Taking Care of Business

Sponsored by: Local Enterprise Office Laois, Offaly & Westmeath
Entrepreneur and HR expert Ronan Berry steals ideas from the best business minds in the midlands, every Tuesday from 7pm.

Supported by the Local Enterprise Office, this programme introduces you to successful people, happy to share their insights and winning formulas – or from whom Ronan can prise the answers.

Need advice? Have a question or a discussion topic suggestion? You can contact the show, or select an article below to read more about previous shows in the series.


Taking Care of Business can be emailed at [email protected].


Birr Castle – the star gazing tourist hotspot with generations of history spread over one-hundred and twenty acres.

Created over generations it is an environmental and scientific time capsule that remains the family home of the Parson’s, a fact that is a key driver of the amenities success according to General Manager Grainne O’Malley.

Mark Healy of The Pantry Café Portlaoise on the importance of exemplary customer service and empowering staff to simply ‘be themselves’ with customers.

The Pantry Café in Portlaoise took home two awards at the Midlands 103 Hospitality Awards for Best Café and Best Restaurant Manager Rachael Doyle.

Leadership trainer Kathleen Kinsella discusses the relevance of ‘soft skills’ training in the healthcare sector.

Kathleen Kinsella provides soft skills training to the public and private healthcare sector.
Popular courses include Conflict Management, Peer to Manager People Management and Dignity at Work Management

Midlands 103 Hospitality Awards

This episode of Taking Care of Business is dedicated to the inaugural Midlands 103 Hospitality Awards that were held in the Midlands Park Hotel, Portlaoise on Monday 21st of May. In all 45 awards were handed out to the winners, chosen by a panel of expert judges from hundreds of nominees as selected by over four thousand Midlands 103 listeners. A full list of all the nominees and winners is available at www.midlands103awards.com . Here, Ronan chats to some of the judges including David Whelehan from Whelehan’s Wines, Executive Chef of Fire Restaurant Richie Wilson and Restaurateur Nick Munier. Also, Colm Neville owner of the Midlands Park Hotel, Portlaoise and Brian Cunningham co –founder of the Midlands 103 Hospitality Awards. Paul Bell from the Brewery Tap, Tullamore drops in for a chat about his nomination for Best Sports Bar and we hear from some of the winners on the night. Ronan starts the show by taking to the Chief Executive of Laois County Council John Mulholland about what the region has to offer.

On-farm Craft Brewery

David Walsh of Craft Brewery Ballykilcavan, Stradbally drops into studio to chat to Albert about why he’s installed a new brewery on their family farm.

Condron Concrete

The Midlands business community were saddened to hear of the passing of the legendary Offaly businessman Johnny Condron last week.
Johnny’s son John Jnr talks about the beginnings of Condron Concrete and where it is today, employing 120 people at its two plants in Tullamore.

Meet the young entrepreneur with a novel fundraising idea for your sports club!

Runner up in the Junior Category was Joanne Cushen, Ballyboy of Gnó-Jó who has developed a simple but highly effect product that allows sports clubs to raise much needed funds.
But the concept is merely the starting point and Joanne is a driven and determined 13-year-old entrepreneur. Joanne and her father Bobby joined Ronan to talk about her business.

An ambitious Laois tourism strategy has just been launched – but how effective will it be?

A Strategic Plan for Tourism in Laois (2018-2023) was published recently and sets out the strategic ambitions and key targets for tourism in the county.
Stradbally based Big Idea Consulting have been appointed to spearhead the implementation of the strategy and partners Jackie Carroll and Rose Bergin dropped in to talk about the project and its key metrics.

HSE Tullamore Staff Choir brings employees together in the spirit of wellbeing.

The choir has brought together a diverse range of employees from across all local HSE functions and reunited former colleagues and friends.
And they can sing too!

The dispersion of manufacturing using 3D printing will mean that companies no longer need to operate large scale facilities in low cost regions of the world.

Dr. Andrew Lynch Chief Innovation Officer at Irish Manufacturing Research explains the vision behind the facility located at the National Science Park in Mullingar.
Andrew outlines the ‘act local but think global’ ethos of the research facility and introduces the concept of Manufacturing 4.0.
He also pays tribute to ‘an extraordinary eco-system of companies based in the Midlands’.
The interview is a must listen for those in the manufacturing sphere and those considering a career in manufacturing.

Mayor of Athlone Aengus O’Rourke and Richie O’Hara of Bay Sports discuss Athlone’s strategic location in ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’.

Listen back to Aengus O’Rourke (Mayor of Athlone and owner of Midland Print and Signs) and Richie O’Hara (Bay Sports) in conversation with Ronan Berry at the Athlone Chamber of Commerce Awards in the Sheraton Hotel Athlone on Saturday 21st April 2018.

Are the Midlands considered the ideal place to live and work or do companies face an uphill battle in attracting talent to the region?

Listen back to Senator Gabrielle McFadden; David Gleeson (RBK), Mary Mullin (Collins McNicholas, Marie Grenham (Grenham Travel) and Paddy Dunican (Kilbeggan Races) in conversation with Ronan Berry at the Athlone Chamber of Commerce Awards in the Sheraton Hotel Athlone on Saturday 21st April 2018.

The future of Irish business and innovation is in safe hands with these primary school kids!

Ronan really enjoyed his visit to Offaly’s Most Enterprising Student competition organised by Local Enterprise Office Offaly with the aim of encouraging entrepreneurship in primary school children.
Listen back as Ronan talks to 10-year-old Adam who has established a kindling business and currently supplies twenty-seven customers weekly. Adam is well versed on his operating and production costs too.
Twelve-year-old Sarah produces ‘stress reducing’ slime in her bedroom and demand has soared over the past year and she now sells her product on-line too!
Business Advisor Geraldine Beirne outlines the objectives of the programme and how it feeds into the Student Enterprise
Awards for secondary school children and ultimately Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur.
The future is very bright indeed!
Listen back to the full interview here.

Are you one of the 400,000 Irish people who worked in the UK previously? You might be entitled to a UK state pension.

Frank Buckley of USP Financial outlines to Ronan how returned Irish emigrants will have paid UK taxes and social insurance during their time there. Many people do not appreciate the potential value of their accrued UK state pension rights and Frank has positioned himself to assist.

Aisling Minnock recently received the highest accolade for the management of her farm forest.

Having built a career and life in New York Aisling Minnock found herself back in her home county managing a fifty-hectare farm forest following the tragic passing of her husband and visionary behind the plantation.
Aisling joined Ronan to discuss the importance of best practice in forestry and how to safeguard the investment.
Joining them in studio was Jim Crowley, a registered forester whom Aisling credits as being the key player in winning the award which highlighted the forest as an example of best practice for forestry management.
Listen to the full interview here.

Gerry Farrell of the Irish Concrete Federation on the growth in Irish precast concrete exports to the UK.

The Irish Concrete Federation (ICF) is the national representative organisation for the Irish aggregates and concrete products industry and is one of the promoters of the ‘Building Your Career’ event being held in Mount Lucas on Tuesday 17th April 2018.
CEO Gerry Farrell talks to Ronan about the objectives of the ICF and the benefits it offers to its seventy-five member companies and highlights how the exporting of Irish precast concrete products to the UK has become a multi-million euro industry.
This is very relevant given the high number of quality precast concrete producers based in Laois, Offlay and Westmeath and emphasises how ‘local’ the concrete industry is.
Listen to the full interview here.

Have you ever considered working in your local quarry or concrete company?

Learn more about a ‘Building Your Career’ event in Mount Lucas on 17th April.
Ronan talks to John Kelly, Manager of the National Construction Training Centre in Mount Lucas Co. Offaly about an event on 17th April 2018 hoping to attract much needed workers into the construction and quarrying industry.
John also outlines the services provided by the training centre including a tower crane unique to the centre and an innovative UK changeover course that allows Irish machine certificates to be recognised in the UK.
Listen back to the full interview here.

Methane gas powered tractors are currently being tested in the UK and will be working on Irish farms by 2020.

Billy Shaw, Manging Director of WR Shaw, joined Ronan in studio to talk about his business from selling his first tractor in 1984 to now employing over thirty people in their state of the art premisies in Tullamore.
Billy also discusses the latest in tractor technology and innovation as methane powered tractors developed by New Holland are currently on trial in the UK.
WR Shaw also play a pivotal role in keeping Dublin Airport operational during periods of snowfall using no less than 44 tractors equipped with snow ploughs.

Can LittlePal help to eliminate machinery related farm fatalities?

LittlePal is an innovative farm safety product devised by work colleagues Dymphna Fergus and Eugene Beatty on hearing of the death of a child on a farm in Mayo.
To find out more about the product and how it works, listen back to Ronan’s interview with Eugene Beatty here.

Is your business eligible for the Brexit Loan Scheme recently unveiled by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation?

David Kinsella of Kinsella Financial Services Portlaoise outlines the particulars of the scheme which allows eligible businesses to borrow up to €500,000 unsecured at very attractive interest rates.
David also discusses Brexit strategies and creating a Treasury Policy in anticipation of exchange rate fluctuation.
Listen back to the full interview here.

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