Sunday 18 March 2018

Where are they now?: John McGowan


JOHN McGowan ran Intel Ireland and also played a big part in the computer chip giant's quest for world domination in the Nineties.

An engineer by training, he worked for Intel indirectly through global construction firm Jacobs, designing and building factories including the first Irish Intel plant, Fab 10 in Leixlip.

Intel hired him in 1993 and he worked between Ireland and the US before becoming general manager of Intel Ireland in 1999.

He was promoted to vice-president of corporate services in 2000, putting him in charge of sourcing sites and construction services for Intel's facilities and investments all over the world.

The dotcom bust and Nasdaq plunge caused a tumble in computer chip sales, and Intel Ireland's €2.2bn Fab 24 expansion plan stalled. It went ahead later, after McGowan, who had laid much of the groundwork, had left. The Leixlip plant won out over other Intel sites around the world to get the factory that would make new super hi-tech chips and be Intel's biggest plant outside of the US, employing over 4,000 people.

He became MD Of McNamara Construction when Bernard McNamara moved into a non-executive role there in 2007. The planned advance of its then €400m turnover business became a stewarding of its downsizing as the property boom waned, and McGowan left in 2009.

Now in his early 60s, he does consultancy work for Irish and international clients and is keeping an eye out for "something uniquely challenging". He's a director at international contractor DPS Engineering, and at Prime Core, a DPS-backed firm. He's on the board of Athlone-based non-profit research institute Georgia Tech Ireland and on the board of governors of IT Sligo.

He was educated at Gormonston College, NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin.

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