NBI CEO Peter Hendrick sat down with Aidan McWeeneyin our meet the team blog series.
Meet the Team Delivering Your National Broadband Plan
When you work in a start-up, no two days are the same. But at NBI, taking on one of the most ambitious telecoms projects of its kind, globally, thankfully we have plenty of people across the team who have “been there and bought the t-shirt” so to speak.
As a rapidly growing organisation, it’s incredibly exciting to bring together some of the most experienced, best and brightest minds from the telecoms industry, with the best young and emerging talent. Shared passion and commitment for the National Broadband Plan project brings us all together.
For this week’s ‘Meet the Team’, I was delighted to sit down with Aidan McWeeney. Aidan won’t mind me saying he carries decades of experience, which the rest of us learn from every day. It was a pleasure to catch up with him to find out where the NBP sits in his extensive career highlights…
Job Role: Field engineering clerk of works role
When did you start at NBI: March 2020
What team are you on: Deployment
How many people are on your team? 14 and growing
What’s your work background? I’m a telecom “oldie” who has seen just about everything – a Dinosaur you might say. I applied for a job in the P&T back in 1979 while still in school as a trainee installer. Back then, it was an apprenticeship role where you received top class training in schools around the country.
I loved it, working in a top class department which placed a high value on training and skills. It has stood me and thousands of others well over the decades. I can only regale at such a wonderful place to work. The P&T then morphed into Telecom Eireann (a semi-state company) in the early noughties and became Eircom after privatisation.
In 2004 I left Eircom and went to the U.K to work for Morrisons PLC for two years on a fault repair contract travelling from Inverness in Scotland to Exeter in Devon, England. I came back to work for Morrisons in Ireland in 2006 and shortly after, KN were awarded the Eircom contract.
For the next 11 years of my career (up until 2017), I worked for KN covering the counties Cavan, Monaghan, Louth, and North Meath in all telecoms disciplines, including commercial fibre rollouts across rural Ireland.
I always had great appreciation for empowering rural communities with these projects, so in 2017 I returned to the UK with Morrisons to manage the installation of the fibre networks into very rural areas. This really stands out for me as a career highlight – a really challenging and satisfying time. More recently I also assisted with CityFibre’s rollout in London before returning home to Ireland in February of this year to become part of the NBI team, taking on the most ambitious project I’ve seen.
How long have you worked in the Telecom industry: I’m now Into my 39th year.
Give us a flavour of what your role is at NBI: For NBI, I’m initially facilitating and enabling our suppliers and contractors to build our fibre network. After that I will be monitoring the build, safety and compliance standards.
What do you like best about working on the National Broadband Plan? This is a new challenge with a unique design for building a new fibre network which will deliver a long awaited high-speed and reliable broadband service to so many areas. As a team, we are passionate about delivering for people who have been denied this for modern day utility for one reason or another.
When you engage with the locals in the communities the NBP will serve, you get a real sense of their needs and hopes regarding broadband, so there is a huge onus on us to deliver. This is a great personal motivation for me, and I feel that’s the same throughout the NBI organisation.
What are you most looking forward to in the rollout of the NBP? Lighting up some of our first areas in Carrigaline, Cavan and Galway earlier than planned. That’s jargon for delivering the network to our customers.
What is your favourite value from NBI and why? Valuing the opinion of every individual, and knowing you can share ideas and thoughts in a respectful and business manner.
Tell us something we wouldn’t know about you.
Part Time Park Ranger: Have I got your attention?
My grandson, Lorcan (aged five), just started back to school and has a fascination for Dinosaurs. As I said earlier, “I suppose I am one”.
His morning, noon and night is consumed with dinosaurs – he knows all the names (many of which I can’t pronounce) and where they fit into the scheme of things.
So, I have been assigned a role in his dinosaur world. I am Grandad Park Ranger and he is Park Ranger Lorcan. He is the boss…
We go into his bedroom “command centre for the Dinosaur park” and monitor the raptor pens on his array of eight (imaginary) CCTV screens on his wall. I go around the house and garden to capture the “T Rex” when they escape as these are dangerous and can eat people and other herbivores. This is done with great enthusiasm and laughter. We always succeed, although T rex nearly got me once! Park Ranger Lorcan saved me, thankfully, for which he was awarded a distinguished bravery medal.
Recently, we have new recruit – Park Ranger “TED”. He was added to our base as the chef. Now this is a real challenge, as he eats all the food before we get a chance and this causes uproar in the bedroom with laughter and histrionics. Recently, Lorcan’s Mom shouted up the stairs to “keep it down”… imagine!!
The Ranger team increases by the week, with Molly, Lorcan’s little sister (aged two) joining in. She loves bouncing on the bed during our Dino world escapades.
There are some things in life you can’t replace, and for me, I am fortunate to be in their wonderful lives at this time, at their wonderful age.
P.S. I found the Lego set my kids bought for me at Christmas under Lorcan’s bed.