In Conversation with Eoghan Plunkett23 Dec 21
1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
To have no worries about anything, with all people having equal opportunities to achieve what they want to achieve. For this to happen, a lot of what is not right in the world would have to be fixed. All wars, poverty, crime, greed and injustice would need to be gone. People would then get on with and care for each other.
2. What’s your favourite holiday memory?
A two day holiday in Rome two years ago as a surprise birthday. Sneaking up behind the ‘Birthday Boy’ (40th) at the Trevi Fountain, and his surprise seeing us all, was fabulous. Then all the meals, the chat, the fun and the whole chilled out nature of the stay in beautiful Rome, is a holiday I keep thinking of.
3. What are you reading? Would you recommend it?
A book called ‘A Line in the Sand’ by James Barr. A fascinating read and historic insight into how the Middle-East was carved up between the British and French, as they squabbled over who gets what, and how each side went to great lengths to undermine the other.
4. Which talent would you most like to have?
I would love to be able to play concert-level classical piano. The beauty of a Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No2 or No3 is something I would love to be able to play. But then, not many people can play these as they are difficult and complex.
5. What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement to date?
Diversification, and all the fields of detail design I have worked in for over 35 years. I have been lucky to have extensive experience in this broad building services industry, and have enjoyed all aspects that have helped me to gain a complete understanding of Manufacturing, Design, Installation and Maintenance. The achievement is, after 35 years doing this, I still love it and have not missed a day at work due to illness since 1994.
6. What practice area do you specialise in and why does it matter?
I specialise in Data Centre design and Mechanical System design. I like to ensure this is right from the start, but recognise that different options offer different pros and cons. All should be explored, but the right design must be pursued. I love explaining to Clients and younger engineers why this is the best solution to get them on board and to impart my knowledge to them. It matters because we are entrusted with designing for a Client who expects this to be the best design and should work efficiently. We cannot disappoint these wishes.
7. What is the quality you most admire in a leader?
The ability to listen and then lead. A leader who listens to other people’s opinions and is able to assess the merits of other opinions to then lead a company into a future based on the soundings of others in the company. A leader can be visionary, but understanding what the people in the company feel for the leader’s vision and act upon and with this, is important.
8. What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever been given?
When in Germany, my Boss once said to me (in German): “ We can do it, how hard can it be?” I wouldn’t say he was the first or the last to say this, but it was just after meeting Siemens where our company were bidding for 50% of all Siemens Telecommunication stations Building Services installation worldwide. We won, and for the last 6 years, as I was living in Germany, I worked on about 120 Satellite stations across Africa, Central America, South America, the middle east and eastern Europe. He was right.
9. Name your favourite building (international only + why?)
My favourite building was the Irish EXPO building in 2000 which was located in Hanover. It was such a great project to work on and be part of and being there in Hanover as our President officially opened the building was a proud moment. The building showcased many aspects of Irish Scenery with a ‘Sensory Wall’ used to allow people to ‘feel’ a bog mist. There was also an array of different wall types, colours and window types with the water race under the building indicating that in Ireland, you are never far away from water.
10. Tell us something not many people know about you.
Half of my extended family live in Madagascar, my deceased wife having been Malagasy. But interesting to note, my wife’s Grandfather was an active revolutionary when getting Madagascar’s independence from the French similar to my Grandfather’s activity during the 1916 Rising when he (George Plunkett) was in the GPO with his two brothers, Jack and Joseph Mary Plunkett. So, two islands won independence by rebellion, and our two families were heavily involved. It’s a curious connection and funny that Ireland is known as the Green Island, Madagascar is known as the Red Island.