Belfast Telegraph

'I love rugby but I am also a lapsed guitarist'

Q&A: Roy Adair

Q: What's the best piece of business (or life) advice you've ever been given? 

A: From my mother, father and older siblings, two things: you may be, or become, lucky in life, but you are no better than anyone else. Treat others how you would like to be treated yourself.

Q: What piece of advice would you pass on to someone starting out in business? 

A: Get to understand your market and make sure you never think you understand it well enough to stop learning about it. 

Q: What was your best business decision?

A: To diversify Belfast Harbour's portfolio into property development. This will be the foundation for the next growth phase and is hugely beneficial to the Northern Ireland economy.

Q: If you weren't doing this job, what would be your other career? 

A: As an engineer, I would like to think I would have been a mad cap inventor, but more probably, I would have engaged in the world of economic theory.

Q: What was your last holiday? Where are you going next?

A: My last holiday was to Portugal and we are planning to go to Miami next.

Q: What are your hobbies/interest?

A: Golf is my main hobby but I am also a lapsed guitarist.

Q: What is your favourite sport and team?

A: It has to be rugby which can only mean Ulster.

Q: And have you ever played any sports?

A: I've tried most things over the years, but I was least bad at rugby which I managed to keep playing into my forties.

Q: If you enjoy reading, can you recommend a book?

A: For enjoyment, I like the Alan Furst novels set in and around the Second World War with a range of protagonists who respond to the circumstances they find themselves in. 

Q: How would you describe your early life?

A: As the youngest by a long way (next in line, my brother Jim is 13 years older), people would say I was indulged, but hopefully not spoilt. Probably most importantly, my family was focused on the work ethic and I earned my first wage in the family shop at seven years of age - my father was not a believer in pocket money. 

Q: Have you any economic predictions?

A: Brexit will be bumpy and will produce winners and losers, but ultimately our strongest suit is in Northern Ireland resilience and we will emerge successfully. 

Q: How would you assess your time with Belfast Harbour?

A: An opportunity to be part of one of our most vital institutions and a chance to work with some of the finest minds and wonderful people the province has to offer. It didn't hurt that they seemed willing to tolerate me and that as a team we were able to build on the very strong foundations provided by our predecessors and create success. 

Q: How do you sum up working in the industry?

A: In a word, addictive - the complexity of the multiple moving parts in the working environment and the strength of relationships with customers, suppliers and even competitors is, in my experience, unrivalled. 

Belfast Telegraph

Weekly Business Digest Newsletter

This week's business news headlines, directly to your inbox every Tuesday.