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

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