A Day in the Life: Seán Corcoran


Seán Corcoran

I’d usually be up around the 7am mark, I don’t have far to travel to the office in Claremorris but I always bring my daughter with me so she can be dropped to get her bus to school.
The office is a busy spot these days, as we have a lot of projects on every week and my job would mainly entail keeping in touch with our project managers and making sure that everything is ticking over OK.
The range of projects we are involved in is diversifying all the time. Our public lighting projects are our bread and butter, but we have a large amount of sports lighting projects on the go at present, also internal LED lighting and we have started too with EV charging. Our project managers like to be busy so it’s up to me to find new projects and keep expanding the business.
Our staffing levels have grown year-on-year since we started the company back in 2007 and we now have the guts of 50 staff on our books. Basically myself, Brendan (Reilly) and Bryan (Fox) all worked for the ESB in public lighting, and we could see on the horizon that the ESB were probably going to get out of the sector. We took a chance, but as we anticipated the ESB left in 2011, and we had our company well established by then.
Like all industries, we have to keep up with the times and almost all our public lighting jobs now involve LED (Light Emitting Diode), which is a more energy efficient light source. You can save as much as 50 percent energy when you change to LED, and the bulbs can last for up to ten years, where the old electric ones had to be changed by local authorities every three years. So, you can see why all of the local authorities will be changing to LED lighting, as it will save them a substantial amount of money in the long run.
Sports lighting is just growing and growing, we currently have 14 different sporting projects on the books, all over the country. It’s an enjoyable and rewarding sector, for some reason kids love playing games under lights. It seems there is always a better buzz at a game under lights, the Mayo league games in McHale Park are great, and we even saw with the county final this year (between Ballintubber and Breaffy), there was over 8,000 people there. So you’d expect the county board will be playing more county finals under lights in the future.
Aside from the GAA, we are working all the time with the FAI, the IRFU and other sports such as tennis, installing lights at all their facilities. That’s a lot of my work to be honest. The four project managers we have look at delivering on a project when we win a tender, but I’m the first point of contact with people who make enquiries. I’m the one that will be going out and meeting the club who are thinking about installing lights, so a lot of my days are spent on the road too. Most of the meetings with clients, especially sports groups, are done in the evening, so I can be late home a lot of evenings during the week. For instance, I have to meet with Ballyboden St Enda’s GAA in Dublin next week and thrash out a proposal with them. Clubs always want the best deal possible, so I’m often grilled, but I an used to it at this stage.
We’re lucky too that we’ve been able to rely on a lot of locals to expand our team. It’s a great source of satisfaction for me personally to be able to keep families living and working in their own locality. I know from my involvement with Ballintubber GAA down through the years how important is it to have lads working locally. I think we have had three Geraghtys working here at different stages, and two Larkins, and numerous other lads down through the years. It’s good when you know you are taking on someone from good stock!
We anticipate being very busy in Electric Skyline for many years to come. The Government is setting targets for the introduction countrywide of LED lighting, so that will continue to be busy. EV (Electric Vehicle) charging is going to be huge over the next five years. At the moment, with electric cars, people have what they call ‘range anxiety’, people are afraid they are going to get stuck in the middle of nowhere, so lots of towns are looking to get EV charging points installed.
Our biggest challenge is getting companies to change over to LED lighting, there’s obviously a cost involved but the savings over a longer term are huge, companies actually don’t believe us when we tell them how much they can save.
We’ve also recently launched our own lighting store online, there’s everything there for sale to the public from home lighting, outdoor, agri-lighting, security etc, all on www.lightingstore.ie. So we’re expanding all the time, and I’m expecting my days to be busy for some time to come.

In conversation with Michael Duffy

Name: Seán Corcoran
From: Ballintubber
Occupation: Managing Director, Electric Skyline

Quickfire Questions

If money was no object, what would you do all day?
Train hard, so I could beat Tommy Kilcoyne in Sea to Summit next year!

Tell us something about yourself we don’t know?
I didn’t do the Leaving Cert, left school in 4th year, didn’t work out too bad to date.

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten?
I’m afraid chicken curry is as exotic as I get, if I don’t recognise it, I don’t eat it.

Where’s your favourite place in the world?
Home sweet home

What makes you angry?
The housing crisis. Why do all jobs have to be in Dublin when the housing stock is simply not there. Can the Government not incentivise businesses to locate in rural Ireland? Mayo has loads of space for more businesses and it’s the best place to live. Wake up!

First hero?
Tom McCarthy, from the Ballintubber Stores. My first employer (I was 11), learned so much from him. He was a great man, nobody ever had a bad word to say about him. A real hero.

Name three things that are always in your fridge?
Turkey rashers, eggs and oranges (thanks to my wife Anne).

What makes you nervous?
Winning a large tender and wondering did I price it correctly.

Favourite TV show?
Gold Rush - imagine digging up some dirt, washing it and getting some gold, so simple!

Who’s the most famous person you’ve met?  
Frank Bruno, nice guy, hard to understand what he was saying, he kept going on about Harry?

Best holiday?
Visiting my sister and her family in Brisbane, loved it.

What do you miss most about being a kid?
Sundays in my grandparents’ house in Annfield, Hollymount. All the aunts, uncles and cousins would gather in the afternoon, adults would chat and kids would be up to all sorts, life seemed so simple back then. Great memories.

What’s your most prized possession?
Has to be my car, finally have a BMW and love it.

Best advice you ever got?
“A great life is a series of well lived days. Make the most of everyday, be positive, make people smile, do kind acts and soon you will have a great life, don’t waste them you only live them once.”

Describe yourself in three words?
Positive, Competitive and Relentless

How do you unwind?
Two ways. One is exercise. I run, can’t say I totally love it but a half hour run is a good work out. Last year I joined Ballintubber Cycling Club which was set up by three fantastic ladies. It’s brilliant, a perfect way to unwind. Early Sunday morning cycles in the amazing Mayo countryside, what better way to unwind. My second way to unwind is the total opposite to the exercise - I enjoy a pint of the best Guinness in The Old Ground Ballyglass, no better spot.