‘It really has been great fun building up the business’
Q and A
Q What’s the best piece of business (or life) advice you’ve ever been given? Answer: A deal is only a deal if both sides win. For example, the reason why we have seen such an interest in residential solar in Northern Ireland is because people get lower costs and the installation is free. And it works for us because we get a reliable long term return on our investment.
QWhat piece of advice would you pass on to someone starting out in business?
AMake sure you have sufficient cash first and for twice as long as you think you might need it.
When we started out at Lightsource back in 2010, while many developers were desperately trying to find land for sites we were out knocking on doors to raise finances. This gave us a huge advantage when it came to building the first solar sites.
Q What was your best business decision?
ASurround yourself with people that are smarter than yourself.
Q If you weren’t doing this job, what would be your other career?
AI think it would have to be something with small start-up businesses in Northern Ireland. I find the initial growth stage of businesses really interesting.
Q What are your hobbies/interests?
AThrough my family I’m into eventing (horse trials).
Q What is your favourite sport and team?
AIt would have to be eventing again.
Q And have you ever played any sports?
ACertainly not at a competitive level. If anything at a very uncompetitive level.
Q What was your last holiday? What is your next holiday?
AThree days on a boat in Ibiza. I’m not sure where next yet as with horses it’s very difficult to plan holidays.
Q If you enjoy reading, can you recommend a book?
AI’d love to be able to read more but just don’t have the time.
Q How would you describe your early life?
AHappy and great fun.
Q Have you any economic predictions?
AI think we are, of our own doing, going to have some turbulent times ahead, which is a great shame given that we were in a strong position as a key contributor to Europe and the rest of the world. Unfortunately, we have now brought that into question.
For Lightsource and the energy industry, I can see huge changes happening, as technologies like solar and IT combine to create genuinely smart homes and businesses.
Q How would you assess your time with your company?
AAmazingly exciting and exhilarating. It’s been great fun building up the business despite the many challenges within the solar industry. It’s also been highly rewarding to work alongside some really great people. Having the opportunity to work alongside such a diverse range of people, cultures and experiences is fantastic