1. Describe your job as if you were explaining it to a five-year-old.
My job is to make sure that people actually do what they say they are going to do. We are dealing with companies that make medicine and medical devices, so it’s very important that we keep our standards high. We do a lot of testing, we do a lot of verification, and we try to make sure people are doing everything correctly.
2. What types of projects are you working on at the moment?
At the moment, there are several large machines that make medical devices for one of our clients that are being built in Japan before being shipped over to Ireland. There are four machines in total. These are massive machines the size of houses. The first has arrived in Ireland. It had to be disassembled in Japan and reassembled in Ireland. We are writing tests to make sure everything works as it should, and then there will be more tests to make sure it makes the medical devices the way that it should.
Once the first machine is up and running, we’ll do the same for machines two, three, and four. It’s a large, long-term project with many aspects to it, but it is interesting stuff.
3. How did you get into the industry?
I had my own company involved in manufacturing and design for about 13 years, but the technology changed so I had to change course. So, I went to UL and did a Masters. Out of that, I met SL Controls co-founder Shane Loughlin. I kind of fell into it by accident, but it is nice, interesting work.
4. What is your proudest moment (work life or personal life)?
Work-wise, it is completing the Mechatronics Masters – at my age, going back to do a Masters. We had a great class, and we all did very well. It was a real eye-opener and gave me back my confidence that I was able to do this stuff.
5. What’s the best advice you could give to someone thinking of coming into this industry?
A lot of the work I do requires attention to detail. You need to be focused, you need to concentrate on what you are doing, and you need to really get to know the processes. You can’t do this half-heartedly.
I would say, if you’re going to do it, take it seriously, get to know people in the factory, get to know people in different disciplines. I tend to call people rather than message them a lot of the time. I find you create a better relationship when you talk to people.
Try and get onto as many different projects as you can. You meet more people, you get more contacts, and you learn more. Put yourself out there. Do the things that scare you, do the things you don’t think you’re able to do – you’ll find you can do them.
6. Outside of work, what are you most passionate about?
Family, the kids. We spend all our time on the road going to hurling, camogie, football, music, swimming. I work on-site two days a week and at home three days a week – that has been a huge bonus over the last couple of years and has given me a good work/life balance.
7. What’s the best thing about working for life sciences customers (pharma, MedTech, etc.)?
There is a lot of variety. I’ve worked with three or four different companies now and I’ve got to see different plants, people, projects, products. You just feel like you are doing something that is going to benefit people. From that point of view, it is a nice industry to be in.
8. What is the best thing about being on the SL Controls team?
They are a nice bunch of people, very knowledgeable, very willing to share knowledge. They tend to stay around too. Most people stay with the company, so you are dealing with the same people year after year. They seem to like what they do, and they are very generous with their time and knowledge.