'I was determined to set up my own firm'
Q&A: Patrick Derry
Q: What's the best piece of business or life advice you've ever been given?
A: It was: "Be honest and be straight." And I've stood by that all my working life.
Q: What piece of advice would you pass on to someone starting out in business?
A: Always go with your gut instinct - but surround yourself with the right people for you and your business and listen carefully before making final decisions. The greatest risk to a business is an entrepreneur who is confident they have learned all they need to know. To grow a business, you must be willing to learn from others.
Q: What was your best business decision?
A: In 2013 our business was growing rapidly and we took the bold decision to sign a three-year lease at our current site, going from 11,000 sq ft of warehouse space to 26,000 sq ft with extensive offices. The additional costs posed a risk, but we were confident the foundations we had laid meant the business was strong enough to grow into the bigger space. Now, in 2019, we have outgrown this site and are moving on to the next phase of our journey at Carn, where we are building a bespoke coldstore.
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Q: If you weren't doing this job, what would be your other career?
A: I would be working in sales. I love meeting people and enjoy the buzz of doing deals. Before leaving Belfast fruit market, I was offered a sales position in a well-established business which supplied the market, but I was determined to start my own business.
Q: What was your last holiday? Where are you going next?
A: My last holiday was last year in Kelly's Resort Hotel in Rosslare, Co Wexford, and I am looking forward to returning there next week with my family. My kids absolutely love it and so do I.
Q: What are your hobbies/interests?
A: As the father of three young children and head of a growing company, I have very little time for anything else. However, I enjoy going to the gym and attending sporting events with friends.
Q: What is your favourite sport and team?
A: Ballyhagen Davitts, our local sporting club. We have sponsored the ladies' team for a number of years and one day I hope to see my daughter on the senior panel.
Q: And have you ever played any sports?
A: I played a bit of basketball and football when I was younger and enjoy watching boxing and football.
Q: How would you describe your early life?
A: I was reared in a busy household where my father ran his own business, so from an early age I was always stuck in the middle of everything.
Q: Have you any economic predictions?
A: It is very difficult to make any predictions, considering a new Prime Minister is being appointed today and there is another Brexit deadline looming. My hope is that businesses in Northern Ireland will continue to operate as they do now and that a transitional period will give us the time to make arrangements where necessary.
Q: How would you assess your time in business with your company DRT?
A: We are celebrating 20 years in business this year and I turned 40 last month. I don't know where the years have gone. It has been a rollercoaster of a journey, exciting as well as painstaking, but when I see the build of Carn Coldstore nearing completion, I am so proud of what has been achieved.