Thursday 27 June 2019

EPS still growing after 50 years

EPS Managing Director Patrick Buckley
EPS Managing Director Patrick Buckley

Bill Browne

The multi-award-winning Mallow-based international water solutions giant EPS will this Friday celebrate a significant milestone in its ongoing success story - marking the 50th anniversary of its establishment.

The company was founded in Kanturk on December 14, 1968, as a partnership between Gerard Buckley and John Joe Sheehan under the name of Kanturk Electrical and Farm Services, with just two employees. 

Seven years later the company, now known as EPS, relocated to the Quartertown Industrial Estate, and over the intervening years has grown from a modest electrical and pumping business into a globally recognised exporter and service provider to the water, wastewater and clean technology sectors. 

Today EPS has almost 500 employees, an annual turnover of €82 million, and is a global leader in the field of 'wet' infrastructure, with support services operations across Ireland, the UK, the Middle East and West Africa.

Its Irish operation has three premises in the Quartertown Industrial Estate, including its €4.5million Centre of Design and Manufacturing Excellence opened in October of last year; three regional offices in the Republic in Ballyhaunis, Mountrath and Naas; one in Newtownards, Co Down; three cross-channel; and one in Amman, Jordan. 

The company has extensive operations across Cork working with local authorities and Irish Water as they invest heavily in water infrastructure across the county, managing a large number of water and waste-water treatment plants across the length and breadth of the country.

It also supports critical health facilities including Mallow General Hospital and the Cork University Hospital, as well as having operations within the tourism, commercial and pharmaceutical sectors. 

It has held contracts with all 34 water authorities in the Republic (now transferred to Irish Water), as well as securing a significant share of the trader sub-market. 

The managing director of EPS, Gerard Buckley's son, Patrick, said the entrepreneurial spirit shown by the original founders and partners, who were in their early 20s when the business began five decades ago, remained with the company to this day.

"As we have prepared for the 50th anniversary, it has been fascinating to chart the company's growth over the decades, identifying key decisions and strategies that propelled EPS to where it is today," said Mr Buckley. 

These have included capitalising on the rural electrification scheme and  developing branches outside Cork in the  1970s; a series of acquisitions in the 1980s; the roll out of the Government's first National Development Plan in the 1990s; and designing, building and operating wastewater treatment plants in the '00's right through to recent investments in digital technologies. 

"Down through the decades, we've always believed in the power of collaboration, partnerships and our employees, and those beliefs remain as relevant today as the second generation looks ahead to the next half century" said Mr Buckley.