New Bord na Móna CEO has ambitious plans for the semi-state company
The big interview: Mike Quinn
He was living the dream aged just 23.
Working next to Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak in a high-tech lab at company head quarters in California, go-getter Mike Quinn thought to himself, "life can't get much better than this".
After four years with Apple, the Limerick native went on to spearhead some of the world's leading manufacturing and industrial goods companies in Ireland, Britain and US - including Tellabs, Stryker, Lufthansa Tecknik and Precision Castparts Corp (PCC) in the United States. The latter had a turnover of almost $10bn annually, 3,000 staff and 10 thriving factories across the globe.
Although Mike, his wife Gill, and their young family were settled in Philadelphia, when an opportunity to take the reins at Bord na Móna (BnM) arose in 2015, the Quinns knew it was time to go home.
Sitting down with the Farming Independent at BnM headquarters in Newbridge, Co Kildare, the CEO says he has no regrets and is fully committed to making the iconic, semi-state company bigger and better than ever.
Less than a year into his tenure, BnM announced plans to cease harvesting energy peat and to turn the ship towards new sustainable businesses by 2030. These include: renewable energy development, domestic fuels, biomass development, resource recovery, horticulture, eco-tourism, and community amenities.
Although the transition has faced environmental challenges recently, Mr Quinn is confident biomass fuel will completely replace peat supplied to BnM power plant at Edenderry, and also the two ESB peat-using plants, at Lanesborough and Shannonbridge, within that time-line.
"Year one was getting used to the company, last year was nailing down solid actions and the next three years are about implementing and delivering our plan," said Mr Quinn, who studied in Dublin City University, Cranfield University in Britain and at the University of Michigan.