An Interview with Declan McGoff

What was the construction industry like when you first joined McGoff?

I joined the business on a casual basis as a labourer during school holidays. Initially at the age of around 14, I worked in the joiners shop in Sale, sweeping up shavings and unloading wood deliveries and doing the brew run at breakfast and lunch. To be fair they were a dreary lot in the joiners shop, they’d worked together for years and seemed to have run out of conversation, a game of cards at lunch time in the dusty canteen was the highlight of the day. I then worked out on site and very much enjoyed the crack during my later school years and early college years.

There were a host of characters on the job in those days, most of us know Dave Riley (Riley-bags), a plumber in his early days and one of my Dad’s first employees, who had (and still does) have a nick name for everyone and some of us know Jimmy Nolan (Irish) who retired a couple of years ago. The others in the gang included Ted Roberts (tall Ted/ Tripod), Jimmy Callow (#alrightmylove), Brian Hawkes (Hawkeye), Les Rawlings (5th son), the accident prone Vinny Whalley, Bob Newsham (Wobbly Bob), Ken Taplin (2 tickets), Bill Daley the Contract manager, (Bungalow) Graham, Barry (Bawbag) Stephens, Billy (Beefer) Neary, Carl Neary (Earos) Gwyn (#stayonthenails) Thomas.

The list goes on and includes the young superstars that joined the business at that time, Paul Liebert (Sprinkler) and Kieran McGuinness (Kermit), who are also still with us and have progressed from apprentices to managers in the business today.

For you, what has been the greatest developments in the company over the past 30 years?

We have great people who have helped us transition from a small builder on the pub circuit to the sophisticated group of businesses’ we work in today.

We are now widely recognised as a key player in the developer/operator arena. The Group has really moved forward in the last few years and we are now at a stage to kick on further and continue to develop.

What have been the most significant challenges and how did you get past them?

I suppose the recessions that we have been through in the late 2000’s and early 90’s when I joined formally as a fresh faced graduate from Trent Polytechnic, with my degree and belief that I knew it all (how wrong I was). We worked hard to keep delivering for our valued customers and provide them with exceptional buildings.

The last 12-16 months have been incredibly tough for us all and we can now push on with our continued recovery and put those struggles behind us, we have some great work ahead of us.

Are there any valuable lessons learned that you could share?

Yes, some very early lessons from my Dad, particularly his mantra, “anyone can start a job but its getting them finished that counts…”

What are you most proud of?

Our People and their dedication.