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What are your interests?



Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.

Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.

Liam Malone - Coillte’s Forest division

Liam Malone - Coillte’s Forest division

What are the main tasks and responsibilities?

I am Head of Resource Planning in Coillte’s Forest division.

We are the custodians of a resource that is enormously valuable from many different perspectives. Sustaining and enhancing this resource is of vital importance but so too is ensuring that its potential is fully realised.

I lead the Resource team which supports the wider Coillte Forest in realising its timber supply potential. We do this by:

  • providing our colleagues with high quality, up-to-date resource data (forest inventory), and
  • leading our strategic, tactical and operational timber supply planning processes.

Describe a typical day?

Following a quick review and prioritisation of emails, I tend to have a 30-minute conference call most mornings to assess progress on the key projects the team is working on. Having then dealt with priority emails, I will spend time finalising reports or, more likely, presentations, for upcoming management meetings.

In an organisation (and with a team) that is widely dispersed, driving is a significant part of my working like, most often to attend internal meetings; but Coillte is now pursuing a ‘Connected Forest’ technology strategy that, amongst other things, aims to reduce the amount of travel by staff for meetings.

I like to speak one-to-one with my team every day to discuss their work, and how I can support them in that.

I also enjoy representing Coillte in a number of national forums or initiatives, helping to ensure that Coillte plays a leading role in our industry.

What are the main challenges?

  • Leading a team of c. 20 people in different roles spread throughout the country so that the goals of our team are achieved with as little pain as possible
  • Meeting demanding internal customer expectations for quality information on our forest resource, such as our Resource Planners planning future timber supply, or our Finance team assessing the monetary value of our estate
  • Evaluating the myriad of different technologies/solutions that could improve our forest inventory, while minimising the time lost on ‘non-runners’, and ensuring value for money.

What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?

I’m hard working and committed, results focussed and have quite a broad perspective on my role and the wider business/industry. I work well with others.

What's cool?

Leading a team of committed people who care about Coillte, and the estate that we manage.

Being responsible for providing Coillte with the information and the tools to protect and enhance that estate, and to derive significant value from it sustainably.

Working for a progressive company that is committed to the sustainable management of a valuable national resource, provides a multitude of services to the people of Ireland, provides opportunities and challenges for its staff, and has an exciting future.

What's not so cool?

Achieving ‘quick wins’ in forest inventory is more difficult than in other roles I’ve had.

Not being able, yet, to excite our internal customers with the services we provide to them.

Irish weather – it really constrains our remote sensing programme.

How did you go about getting your current job?

I sought to present that the combination of my technical knowledge relevant to this role (forest inventory and resource planning) with the key customer insights I had from a challenging decade in sales made me unique qualified to move the role forward from it’s traditional, technical focus to a broader business focus.

What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?

  • 1998 – joining Coillte (gave me a gateway into enormous career opportunities)
  • 2003 – working in the New Zealand Forest Industries Council (provided me with a broader/industry-wide perspective, exposed me to a different culture)
  • 2006 – moving out of a technical forestry role into the role of Customer Account Manager (exposed me to the needs and demands of Coillte’s sawmill customers, the challenges they face and the drivers of financial performance)
  • 2015 – developing and successfully implementing an innovative new system of timber sales for Coillte and its sawlog customers over a relatively short timeframe and faced with many challenges.

Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?

The, now-retired, foresters who were my neighbours growing up sparked an interest in pursuing a career in forestry.

My manager during my decade in sales always challenged, supported and encouraged me to take ownership of my career and to progress it the way I wanted.

What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

I took English, Irish, Maths, French, Business Studies, Geography and Biology.

English & Maths are core skills that will prove beneficial in almost any role; the former greatly helps with the vital task of communicating your message clearly, while numerical literacy and analytical skills are essential to understanding business or technical challenges.

Both Biology and Geography were subjects I loved. This interest in the natural world was one of the main reasons I decided to pursue a career in forestry.

What is your education to date?

I have both a B.Agr.Sc. (1995) and M.Agr.Sc. (1998) in Forestry from UCD. A diploma in Applied Project Management (2002) from the Project Management Institute, and a Diploma in Sales Management (2013) from UCD Smurfit Business School. Plus a number of internal leadership development programmes.

What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?

As stated above a firm grounding in English and Maths has been important to be able to perform well as a business manager. The key technical aspects of my university education that have proven important to my job is forest mensuration.

Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?

See Q.12 above. I have no current plans for further training but will likely undertake some in the medium term.

What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?

  • Making a real contribution to the forestry industry in New Zealand, over a short timeframe and having come to the role ‘cold’
  • Pioneering a new system of timber sales for Coillte and its sawlog customers (see Q. 8)
  • Securing my current role.

What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?

I’m hard working and committed, results focussed and have quite a broad perspective on my role and the wider business/industry. I work well with others.

What is your dream job?

I love what I do now. For me, it’s a good mix between technical and leadership challenges

What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?

  • Integrity
  • Commitment to work hard yourself, and
  • Ability to work with/through others to achieve your objectives.

What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

Technical knowledge and experience are essential but the real skill comes with managing people, and all that this entails (motivating, communicating, supporting, challenging).

What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?

Technical Experience: forest inventory, GIS, mensuration

Managerial Experience: any role that requires you to work with others to achieve common objectives, either as a member of a team or in a supervisory role, or that exposes you to a good role model



Forestry Careers Ireland