This week in our MHC Life Series, we speak to Henry Sheahan, our Director of Premises & Infrastructure. Henry tells us about everything from his journey to MHC to his typical day and his ideal holiday destination.
Tell us a bit about you and your career journey to MHC – what inspired you to get into this career?
As a graduate engineer coming from the Kingdom of Kerry, my career started with a six-month contract in the Investment Bank of Ireland (a subsidiary of the Bank of Ireland). I remained there for 20+ years in a variety of Facilities and Procurement roles. I went back to college in 1994 to complete a degree in Procurement and Supply Chain which upon completion started my associate lecturing career in Procurement and later Facilities Management. Since then, I have become a lifelong learner and have returned to undertake three further qualifications in RPL, Education & Training and Health & Safety.
Since 2006 I have been fortunate enough to have worked in retail, telecommunications, private health care, the public sector, software and now the legal sector. What I have learned throughout my career is that the skills required to do the job, irrespective of the industry, are broadly similar. The nature of the role provides an opportunity to get to know staff in the organisation as the Premises and Facilities function is a touchpoint for all departments. It’s a great way to learn and most importantly contribute to the organisation.
When the opportunity to join MHC arose, I was delighted to accept as it gave me an opportunity to see first-hand how a law firm operates.
Favourite thing about your role?
It is fair to say that no two days are the same and there is always an element of the unexpected request/surprise. The variety in the job keeps it very interesting, you will never be bored. You get to know how the practice works and what is important, and you also become familiar with all the personalities that work there. Staff are predominantly easy to deal with, there may in some situations be challenges but once I explain the rationale for a decision they understand. Sometimes I compare the role to like being a doctor on call, you can get a call at any time about anything, and it may not be Facilities related and I often need to have a potential suggestion/solution in hand.
Talk us through a typical day for you
I generally log on early to see what awaits me for the day in terms of requests and asks. This can sometimes change my priorities in any given day as sometimes an urgent matter/request has popped up that will need to be dealt with. This could mean consulting with several departments before a decision is made.
I would check in with the facilities team, reception, security, cleaning, post room and the café to ensure that all is in order. When in the office, I would make it a point to visit all floors of all buildings, this is essential to see first-hand what challenges (both positive and negative) staff are experiencing and it is also a great opportunity for me to build and maintain relationships with staff. I would take the time to have a coffee/tea with the team in the café and I would generally have a few daily meetings, check in with the heads of departments remotely and in-person with staff and suppliers.
Over the past two years COVID-19 has been a large part of the daily schedule. Le cunamh De that has now receded to the point where there a substantial number of staff are back in the office. Checking in with the various heads of departments would be a normal daily routine for me. Reviewing pricing for maintenance works, reviewing supplier performance, and keeping tabs on the Boland’s Quay project which has just completed (but will continue to part of the schedule) form part of my daily routine. Liaising with accounts payable on approving invoices for payment would also form part of the schedule. Finally, I would issue communications on a weekly basis to staff on a number of topics.
The completion of a building fit out in the IFSC for Bank of Ireland. An eighteen month Project, that was completed on time and within budget (50m).
Four of my favourite quotes are Irish seanfhocails (proverbs): “is glas iad na cnoc ata i bhfad uaim” (faraway hills seem greener), and “is feidir linn” (we can). Tus maith is leath na hoibre (good start is half the battle) and Mol na oige and tiochfaidh siad (Praise the young and they will flourish).
What's your idea of a perfect holiday?
My perfect holiday destination would be in a quiet location in another country and ideally with temperatures that are not too hot or too cold. The key for me would be to switch off from the daily challenges and not to worry about time. Being a curious person, I would like to mix with people from the area and learn about their cultures.