Two inspiring business role models addressed Chamber members in Mullingar last Friday, at the second breakfast briefing organised by the Midlands Gateway Chamber.
The large audience was treated to invigorating presentations by two of Ireland’s most successful and forward-looking businessmen: Gabriel D’Arcy, managing director of Bord na Móna; and Fred Barry, chief executive officer of the National Roads Authority.
‘A New Contract with Nature’ was the theme of Gabriel D’Arcy’s presentation, focusing on Bord na Móna’s uplifting vision for the future which will see the company going against the current economic tide to increase its turnover and profit. New technologies and diversification will enhance the role of the company in the Midlands, where it currently employs 1,000 people and where its business has a financial impact worth more than €100m.
Taking the audience through the history of the turf industry in Ireland, from the first overseas trade mission led by Todd Andrews and his turf delegation in 1936 to the development of AES, a waste recovery company with incredible development potential, and the almost revolutionary diversification at Lough Boora Parklands, he outlined an inspiring vision for the future. “We have to stop just accounting for profit and look at a triple bottom line,” he said. That bottom line will focus on people, planet and profit.
Fred Barry, CEO of the National Roads Authority also had good news for the Midlands, as he described a breathtaking scheme of work, much of which comes in under budget and ahead of schedule. He outlined the “extraordinary progress” made under Transport 21 in just three years. Currently 465km of road are under construction – enough to take one from Mullingar to London, he said.
Mr Barry highlighted his satisfaction that the projects planned by the NRA seem to reflect the wish-list of needs highlighted by the Midlands Gateway Chamber and he described a number of projects underway which will transform the accessibility of the Midlands. Because of Ireland’s population density, 83 per cent of people will continue to use roads as their chief mode of transport. However, he pointed out that crowded roads constitute the most unsustainable form of transport. With 120 major projects in planning, it is clear the NRA is on track to reduce the burden on road users, especially those who visit and cross through the heart of the country.
Afterwards both speakers generously answered questions from the floor and spoke individually with Chamber members who attended the event sponsored by Patrick Little and Axis Architecture and Bord na Móna.
Midlands Gateway Chamber’s next breakfast briefing takes place on November 21 at the Tullamore Court Hotel.