Building Your Business
Christmas Cheer: Connecting PLATO Companies in East Border Region

12 December 2014

Around eighty SMEs, all participants in PLATO, gathered in the Ballymacscanlon House Hotel yesterday evening to connect with other businesses across the East Border Region. PLATO EBR Parent companies were also in attendance. Dr Cecilia Hegarty, Director of PLATO EBR took the opportunity to thank Parent Companies for their contribution to the Programme, to date almost €6million has been secured in in-kind contribution to the Programme since its inception in 2012. Dr Hegarty also noted that “PLATO EBR currently has 13 cross-sectoral groups operational across the region. Two fora have also grown out of pre-existing groups, and tend to be more self-sustaining and cross-territorial in nature. For instance the Newry Forum covers Newry and Mourne, Meath, Armagh, Craigavon and Louth.” Dr Hegarty also added, “In addition we have 3 clusters, food, internationalisation, and e-tourism which have anything from 10 to 30 members in each cluster”.  

At the event, companies were involved in a high-energy structured networking session which was followed by the highlight of the evening, a key note presentation from Global Entrepreneur of the Year Winner, Patrick Joy from Suretank. Patrick talked about how customer focus, product innovation and global market penetration fuelled his business success. Patrick outlined his career profile and business journey which was peppered with ups and downs. Suretank is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of Offshore Tanks and Cargo Carrying Units with a 62% market share in tanks and 20% in CCUs. They are manufacturers of mud pumps, heated mud skips, cryogenic tanks and many other similar products used on the offshore oil platforms. Whilst they are headquartered in Ireland, they design and manufacture in Ireland, UK, Poland, Thailand, Brazil, USA and China. Sales offices are in Ireland, Norway, UK, The Netherlands, Thailand, China, Malaysia, Australia, USA and Brazil. Suretank has a customer base that includes all of the leading global oil service and rental companies with revenue growth from €1million in 1995 to €83million in 2014 and employee growth from 14 in 1995 to over 800 in 2014.

Patrick talked about the reality of managing a global firm; the company was very much led by himself and a colleague – both rather aged (their total age was 120 years!) and the need to put a senior management team in place to carry the business forward was difficult but necessary. It reminded the PLATO EBR companies to think about their growth journey and to plan ahead. Patrick said “The key to business success is customer relationships and having a clear vision and knowing how to communicate it”. Patrick demonstrated how important it was to build a great team and reward their efforts.  Patrick’s mottos were:-

“Love your customer, your products and your people”

“Lead by example, from the front, don’t be a desk jockey”

We kindly thank you our participant companies for donating prizes. The Prize Winners were:-



Brix Work Wear Online Voucher €100

Marion Walsh, PLATO Dublin

Brehon Brewhouse Ale Hamper

Robbie Nolan, PLATO NE

Carlingford Adventure Centre Skypark Voucher for Two

Mario McBlain, Dundalk IT

Concra Wood Golf & Country Club 4-Ball Green Fee Voucher

Michael McKervey, Fresh Interiors

Lilys Tea Shop Christmas Hamper

Quiz Team: Out of Our Christmas Tree

Long Meadow Cider Hamper

Conor McKenna, Concra Wood

Polka Dot Foods Hamper

William O’Sullivan, Irish Military War Museum

Pollocks Pickles Christmas Hamper

Pat Cassidy, CASPAC

See Sense Intelligent Bike Light

Liam McCauley, Irish Guided Tours

Slieve Donard Resort & Spa Afternoon Tea for Two Voucher

Joe Hughes, Glen Dimplex Group

White Orchid €25 Voucher

Dermot Doherty, Doherty Consulting

White Orchid €25 Voucher

Ronan Harbinson, Chamber of Commerce


PLATO EBR is already working on its next celebratory event on 24th February 2015. Save the Date!

The Chair of PLATO EBR, John McEntegart Monaghan Local Enterprise Office thanked participants and Patrons of PLATO EBR for their support during the year and wished everyone continued success in 2015.

To view Patrick Joy's presentation please click on the link below


PJoy Suretank for PLATO EBR 11.12.14

  • Cavan
  • Louth
  • Meath
  • Monaghon