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Everybody Knows Eddie Campion

By: Tiffany Quinn


Fine-tuning his knowledge and experience over his 30 year career, meet mac's new Head of Construction

Eddie Campion as good as built half of our favourite city during the years 1999 to 2009. Having worked with Michael McNamara & Co in Dublin for 10 years, when the downturn hit the Construction industry that really wasn’t a problem for Eddie – he took himself off to the Middle East and started over again with John Paul Construction.

We asked him what was his key takeaway from his 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 Contracting and is still trading today with a healthy order book.”

The reason for the success?

“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, Kraft Foods. Repeat business from consultants was 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.”

Some of Eddie’s proudest projects:

“I was Contracts Manager for the Shelbourne Hotel in the 2006 refurb to existing bedrooms, bars, conference facilities and new 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 the many challenges associated with a building that was in very poor condition – the sense of before and after and the enjoyment of restoring one of Dublin’s historical landmarks in Stephen’s Green. The clients had very high expectations both in their commitment to restore the hotel to its former glory and the timeframe in which they wanted the works completed. At its peak we had 700 men working on the site with operations continuing on a 24/7 basis. 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 it’s clientele.”

“I was Contracts Manager on the EU Food and Veterinary Offices in Trim in 2002 worth €35m. It was a 13K square meter office block to house the relocated European Food & Veterinary Dept. from Brussels. What made this project memorable for me was the level of intricate detailing required to achieved the Architects’ expectations. The project was designed by the OPW with the team led by Ciaran O’Connor (now the State Architect) with elaborate internal joinery works to walls, ceilings and floors and the entire exterior of the building clad with American White Oak. There was a great sense of team work between the design team and the contractor and the free and open two-way exchange of ideas led to us producing a building which was award winning in both Ireland and Europe.

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, the client.”

What was the key to the success of the St.Vincent’s project?

“The team spirit that was generated between the client, the design team and ourselves, the contractor. 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. St Vincent’s hospital was one of the busiest hospitals in the country and our works were spread across the entire live campus to the extent that our emergency procedures had to be integrated into the National Emergency Plan as the hospital was a key component of the plan. As part of our scope we constructed a new main hospital block, new psychiatric ward, multi storey car park, breast check clinic, pharmacy and even a new mortuary and autopsy lab. It’s not every day that you must understand the specification and operating requirements for an autopsy table and body fridges!”

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