Q. Tell us about your first job and how much were you paid?
A. I was very shy as a child and my mum in her wisdom arranged for me to work in the local cafe/petrol station. It was the last port of call for cars sailing to Ireland via the Fishguard Port. I was 12 years of age, I always wondered what Ireland was like when I served our Irish customers. Little did i know that I would spend most of my adulthood in Donegal. I earned during one summer enough money to buy a gold signet ring which I still have and a black shiny mac.
Q. What was your first success in business?
Business is a work in progress, to be celebrated when you reach certain milestones you’ve set yourself. I’ve celebrated many milestones but i have yet to feel successful.
Q. Name the one local or international business person you look up to?
A. Locally I admire Pat Britton who very quietly employs around 40 young people in his insurance office. That’s 40 young people who don’t have to leave Donegal to find work. Internationally I admire Richard Branston for his creativity, his perserverance and ethical standards.
Q. What has been your biggest mistake in business?
A. I don’t do mistakes because everything I do I learn from.
Q. What is the most valuable piece of advice you have ever been given?
Go away and try harder.
Q.What advice would you give to someone starting out in business today?
A. Be passionate, be persistant and be careful.
Q. What one item would you take with you to a desert island and why?
A. Stationery – ie paper, pencils, pencil sharpener and eraser – I could record my thoughts and what I see, write a book and scribble business ideas down ready for my return.
Q. What item can you not do without?
Q. What item would you prefer to do without?
Q. What do you do in your spare time (if you have any)?
A. I have started walking and exercising after 20 years not finding the time.
Q. When will you retire?
A. I would like to think that I could afford to retire when I have grandchildren.
Q. What’s your tip to surviving the recession?
This is a horror story for so many. Its very hard to do anything without money. I would say try and diversify and find creative ways of funding your project until the banks/investors believe in your diversification efforts and come on board. Don’t isolate yourself, keep mentally and physically well and get all the help you need – there’s a lot of help out there for you.
Q. What one thing would you do if you were Finance Minister to help business?
A. Make the banks lend money at low interest rates to companies who could reduce the employment rate.