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Building the future with Eddie Campion

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By: #TEAMmac

18.05.2020

An interview with Eddie Campion

Meet mac’s Managing Director of Construction, Eddie Campion, who as good as built half of Dublin city during the years 1999-2009. Having worked with Michael McNamara & Co. for 10 years, when the downturn hit the construction industry, it really wasn’t a problem for Eddie – he took himself off to the Middle East and started over again with John Paul Construction.

We sat down with Eddie to ask him about his career highlights so far. 

We cultivated robust partnerships with our clients and consultants by simple doing what we said we would do.

What was your key takeaway from your eight and a half years in the Middle East?

I’m very proud of the instrumental role I played in setting up an Irish construction company in Saudi Arabia, one of the few Irish construction success stories in the region. I was the Chief Operating Officer for the company during my time with them. The company we set up is called Absal Paul and is still trading today with a healthy order book.

The reason for your success there?

First and foremost, hard work and the tenacity to keep going in the difficult times. Secondly, we identified a strong local partner and we cultivated robust partnerships with our clients and consultants by simply doing what we said we would do. We targeted international blue-chip clients such as Halliburton, General Electric, PwC, TNT and Kraft Foods. Repeat business from consultants was the key to our success.

Why did you come to work at mac?

When I decided I wanted to come back, to be honest there were many options available to me. My career to date had been with major contractors and I had achieved a lot in all the companies I had worked with. I felt that going back would have been exactly that – going back – more of the same.  Coming to mac and taking a lead role in developing their construction division is probably a bigger challenge; and that’s good. I see a different approach in mac – to me it’s refreshing, there’s a different approach to managing and running a construction company. There’s something a little different here that the mainstream guys don’t do.

What has been your most notable achievement since you started with mac and how did you achieve it?

Achieving general acceptance of mac as a construction Main Contractor across the industry with both clients and consultant teams and ultimately securing significant projects from blue-chip clients – Ryanair, Mountpark and Green REIT amongst others. We did it by firstly building a separate team with specific construction capability. I contacted my old connections with professionals I worked with in the past and encouraged them to join an exciting emerging company that gave them opportunities to build their own careers, along with the company’s. I had worked with many of these people before so we could hit the ground running as a team.

Then we held a lot of meetings and presentations to get the message out that mac have the capability, team, and most importantly a track record – that of mac, the people on the team and my own. 

When we had succeeded in convincing clients and professionals as to our competence to deliver large-scale construction projects, the biggest challenge was the commercially competitive nature of the construction industry in Ireland and the UK. In order to bring value, we interrogate the design and ensure that we achieve maximum efficiencies and provide alternative options to add value.  This means we’re competitive, but we question assumptions and look for more cost-efficient solutions while maintaining the project goals.

Tell us about your career highlights before mac.

I was Contracts Manager for the Shelbourne Hotel in the 2006 refurb to existing bedrooms, bars, conference facilities and a 100-bedroom extension over 2 levels of basement worth €98m. I’m proud of this project because of the prestigious standing which the Shelbourne holds and the fact that we overcame many challenges associated with a building that was in very poor condition. The blood, sweat and tears which were shed during the works are long forgotten when you get a chance to visit the hotel and enjoy what the final product has to offer to its clientele.

I was Contracts Manager on the EU Food and Veterinary Offices in Trim in 2002 worth €35m. It was a 139,931 sq. ft. office block to house the relocated European Food & Veterinary Department from Brussels. What made this project memorable for me was the level of intricate detailing required to achieve the Architects’ expectations. The project was designed by the OPW with the team led by Ciaran O’Connor (now the State Architect). I personally won the CIOB Award in the category of Projects >€30 million at the Building Manager of the Year Awards for this project.

Another remarkable project for me was the St. Vincent’s University Hospital, a public procurement package worth €112m.  Again, my role was Contracts Manager with overall responsibility for the delivery of the job, liaison with the design team and the client. I still remember at the initial kick-off meeting the client saying to the team, “We have invited you in here to do this work so therefore we want to accommodate you, but you must remember that what we do here involves life and death situations and therefore this takes priority.” This set the tone for the entire project and all parties cooperated fully to ensure that we completed the works on time and within budget, which was unusual, if not unheard of, on such types of projects. 

Have you taken any calculated risk at mac that has paid off?

We saw a market, albeit very different to the typical commercial construction we were targeting, in residential building. We leveraged some of the previous experience of our team in this sector and were invited to tender and ultimately secured two projects within the social and affordable housing sector. The other exciting development is the mac Skystone Joint Venture which brings mac into the realm of off-site modular construction. We firmly believe this is the future of construction in the residential and hotel sectors.

Since starting with mac in 2017, Eddie and his team have secured several greenfield and brownfield construction projects in Dublin. The current projects include: a new 7-storey office for Ryanair beside their existing offices; a 75,000 sq. ft. office/retail development in Newmarket, Dublin 8; a 7-storey office block on 35 Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge; a 21,500 sq. ft. new film studio for Ardmore Studios in Bray and a 25,000 sq. ft. warehouse expansion for BD Medical in Drogheda.

The team have already completed a 350,000 sq. ft. logistics campus in Horizon Logistics Park; a logistics hub for Mountpark in Baldonnell Business Park and two social & affordable housing developments in Monaghan and Waterford.

Do you have a project you’d like to talk to us about? Reach out to #TEAMmac today cbrady@mac-group.com

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