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Forestry Careers Ireland

Grow your career in the forestry sector

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Interviews

Daragh Little, Managing Director of Forestry

Daragh Little, Managing Director of Forestry

Darragh Little is Managing Director of forestry for Veon Limited.  In his role he is responsible for forestry policy and Strategy and Research and Development within Veon. 

Ask me your
first question!

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

Daragh Little, Managing Director of Forestry

Getting my degree was the first milestone. Becoming a member and then treasurer of the Society of Irish Foresters, becoming Managing Director of FEL in 2003 and hiring a business coach in 2007. This changed the way I think from being a forester owning a business to being a businessman owning a forestry business. It opened doors and got me out of my shell. The business got a lot stronger and more influential after that e.Becoming chairman of the Irish Forestry and Forest Products Association in 2013 up to the present day. This organisations influence has grown enormously under my leadership and gives me access to the highest levels of Government.

Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?

Daragh Little, Managing Director of Forestry

  • Eamon Flanagan, the founder of FEL gave me a start in forestry and trusted me enough to take over the reigns
  • My business coach, Richard Cullen, who was instrumental in reshaping my thinking
  • My father who never questioned my desire (even when I mucked up exams). He was always behind me offering came advice from his career as a manager of people.

How did you go about getting your current job?

Daragh Little, Managing Director of Forestry

I kind of fell into it. FEL was a small company in the 1990s but towards the end of the nineties it began to grow rapidly. As such it needed someone to take over the running of the business, hire and train new staff, develop business models and plans and direct others to achieve goals. The company kept growing until an opportunity arose to merge with another like-minded company which now employs 27 people throughout Ireland and is one of the leading forestry companies in the country. I am now the Managing Director – Forestry in this organisation.

Describe a typical day?

Daragh Little, Managing Director of Forestry

My typical day consists of reviewing targets V actual delivery, meeting stakeholders and clients to deliver on their goals, writing reports for clients and colleagues, forest valuations and solving problems that arise. Finally, being a business owner, I am concerned with achieving targets, profit and cashflow.

What are the main tasks and responsibilities?

Daragh Little, Managing Director of Forestry

I am Managing Director – forestry for Veon Limited. In this role I am responsible for delivering forestry operations for our clients to a required standard. I am also responsible for forestry policy and Strategy and Research and Development within Veon. Additionally, I purchase forest properties for clients in the southwest.

What are the main challenges?

Daragh Little, Managing Director of Forestry

  • The increasing burden of regulation
  • Adherence to bureaucratic systems and achieving targets
  • The organising of a team of foresters is challenging and rewarding

What's cool?

Daragh Little, Managing Director of Forestry

I love to network with my colleagues in the State sector and private sector to deliver for our clients. I love beating targets. I like being invited to participate in initiatives and boards like COFORD, IFFPA, etc. I like Research especially when we can apply it to make a profitable service. Getting out in the field with my forestry team. Buying forestry properties. Having been responsible for purchasing nearly 30,000 acres of forests and selling about half of that is really cool!

What's not so cool?

Daragh Little, Managing Director of Forestry

  • The paperwork
  • Being a successful business has its drawbacks I guess
  • Cash...every SME has this problem
  • Increasing regulatory burden

What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?

Daragh Little, Managing Director of Forestry

A forestry degree from UCD and 24 years of experience gained in many aspects of forestry.

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

Daragh Little, Managing Director of Forestry

I took biology, geography, chemistry, as the elective subjects. I was always the outdoors type of person and although we did not get much chance to get outdoors during school I was able to apply them. When choosing my Agriculture degree these courses really helped. Geography in particular was enjoyable as I love maps and we use a lot of maps in forestry. I was always regarded as an underachiever, but I knew what I wanted and what I need to do to get it.

What is your education to date?

Daragh Little, Managing Director of Forestry

B.Agr.Sc (Forestry)

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

Daragh Little, Managing Director of Forestry

a. I underestimated English in school. However, it is a key part of communicating to my staff, clients and stakeholders. Being able to write a report, tell a story in writing is really important to imparting an argument or trying to persuade others to make the right decisions for them, for example

b. I always knew geography would be useful and I was right. Being able to read and understand maps, for example, is important in forestry. Understanding physical features in the landscape was also important.

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

Daragh Little, Managing Director of Forestry

  • Winning business coaching awards 2 years in a row
  • Merging two companies together
  • Becoming chairman of IFFPA
  • Buying my own forest and managing it
  • Hiring more foresters and mentoring them in their careers
  • Starting and developing the forestry plantation market in Ireland by persuading investors to invest
  • Have now purchased 30,000 acres in 20 years.

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

Daragh Little, Managing Director of Forestry

  • I am an influencer, working quietly but persistently to achieve goals
  • I am a thinker, never shooting from the hip
  • Empathetic
  • Seeing the others point of view and using that to get consensus
  • I am a calm sort of person

What is your dream job?

Daragh Little, Managing Director of Forestry

I have my dream job!

Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?

Daragh Little, Managing Director of Forestry

My job does allow me to have the lifestyle I am happy with. I work long but enjoyable hours, I work close to home, with the freedom to work my own hours. I have the freedom to set the direction of my company, to get out and about, to influence, to network, to experiment and to research. These are things I really enjoy.

What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

Daragh Little, Managing Director of Forestry

Forestry is not just about planting and harvesting, it provides skillsets that can be used in many careers. Forestry is about people as every forest is owned by someone and you must be able to communicate your vision for their forest. It is about learning. You will never stop learning in this career and that makes it cool. Finally you can go anywhere on the planet with the skills you will learn. Forestry is virtually the same everywhere – just different trees. I have worked in several countries around the world and used the skills I learned in Ireland to bring value.

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

Daragh Little, Managing Director of Forestry

  • Honesty
  • Professionalism
  • Trustworthy

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

Daragh Little, Managing Director of Forestry

Not formal training. I prefer to upskill through my work as I need it.

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

Daragh Little, Managing Director of Forestry

This depends on the area you are aiming for in forestry. The career is quite wide ranging from planting trees to computer modelling and programming. i. An agricultural background is useful as forestry is mainly a farm enterprise in Ireland ii. Work experience where you are interacting with people is very important iii. If you're interest is computer based, having experience in GIS, computer programming, etc. is becoming more and more important iv. Naturally, coming from a forestry background either through family or working for a forestry contractor will help.

What is your current job title?

Daragh Little, Managing Director of Forestry

Managing Director – forestry for Veon Limited.

Ask a question about...
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