Welcome back to Galway Chamber’s Business of the Week series. This week, we spoke to Tom Rowan, Managing Director, Rowan Engineering Consultants Ltd.
I spent a wonderful youth growing up on a farm in Co. Meath before going to UCG (NUIG) where I played soccer, enjoyed myself and graduated (in that order) with a Civil Engineering Degree (1994) and a Higher Diploma in Business Studies (1995). I founded Rowan Engineering Consultants (www.rec.ie) in 1998 and we recently celebrated our 20th anniversary. My vision is to “achieve our business goals while maintaining our sense of humour and work/life balance”.
Tell us about Rowan Engineering Consultants and the services that you provide.
Rowan Engineering Consultants are a team of 14 excellent people that provide two specialist services – forensic engineering and environmental consultancy. Forensic engineering involves investigating an accident, furnishing a professional opinion on liability and providing expert reports and evidence in court. We work with a range of leading insurance companies, solicitors and industrial clients including IPB Insurance (who represent Galway City and County Councils), State Claims Agency (who represent University Hospital Galway), AIG, Ronan Daly Jermyn Solicitors and Medtronic.
Our environmental team offer a comprehensive range of environmental consultancy services to enable clients meet their statutory environmental obligations and remain competitive. These services include Environmental Impact Assessment Reports (EIAR), Due Diligence Surveys, applications for, and maintenance of, Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and local authority industrial emissions licences. Key for us is working with our clients to understand the ever-evolving compliance landscape and helping them to develop a proactive approach to compliance. Our clients include local authorities and leading industrial companies such as the Kepak Group, Largo Foods (including Tayto and King crisp brands), Panda Group and Cooley Distillery.
How did you get started in your industry?
I left UCG realising I was no good at football and had to get a proper job! I was fortunate to enter the meat industry at a time when the EPA were introducing Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) Licences. No-one else in the company knew anything about ‘the environment’ so I got the opportunity to become the environmental expert. I relished the opportunity to develop new skills which included applying for and maintaining the IPC licence, creating an environmental management system, upgrading and managing the Wastewater Treatment Plant. At the same time, I was introduced to the wonderful world of health and safety, forensic engineering and litigation. The rest as they say is history….
Why did you decide to join Galway Chamber?
We decided to open a Galway office in February 2018 to better service our Connacht clients and to adhere to our vision of maintaining a work/life balance for the Galway based members of our team. I believe that the best way to get to know a community is to become a part of it. The Galway Chamber of Commerce gives us a great opportunity to meet the Galway business people, let them know what we do and see if we can collaborate for our mutual benefit.
What are the current challenges you are facing within your industry?
Three of the main challenges facing us are:
- Our biggest challenge is also our greatest opportunity – to find excellent engineers, scientists and administrators with the right attitude that fit with our core values of excellence, integrity, professionalism, balance and collaboration. Our team is our competitive advantage.
- Promote a business culture whereby environmental compliance is a competitive advantage rather than a regulatory burden.
- Ensuring our forensic clients are kept up to date with industry developments and research that enables them to reduce accidents. We provide accredited seminars on key industry topics such as investigating accidents, slips and falls, stairways and manual handling to keep our clients informed.
Are there any exciting projects in the pipeline for Rowan Engineering Consultants?
We are continually striving to increase our expertise and are embarking on an innovative forensic research and development programme with one of our clients. This programme will aim to determine the wet slip resistance over time, of materials used in outdoor pavements with the objective of preventing slip and fall accidents in the future. NUI Galway are one of three shortlisted academic partners.
We are working with a renewable energy company in the planning stages of large-scale solar power farms in the South East of the country. Helping get these projects through the planning process will help contribute to Ireland’s renewable energy targets in the coming decades.
What are the major changes you have seen within your industry over the last five years?
Technological advancement has created an opportunity for us to invest in our systems and provide better advice to our clients. Both teams are supplied with cutting edge and innovative technology for immediate field reporting (the use of tablets, drones etc). We have invested a significant amount of time and money in creating a unique CRM system which meets our clients’ needs for real time information on each case.
Changing legislation and its impact on our clients has given us the opportunity to ensure they receive the best advice and support on both new projects and existing developments as we work with them through the full project lifecycle.
Have you any advice that you would give to somebody looking to get started in your industry?
I love Henry Ford’s quote “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” If you have the right attitude and are willing to learn, do any job and get things done, then you will be rewarded not only financially but with knowledge and experience that will stand to you as your career develops.
Rowan Engineering Consultants Limited,
N17 Business Park, Tuam, Co Galway
T: +353 46 9030102/3