I was born into a large West of Ireland family of house builders. Both my Dad, my Grandfather and several of his brothers were involved in building houses all across the UK and Ireland from the early 1950’s to the 80’s.
I attended St. Gerard’s School in Bray and studied architecture at the DIT on Bolton Street, qualifying with BScArch from Trinity College Dublin in 1997. I joined the firm of Scott Tallon Walker but my father Seamus had died while I was at college so I also got involved in the family business Earlsfort.
While I enjoyed working as an architect I had to decide between it and real estate because the combined workload was proving a little overwhelming. A few months later in 1999 my uncle Donal, the Chairman of Earlsfort, died unexpectedly and less than a month later the CEO Dermot Pierce died.
In May 1999 I joined Earlsfort full time, working alongside my father’s first cousin’s Matt and Conor. The loss of both the Chairman and the CEO in the space of a month was highly disruptive and challenging for the business, we quickly stepped in to steady the ship.
During this hectic period we completed the design, build and lease of Phase 1 East Point (20+ office buildings) working closely with a number of global technology brands. We also commenced work on Phase 2 East Point which was a joint venture with the Dublin Port Company.
I have always been quite entrepreneurial so it did not take long for the politics that are part and parcel of a family business to start to get to me. Rather than clash with family I started my own side hustle, finding and quietly investing in small development projects.
The period from 2002 to 2008 was just ridiculous. In those short 6 years my side hustle grew into a successful development management business with projects underway valued in the region of €65 million. I had gotten lucky in several deals and ploughed the profits into bigger projects and even bigger levels of debt.
In 2008 I stepped down from my full-time role in Earlsfort Group and relocated to Spain with my young family. I wanted to focus on my largest project yet, a €40 million commercial retail centre in a beautiful marina location in Sotogrande, Spain. It was around this time that the global financial crisis was only beginning to show its face.
In a matter of months everything seemed to turn upside down, deals that seemed secure suddenly fell over, potential tenants pulled out, potential investors disappeared, buyers ran for the hills, sellers scrambled for the exit. We went from party time to Armageddon.
My Spanish project was suddenly in trouble and my Irish assets were all underwater. I began commuting to Dubai to work on a large headquarter project for multinational financial institution Standard Chartered Bank. This project led to another for SCB, this time in Ghana, West Africa.
I spent the next 6 years travelling and working on income generating projects, all the while working remotely on my various interests. Projects in Ireland, investments in Spain and the US
These insights, combined with two decades in corporate real estate investment & development have forced me to question conventional wisdom and seek out alternative, more innovative solutions in the design, procurement and operation of the modern corporate workplace.
Fascinated by leadership, human performance & mindset – I write, speak and coach on the science and psychology behind a high performance workplace and how to unleash the full potential of your team. Other topics include design and specification; health and wellness; place-making and the impact a workplace can have on corporate culture.
I’ve wanted to create a blog for years but always could never decide on with what the core topic should be. This blog started out exclusively focussed on PropTech but it has since evolved to include sustainability and my personal fascination with human behaviour and performance.
Driven by a lifelong fascination with technology. I felt the industry was falling behind other industries and I was keen to highlight the importance of innovation in real estate. The idea was to publish useful reviews of specific PropTech products I was installing across my own portfolio.
However as time passed and I got more deeply involved in the running of EastPoint I came to realise there is a much broader range of products, skills and expertise required to truly transform a place of work. This blog now reflects that realisation and my own deeper focus on creating a winning workplace.
You can connect with me on LinkedIn HERE