural relations while providing consular assistance and services to Irish citizens.
Team NEO CEO Bill Koehler acknowledged the significance of Owens’ appointment, and its potential to help advance Team NEO’s strategic plan. “In Mark’s leadership role with Team NEO, he drives our strategy to promote and engage the Northeast Ohio Region, which includes forming partnerships to expand opportunities for economic vibrancy,” said Koehler. “Mark’s appointment to Irish Honorary Consul General will build on this important work.”
H.E. Geraldine Byrne Nason, Irish Ambassador to the U.S., recognized how Owens’ appointment would reinforce connections between the region, the state, and Ireland. “Ohio has a long and proud connection to Ireland, and many Irish immigrants contributed to the canals and railways that shaped Ohio and its destiny,” she said. “Mark’s appointment is a recognition of these historic and enduring links and a signal of our intent to continue to develop the cultural and economic ties between Ohio and Ireland. I am confident that Mark will represent both Ireland and Ohio with great commitment and imagination. My congratulations to Mark, and his family Maria, Lillian, and Eamon on this honour.”
Owens became a dual Irish and American citizen in 2011, more than a decade after a study abroad program with John Carroll University’s Boler College of Business first brought him to the Northeast Ohio Region. Owens recently obtained his Executive MBA from Ireland’s Southeast Technical University (SETU).
Owens has served as a direct conduit for government and civic organizations in the U.S. as well as Ireland and the United Kingdom, including Enterprise Ireland, Ireland Department of Foreign Affairs, JobsOhio, American Chamber of Commerce Ireland (AmCham), and SelectUSA. He has also worked with the Consulate of Ireland to facilitate Irish Ambassador and Irish Consulate visits to Ohio over the past 10 years.
Deeply involved in Northeast Ohio’s Irish community, Owens serves as president of the Cleveland Irish Network, executive regional vice president of the Irish Network USA, member of the West Side Irish-American Club, past honoree/outside chair of the Cleveland St. Patrick’s Day Parade, past winner of the Irish Echo 40 Under 40 Award, member of the Irishtown Bend Park strategy and development committee, and co-chair of the Global Cleveland Sister City Committee, which includes County Mayo and Achill Island in Ireland.
“Mark Owens being named as the Honorary Consul General of Ireland for Cleveland, Ohio is as historic as it speaks to our future: Northeastern Ohio has one of the oldest and most legendary Irish communities in the world, and the future economic, social, and cultural connections will only be bolstered by his appointment,” said Joe Cimperman, president, Global Cleveland. “When we think of Cleveland’s international ties and our global communities, measures like this make all the difference in the world.”
Owens will join a network of approximately 100 Irish Honorary Consuls or Honorary Consuls General throughout the world, including 10 in the U.S.
“I am delighted to work with Mark, who I am sure will bring a huge level of innovation, energy, and pride to the role, particularly in promoting greater economic cooperation between Ireland and Ohio,” said Helena Noland, Consul General for Ireland. “I am particularly pleased that there will be a direct Aer Lingus flight between Cleveland and Dublin, beginning in May; a development that Mark has played a significant role in bringing about.”
Owens reciprocated Nolan’s sentiment. “It is an extreme honor to serve as the first-ever Irish Consul General in Ohio,” said Owens. “I will work to further strengthen the relationship between Ohio and Ireland, fostering mutually beneficial opportunities for businesses, individuals, and communities.”
About Team NEO
Team NEO is a private, nonprofit economic development organization accelerating business growth and job creation throughout the 18 counties of the Northeast Ohio Region. As the designated JobsOhio Network Partner, we align and amplify local economic development efforts in the region’s 18-counties; we conduct research and data analysis to inform local conversations and influence solutions; we market the Northeast Ohio Region; and we work to increase access to jobs, education and training for the region’s 4.3 million people. We do this to build a more vibrant regional economy; one that is more talented, equitable, competitive, innovative, resilient, and prosperous. For more information, visit teamneo.org.