Team NEO’s VP of Marketing and Communications Named 2024 iIrish Person of the Year

Mark Owens Named iIrish Person of the Year in 2024

Mark Owens
By iIrish Publisher, John O’Brien, Jr.

iIrish is proud to present to you, our 2024 iIrish Person of the Year. Mark is from Derry City, Northern Ireland, but has called Cleveland his home for more than 20 years, after attending John Carroll University as part of a scholarship program. Prior to this, he studied at Manchester University, where he graduated with a production management degree, and he recently completed his Executive MBA at South East Technological University (SETU), Ireland.

Mark was named the Honorary Consul for Ohio in March, 2023, and has made significant impact in and for Ohio, especially in bringing Aer Lingus direct flight service, Cleveland to Dublin, which launched its first direct flight in May, 2023.

Overseeing all elements of Team NEO’s (Team North East Ohio) marketing and communications team, Mark is responsible for creating and accelerating the organization’s marketing strategy and brand recognition across the Northeast Ohio region, He is focused on driving the vision of helping promote Northeast Ohio, offering local partners a more powerful platform to share their successes, market their assets, and attract more investment.

Mark currently serves as Chair of the Business Advisory Committee at Cuyahoga Community College, President of the Cleveland Irish Business Network and Co-Chairs the Sister Cities Committee at Global Cleveland. He is involved as a member of the Irishtown Bend Park strategy and development committee.

Mark and Maria Owens have two children.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine (It is in each other’s shadow that people live)

Whelp, that’s enough about Mark from me. Those that know Mark professionally, and personally, have much to say too.

On behalf of Team NEO, I’d like to congratulate Mark on this well-deserved recognition. As the head of our marketing and communications team, he has played a critical role in bringing awareness to the Northeast Ohio Region to attract investment, foster business growth, and enhance the overall economic vitality of the area. This includes an important role specifically with his work in helping to bring nonstop flights from Cleveland to Dublin, Ireland. This will connect Northeast Ohio to business opportunities to Ireland and other European countries.”

  • Bill Koehler, Chief Executive Officer, Team NEO

“Mark Owens is a real asset to Ireland and to Ohio, as he develops his role as Ireland’s Honorary Consul to Ohio. I have worked closely with Mark, and I see his dedication and enthusiasm, which is delivering dividends all round. I consider that we are lucky to have someone of Mark’s caliber join our network of Honorary Consuls across this great United States. I see Mark’s appointment as a proud moment as we recognize the enormous contribution of the Irish community in Ohio to the enduring relationship between Ireland the USA.”

  • Geraldine Byrne Nason, Ambassador of Ireland to the U.S.

“Even before he took on his role as Ireland’s first Honorary Consul to Ohio, Mark Owens was a key contact point in Ohio for the Irish Consulate in New York. He has dedicated his career to improving and enhancing relations between Ireland and Ohio. I am looking forward to seeing what his tenure brings, including his support for the first Irish ministerial visit to Cleveland for St Patrick’s Day, which will be a fantastic opportunity to honour the Irish contribution to Cleveland and Ohio.”

  • Helena Nolan, Consul General of Ireland, New York

“It has been a pleasure working with Mark as he is one to roll up his sleeves to assist whenever possible. One example was Cleveland Hopkins International Airport’s effort to attract new non-stop transatlantic air service. He joined the team, spending many hours knocking on doors, attending meetings, working with Cleveland stakeholders. All these efforts resulted in the addition of a new destination on the CLE air route map – a dot representing Aer Lingus’ non-stop service to Dublin. Ireland.”

  • John Hogan, Deputy Chief-Marketing & Air Service Development

Cleveland Airport System,

I am fortunate to have known Mark Owens for a good number of years. Mark is a tireless champion of the Irish in Ohio, always willing to help and serve others. Mark is also a tireless professional, helping to bring Irish businesses to Northeast Ohio. Most impressive is his unwavering dedication to his wife and children. It’s hard to envision when Mark gets to rest. 

Being named Honorary Irish Consul for Ohio is fitting, as Mark has long been a great ambassador for our Irish community, from hosting Irish dignitaries, to organizing events, to his help in securing a direct flight landing spot in Cleveland for Aer Lingus.  We are all beneficiaries of Mark’s efforts. Hats off, Mark! You certainly are the iIrish Man of the Year.”

  • Patrick Murphy, iIrish 2023 Person of the Year

It is with great pleasure that I extend my heartfelt congratulations to Mark Owens on being named the iIrish Person of the Year. Mark’s dedication to his family, his community, and his heritage is truly commendable. As a fellow member of the West Side Irish American Club, I have witnessed firsthand Mark’s unwavering commitment to serving others and promoting Irish culture in Cleveland and beyond.

Mark’s selfless nature and willingness to assist others without hesitation are qualities that inspire us all. Whether it’s offering a helping hand or simply lending a listening ear, Mark embodies the spirit of compassion and generosity.

Despite his esteemed title as the Honorary Irish Consul to Ireland, Mark remains humble and true to his roots. His pride in his Irish American identity is evident in everything he does, and I am honored to call him a friend. Derry may hold your roots, but Cleveland is privileged to have you as one of its own. Congratulations once again on this well-deserved recognition.Danny Chambers – President, West Side