Tommy boasts 35 years’ experience in the civil engineering industry with specific emphasis on groundworks, site development and the utilities sector. After relocating to the UK from Ireland in the early 90s he developed his career during 14 years at John Reilly Civil Engineering where he progressed from Site Engineer to Operations Manager for the Southern Office overseeing site developments for the major property developers, including groundworks, roads, sewers and managing multiple utilities contractors.
He is now into his fourth stint with Falco. His first, a 15-month spell ended in Aug 2010 when he left to set up O’Keefe Construction’s Residential Groundworks Division. In between two other stints he has taken senior management positions at VKE and Eire Construction ( 2 new start up companies) before re-joining us in July 2021 to deliver our prestigious contract with the Houses of Parliament.
As Contracts Manager Tommy is responsible for the overall delivery and performance of framework contracts, typically but not exclusively water, on a day-to-day basis. He oversees all aspects of the work and provides a vital link between the client, residents, and the site team.
Obvious first question Tommy, why all the back and forth, leaving and re-joining Falco?
I genuinely enjoy working for Falco and feel really at home here so I can understand why people are perplexed by my revolving door career. To be honest, I’m ambitious by nature and each time I’ve left it’s been to take up an offer which was ‘too good to refuse’ – opportunities which ultimately failed to live up to expectations. Perhaps in hindsight I would have been better off staying at Falco all along and dedication my time to solely to Falco’s success story.
You’ve been working in the utilities sector for a whopping 35 years have things changed much since the 1980s?
Yes, considerably. The major changes I’ve noticed is in Health & Safety, development of mechanical plant, digitization of the industry and the changing demographic of the work force. Thinking back to earlier days before Method Statements and Risk Assessments existed it had a bit of a ‘wild west’ feel compared to today with the work force being predominantly English and Irish. Now, every aspect of the works are planned meticulously from developing RAMS, submitting temporary works designs, lift plans ect and ensuring the workforce have the relevant competencies and experience to carry out the tasks .Diversity is everywhere to be seen in the industry now and rightly so.
The introduction of the mechanical plant particularly the mini excavator and telehandlers were a massive leap forward in reducing manual nature of the industry in the early days and increased the ability to deliver projects more efficiently.
The advent of the mobile phone no longer meant a visit to the phone box on the more remote sites with a pocket full of loose change and hoping that Mrs Smith wasn’t having a long chat with Mrs Jones as I had to either phone head office or call in the concrete wagons.
After the mobile phone bedded in the laptop arrived and suddenly, we had instant access to a little bit of everything all of the time introducing more efficiencies. I did fell that the Fax machine held on a little to long and outstayed its welcome so to speak.
There wasn’t much emphasis on customer engagement back then, – we certainly didn’t do letter drops or spend much time talking through the works with residents or the local community. (No social media back then ) The way we communicate with clients, the team and other stakeholders has also been transformed. Using digital systems such as field management software JobWatch enables us to monitor and manage our teams work so much better these days which has ultimately made our service more efficient and responsive.
Your forte is clearly customer engagement as exemplified by the Drainage Bears saga
Yes, it seems to have made a big impression . What started as a simple idea to explain our presence at a pre-school centre has found its way to the desk of Thames Water’s CEO. If our social media about it goes viral, I might need an agent to negotiate the film rights and royalties….
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Spend quality time with my family as much as possible! My wife and I have two children 12 and 10 who take care of any free time that present itself which I really enjoy. Children really do change your perspective in life and something we are all competent to do as a parent as we all served our time as a child .
I’m keen on visiting the gym to keep body and mind fit and like to keep an eye on the football and rugby with an odd pint of Guinness along the way. DIY projects take care of the remaining time so always busy.
Let’s do a few favourites…
Film: No Country for Old Men, Scarface , Full Metal Jacket (anything romantic really !!! )
Sport: Football, Rugby
Drink: Guinness, surprisingly 😉
Music: I’m a big fan of the Rolling Stones since I was a teenager and got to see them from backstage once which was a privilege.
Football Team: Liverpool & ABMU.
The Red’s form has dropped off significantly since the start of the season– can Klopp arrest the decline?
I hope so. Liverpool needs to invest heavily in the midfield next summer to keep up with other teams. Hopefully a buy out soon by Investors with deep pockets.
Ireland are currently ranked the No1 team in rugby union – you must fancy their chances in this year’s World Cup?
Well, we’ve been here before and Ireland have never progressed beyond the Quarterfinals and this time we are in the tougher side of the draw. Actually, I know its counter-intuitive given their recent form but I think England are a very good bet to reach the final and hopefully be stopped by Ireland in the Final.
Any other predictions for 2023?
Not so much a prediction as a wish, hopefully the war in Ukraine will come to an end this year and if that happens we can file away those memories, the Pandemic & Brexit and look forward to a bright future for us all.