Interview with Colin Murphy: 25th Workiversary
This month marks the 25th workiversary of our Director, Colin Murphy. In celebration of this, we have asked him a series of interview questions about his experiences with the company and the history behind Murphy Surveys.
Who are you and what is your role within Murphy Surveys?
My main role as Director is overseeing the expansion and development of Murphy Surveys. Initially, throughout Ireland and since 2006, everywhere outside of Ireland with the UK being the key focus.
Tell us about when you first started, during the early days of Murphy Surveys?
Being the eldest of four brothers, I was the first to begin working full time in the family business after my late father’s death in 1995. Like most of the companies in the industry, we were a small business with 2-3 employees where all of us worked on site and did our own processing, etc. I remember one project in particular which probably helped pave our road to expansion. I had secured a pipeline project in Dublin Bay, where the client had to lay pipes across the sands which were affected by the tide, and to stick to programs etc., they decided to work during both low tides. My younger brother Niall and I basically set up camp on site for 4-5 months, 7 days a week and worked circa 20 hours a day. There were mornings that we were up to our waists in water at 4am in darkness. But this, like many other projects we took on in the early days and even now, have made us who we are. We like a challenge and are not afraid of hard work.
How is Murphy Surveys now compared to 25 years ago?
It has changed so much in many ways. We have structures and colleagues that oversee various roles and departments whereas 25 years ago, we were structured differently as the business was significantly smaller. But at the heart of the company we remain the same. We are a people company; we are like a big family and you can feel it in each of our offices. People are proud of what we have built, and they put their heart and soul into the projects we undertake.
How did you expand the company and its offerings over the years?
From an early stage, I knew we had to do something different as our industry as a whole, is made up of small companies, which when I started couldn’t sustain our family requirements, my brothers in school and my mum to support.
Our business was built and has expanded on who we are. We offer our clients the support and service levels they require to aid them in the delivery of their projects. We value our clients and will always do our best to build relationships as well as maintain them.
A key strength I believe I have, is in connecting people and understanding an opportunity and how we can best support it. I spend a lot of my time analysing markets, trends and watching what other companies, clients, etc., are doing. I value my contact list very dearly as it is and will always be a large part of my life. I have made some of my best friends and colleagues through my business development over the years.
What is your favourite thing about your role?
Each day is different. The number of great colleagues I work with and, the people and companies, I get to meet and develop lasting relationships with. The satisfaction of securing such prestigious projects and being part of their history. Especially some of the projects we have currently on-board and have worked on in the UK.
Who do you look up to as a role model and why?
My grandfather was probably the person I looked up to the most growing up. He had a “roll the sleeves up” can-do attitude and believes that hard work will always get things done.
Someone I also have admired over the years has been Sean Mulryan, founder of Ballymore Group. I remember him saying to me prior to us taking on the UK challenge, that doing business in the UK would be something I would never regret and that I should not even think twice about the move… And he was 100% correct. What they have achieved with the Ballymore brand is amazing and it’s been a pleasure working with along the way.
What do you think are the essential qualities of a good leader?
I think you must surround yourself with good people and empower them to do what they were hired for. Not to micromanage them. It takes a team of people to create a great company.
What inspires or motivates you?
Challenge, I love a challenge. Both in my personal life and business. I don’t take no for an answer easily! Success, I thrive on success, and love the feeling when our team delivers on this.
How do you keep your employees motivated?
I feel you must trust them and make them part of what you are doing.
What is your favourite book?
I love John Grisham, any of his books.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
These days, Ironman races. I love to train and love the feeling of the challenge of mind over matter.
Any motorsport, I am a car nut, especially Porsche!
What is your favourite quote by a person (ie; author, friends, etc)?
“Success is a science, if you have the conditions, you get results “ – Oscar Wilde
If you could go back in time, what would you advise your younger self?
Study more, enjoy the journey and spend more time with friends and family. Travel, you can never get enough of it and, seeing new places and meeting new people broadens the mind and inspires.
What would be your advice for individuals thinking of joining the geospatial world?
Do it! It’s such a diverse industry to get into and each day can be different and challenging. But.. It takes hard work, dedication and a commitment to quality. The rewards then, can be great. The world we work in is changing, and the importance of us Geospatial people is becoming more and more valued, and realised … watch this space!