Ask me your
What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?
Identifying the company to work for when I was looking to start my career; choosing what type of a forester I wanted to be, as in what part of the industry I wanted to work: establishment, harvesting, management etc. Taking the role of Director of Sales based in HQ in Dublin within Veon Ltd. was a big decision.
Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?
The managing director of Veon Ltd, Mr Daragh Little has guided me through all aspects of forestry in Ireland and abroad. This has been crucial in my career path as I was able to taste all aspects and decide where I wanted to go with my career. My parents guided me also as they are farmers and have a good grounding in land and business, they knew what type of a person I was also.
Describe a typical day?
My day can vary quite a lot as I could be out doing a forest inspection for acquisition, collecting forest data such as top heights, diameters, and stocking etc. I could also be based in the office running forest models and evaluating the data collected in the field for the purchase of any individual forest. Meeting potential investors for forestry and discussing forestry with them. I would spend a lot of time on the phone to auctioneers and forest owners discussing forests on the market. The local Veon Regional Managers would constantly be in contact with me every day discussing opportunities that may arise with certain clients. We would also talk through any queries or problems they may have with certain forestry operations.
What are the main tasks and responsibilities?
I am responsible for forest portfolio acquisitions in Ireland and the UK for domestic investors and some of the largest family wealth offices in Europe. I also work with a number of international consultants in the acquisition and management of country houses and landed estates with forestry. I am responsible for developing lead generation strategies, implementing and monitoring their progress. I work with our regional managers to be more responsive and successful in lead generation and client acquisition. I work with the whole team, identifying new services and opportunities that will drive the success of the company. I also work on projects supplying consultation on forest issues.
What are the main challenges?
Organising my time and prioritising jobs. The forest industry is very demanding at the moment with a surge in business activity. So keeping all my clients happy is a big priority for me. Finding top quality graduates has become somewhat of an issue over the past few years, graduates that are comfortable in a sales environment but also very land-based with practical views. Itís these staff members that drive the success of the company and who report to me on sales progress in their region. Changing Forest Service policies and schemes over the past number of years have been problematic. Staying on top of all the changes to ensure you are in a position to advise your clients professionally and also the other employees in the company.
Dealing with clients on the purchase of estates and large forest portfolios is interesting, as is getting deals over the line and into the pipeline of work for the company. Having a job where no day is the same as the last. I can break into so many different roles as the industry that has so many opportunities, even though I did my degree in forestry. Being in a company where the staff get on very well, and we are given numerous opportunities to grow our experience. Having company cars, laptops, phones, expenses etc. is great.
What's not so cool?
What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?
I believe I am very good with customers and create a good professional relationship that is based on trust. I am punctual with meetings but also on deadlines on operations and reports. Having an in-depth knowledge of the industry, I can discuss any forestry issues with any type of client. Having these skills allows me to be confident in doing my day to day roles. This also allows me to build good relationships with the rest of the staff within Veon which in turn helps drive the success of the company.
What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?
As it happens I thought I was going to be an engineer! So I chose Physics, Accounting, Technical Drawing, French and the three core subjects. I didnít do Geography or Agricultural Science which would have been helpful. But I came from a farming background and I believe this helped me more than anything to get on in my career. Luckily enough I didnít go the engineering route as I graduated in 2006 and came back from travelling in 2007 when I was looking for employment. 2007-8 would not have been a nice year to look for employment in engineering!
What is your education to date?
I have the National Diploma in Science in Forestry (now the BSc in Forestry) from Waterford Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Agricultural Science in Forestry from University College Dublin. I am currently sitting on the board of the Society of Irish Foresters also as a Technical Councillor.
What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?
What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?
I was central to the purchase of high-quality estates throughout Ireland including Coollattin Estate and Kilcooley Estate and other large forestry portfolios. Being appointed Director of Sales and achieving targets with the Regional Managers and Veon Foresters, helping them to develop their industry knowledge, has been very rewarding. Our company has opening offices in Agricultural Marts all over rural Ireland and creating bases and opportunities of employment for forestry graduates.
What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?
What is your dream job?
Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?
What advice would you give to someone considering this job?
What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?
Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?
I completed chainsaw, spraying and planting courses etc. when in college and since then I have completed training to be an IOSH Project Supervisor at Construction Stage (PSCS). I participate in the CPD system designed by the Society of Irish Foresters, this I find to be most beneficial as I can attend very relevant courses and seminars around the country. We are constantly going on management courses within Veon to improve our people and management skills also.
What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?
Start from the bottom of the industry. Work in a maintenance crew, cleaning trees, spraying, planting etc., perhaps then as an operations forester. A regional manager role requires good sales skills which usually are better with life experience. It will depend on what company you work for or if you are going to be in private sector or state employment. Some roles may only require you to carry out one operation, whereas others may have a lot of sales requirements.
Education and Training?
Advice for Others?