Townmore Construction is a highly regarded contracting and engineering firm, headquartered in Tullamore and with offices in Dublin and London. The company deliver high-quality projects across Ireland and the UK. With a turnover exceeding €40m, they have specialised in the delivery of fitout, healthcare, education and residential projects with many big name clients.
Mark Cronin is the Head of Business and Marketing at Townmore Construction.
What excites you about what you do?
My role is quite diverse encompassing bids, marketing and business development, each of which brings their own challenges but it certainly keeps each day interesting.
In Bids, I enjoy the timeline pressures and the coordination of the many moving parts. In Marketing, I really enjoy exploring the latest trends and applying them to our business and brand management.
In Business Development, I enjoy carrying out research, identifying the appropriate opportunities and building rapport with the market stakeholders from design teams to clients.
What has been the most prominent/challenging project you have worked on in your career to date?
I have been fortunate to have worked on many international projects throughout the past decade, bidding for opportunities across Europe the Middle East and further afield. I have always found dealing with the international environment challenging as it brings a steep learning curve in terms of new contracts, new laws and procurement. Bids of this nature have included the delivery of €120m of schools for the Abu Dhabi Education Council, and Pharma & Data Centre projects across Central Europe.
What has been the worst decision you’ve ever made in business or your career – if there is one?
I like to think that many of my worst decisions are behind me! When I started my career in Construction, I was maybe a little too confident with not enough knowledge or understanding. This was quickly knocked out of me!
What are the highlights for you from 2016?
My highlight of 2016 was taking up the position of Business & Marketing Manager at Townmore Construction. I am extremely grateful to have found a role that plays into the areas I am most passionate about in a company that is dynamic and energetic.
It has provided me with a great springboard going into 2017 to capitalise in an ever-improving industry.
What are your plans for the company for 2017?
Townmore has made enormous strides in recent years in terms of building an extensive, passionate team. Having fastened our space in the delivery of both educational and residential accommodation, we have spent the past 18 months growing both the fitout and healthcare arms of the business.
In the past 12 months, we will have delivered large fitouts for Croke Park, the Conrad Hotel, Aviva on Hatch Street and Alexandra House in the Sweepstakes. In Healthcare, we have delivered projects at St Fintan’s Hospital, the Blackrock Clinic, Balbriggan Primary Care and works are well underway in Tullamore Primary Care.
Our principal aim for 2017 is to continue our sustainable growth strategy, particularly in the sectors of fitout and healthcare.
What are your concerns for the industry?
I believe that all members of the Construction industry across the various sectors on both the design team end and delivery end are concerned about resources.
Currently, we are hitting about 8% of GDP, with 12% being the norm in the Western World. With so much further growth necessary, particularly outside of the M50, it is difficult to see where the resources are going to come from. 2008 to 2014 realised a massive drain on resources and I am hopeful that many more of our experienced expats will take the view to move home to a sustainable industry.
Any advice for individuals considering returning home to the Irish workforce?
I would advise that the timing is good, the industry is much stronger and that they will likely be spoilt for choice should they have the relevant experience and qualifications. I don’t believe waiting any longer will provide further benefits.
What differentiates/separates your company from the rest?
Upon joining Townmore this year, I was pleasantly surprised with the vibrant and energetic ethos in the company. The recession left so many companies and individuals tired and sore. Townmore is exceptional in this case, the desire to achieve and grow is extremely evident and this, in turn, passes all the way down to the delivery team who realise that we are only ever going to be as good as our last project.
Furthermore, Townmore has recently put in place three exceptional Construction Directors, all of whom have been with the company for some time now. This has further encouraged the extended team that we will invest in our people and we want to see them grow organically. A happy team realises great delivery which is evidenced across our many projects nationwide.
Who or what has been your biggest inspiration to date?
My biggest inspiration has undoubtedly been my father-in-law to be, Martin Heffernan. Martin mentored me in my first role in construction a decade ago and has continued to be my source of advice and guidance. You cannot buy experience and Martin having worked as an Architect and Director of various companies in both the public and private sectors for over 35 years has it aplenty.
I continue to learn from him and I count myself extremely fortunate to be able to discuss strategy with him still. Martin is extremely well-known in the industry and thought so highly of, largely due to his kindness to people and positive attitude.
What does Mark Cronin do in his spare time?
I have gone from playing hurling, football, soccer and rugby to watching them all! I have been toying with learning golf for the past 16 years but I am as bad now as when I started.
Outside of this, I really enjoy being part of the community. I am a Trustee for the Mark Heffernan Trust, Secretary of Rahan Fitness and a member of various other organisations such as the Tidy Towns etc. I have found no greater pleasure than helping others. It really eclipses the happiness gained from being self-interested.
How would your family & friends describe you? (honestly)
That’s a dangerous question! However, I have probably developed into a much rounder person (both physically and mentally!) since my youth. Life humbles you, whether you like it or not and the knocks shape and develop you. It’s not a question I ask them but I would like to think they see me as being kind, reliable and a good person to advise. I am also undeniably stubborn!
Plans for Christmas
Christmas for me is sitting with family by the fire on a cold winters night, with an old movie on and a glass of wine. It is still my favourite time of the year as the phone calls and emails die down, friends and family gather and we over indulge!
However, it would be remiss of me to not give consideration to the fact that we have never had more homeless people in Ireland. Furthermore, there are so many people facing what is the loneliest time of the year. This Christmas, I am going to make a particular effort to give back and be grateful.