Me&MyJob: Taking business with a pinch of salt
Roddy McQuaid, managing Director , The Salt Clinic
What does your job entail?
I am involved in every aspect of the business from being front of house receptionist to planning, organising and leading staff to achieve our desired goals. I advise potential clients about the benefits of salt therapy, from helping a child or adult who suffers from conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, Cystic Fibrosis, COPD, chest infection, psoriasis, rhinitis, ear infection, tonsillitis, hayfever or eczema through to an athlete interested in increasing performance.
Is it 9-5?
Not in this business! We open seven days a week from 9am to 9pm. We have two salt rooms in both our Salt Clinics, one for parents with children and one for adults. I love seeing our patients see their quality of life improve as a result of the salt sessions – it might sound cliché but it makes the long hours worthwhile.
How did you get into this line of work?
My kids have asthma and used to suffer badly with it. I heard about a doctor in Maynooth in Ireland who had a salt clinic and thought my kids should try it out and it was a success for us. Salt therapy is a 100% drug free treatment with no artificial elements. The treatment is suitable for children at any age (as young as six-months-old) and they can respond to the therapy very quickly and effectively. It provides effective long-term relief from various respiratory illnesses and can be used as a complementary or as a sole treatment. It certainly changed my boys’ lives around and has allowed them to join in sporting activities and live a life they couldn’t have before.
Outline your career to date?
In 1990, I went to Jordanstown University to study Civil Engineering and after my first year of exams I decided to go to New York for the summer months – little did I know I would be staying for eight years.During my time in America I trained and worked as an electrician – I even received my green card. When I came back home I worked in the construction industry for 18 years, setting up an office fit out company, but unfortunately due to the economic downturn the industry was quiet.
I decided to try a completely different career path which was opening the Salt Clinic in Omeath, Co. Louth. Since my family whole-heartedly believe in the salt therapy we thought it would be a great idea to set up our own clinic close to home. The Omeath premises have been operating just over a year and we have now opened our first clinic in Belfast – the first salt clinic in Northern Ireland.
Tell us about your qualifications/training.
I went through a private training course in London of March last year along with my two colleagues. The salt therapy machinery is a class one medical device and takes care of everything.I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the salt therapy and how it has helped so many people all over the world. Scientifically, salt has the natural ability to breakdown mucus and phlegm and also to relax people. It is beneficial for smokers in detoxing and helps get toxins out of their system. Our Omeath clinic has been open since May 2010 and since then over 1,200 people have been using it.
What qualities are required for your job – personal and professional?
It is vital to have good communication skills in this industry - being able to listen to a patient’s needs is important as well as being able to offer the best advice.
Our staff are renowned for looking after client’s needs and providing them with good customer service.
It is important for us to have a rapport with children too by making them feel content entering the salt caves - we have a play corner in the children’s salt room with plenty of toys, books and games.
What is the best advice you ever received?
I’ve been advised to learn to take it easy and to slow down as things will happen when they are meant to. If anyone running their own business can do this - please tell me how!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love spending time with my three amazing kids. They are at that wonderful age of four, six and eight. They don’t miss a thing and every minute I get to spend with them is precious.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
I once met Mohammed Ali and I gave him a dollar to sign - he was then ushered away by his security men.
So he still has my dollar. It’s my claim to fame.
Who has inspired you most in your life?
My dad has been a great inspiration for me – he works in our Salt Clinic in Omeath. Going strong at 72 - what a man.