CEO and co-founder – Innovate
How have you come to live in Ireland South East
I am born and bred a Wexford man. Left for college and the early part of my career before setting up Innovate with Enda Cahill.
What do you like best about Ireland South East?
The integrated life, I prefer the phrase to work-life-balance as I think it’s hard to separate work and life. The South East has so much to offer allowing us to integrate family, work, life, the outdoors, sport, the arts. The quality of life is brilliant but you have to seek it out. People emigrate to New Zealand or Canada because they perceive the quality of life to be better, the South East has it all, apart from the skiing!
“The South East has so much to offer allowing us to integrate family, work, life, the outdoors, sport, and the arts.”
Tell us about your career?
From a very young age I always wanted to start my own business, and would have quite happily done so after the Junior Cert. However, thankfully I was encouraged to stay at school and to study something related to business. I chose to do the BComm because it is a broad degree, and wasn’t too demanding from a time perspective, and it was beneficial from the perspective of building contacts in the business community. From that period, I always had one or two small business ventures on the go from which I was making money. I realised that the IT sector was growing, and would therefore be a good sector in which to start a business. So I decided to pursue a career in the IT sector with a view to getting an understanding of the industry. After graduating, I Initially worked as an IT support engineer and software consultant in a large ICT services company. Subsequently, I worked as a lead e-commerce consultant and senior technical consultant, and ultimately as IT manager in one of Ireland’s largest environmental services companies. But I was always more interested in the commercial aspects of the businesses.
In 2006, my entrepreneurial spirit came to the fore and I founded Innovate together with Enda Cahill, Innovate’s chief technical officer. I started Innovate with Enda when I was 25/26 so my career has matured in Innovate. The thing I’m probably most happy about my career is the quality of people who have decided to work with me and help Innovate maximise its potential.
What are the benefits of living in Ireland South East?
Quality of life, integration of family work, life, the outdoors, sport, the arts. We use a wheel of life assessment tool to measure satisfaction in these areas and I’d say the South East has the potential to be above a 7 or 8 in all of these areas but you have to hunt it, work in all areas, sometimes compromise and have luck on your side.
Can you tell us a secret about ISE or a favourite place that people might not know?
My favourite walk is Old Bawn beach to Cahore pier and back, it’s a little under 5k. It’s a very special place and one I’m drawn to regularly, irrespective of the time of the year or the weather.
Do you think the South East is a good place to start up a business and what advice would you have for young entrepreneurs?
The South East is a great place to build a business from, you will in all likelihood need to look to markets beyond but the most valuable natural resource (and there are many) that the South East has to offer is our people. Well educated and driven communicators. I’m always slow to give advice, everyone has their own path to follow and they need to be true to it and themselves. I do think being true to who you are is hugely important. Surround yourself with the best people.
“We have made this a nice home for ourselves and are surrounded by friends.”
Dean Caron, Unum
“You just can’t beat the work life balance.”
Aoife O’Brien, Taxback Group
“Ireland South East is a very friendly and artistic area, with a cosy, intimate community.”
Tomm Moore, Cartoon Saloon