The San José – Dublin Sister City Program will present the 2011 Spirit of Ireland Award to John Hartnett of the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG).

A native of Limerick, Hartnett is President and Founder of the ITLG a group committed to helping Ireland address the challenges of embracing new technology opportunities.

The ITLG’s core leadership team is comprised of a number of high-level leaders in Silicon Valley who are Irish or Irish-American. They include Rory McInerney, Vice President, Intel Corporation; John Gilmore, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Sling Media, Inc.; Barry O’Sullivan, Senior Vice President, Cisco; and Conrad Burke, President & CEO, Innovalight, Inc.

Hartnett is also the Founder of Irish Technology Capital (ITC) and the Irish Innovation Center (IIC).  Located in the heart of downtown San José, the IIC is the Silicon Valley launching pad for Irish technology companies. It provides entrepreneurs with access to venture capital firms, customers, suppliers and employees to enable their companies to grow and thrive.  The Center provides flexible office space, reception, administrative, legal, financial, human resource, and IT support to resident companies.

Hartnett annually leads the Silicon Valley Comes to Ireland tour, which was kicked off last November at the University of Limerick and included a stop at the National University of Ireland, Galway. 

He is also spearheading a major initiative to establish a direct flight from the Bay Area to Ireland to foster more efficient business connections between Silicon Valley and Ireland.

Conor O’Mahony, President of the San José – Dublin Sister City Program said "John’s exemplary leadership in establishing a powerful business network between Silicon Valley and Ireland and his bold initiative to provide an incubation center to give Irish entrepreneurs access to the vibrant business breeding ground that is Silicon Valley are outstanding examples our Sister City Program seeks to recognize and reward.”

The award was founded in 1986 by the then mayors of Dublin and San José, Bertie Ahern and Tom McEnery and this year marks the 25th anniversary of the San José – Dublin Sister City relationship.  The Spirit of Ireland Award is been presented each year to individuals, companies, or organizations whose accomplishments have exemplified the strong relationship between San José and Dublin, as well as between Silicon Valley and Ireland.

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