During the current Covid-19 crisis, Garry Connolly, Founder & President of Host In Ireland interviews Jason Monks, Director Mission Critical at Structure Tone, an industry leader in the Irish market, specialising in commercial office fit outs, retail, mission critical and data centres, building refurbishments and infrastructure upgrade and sustainability and healthcare projects and a valued Host In Ireland partner.
Garry: Hello, Jason Monks. How are you?
Jason: Pretty good Garry. The sun is shining, I'm talking with you, I’m still healthy and well maintained.
Garry: How are you getting on?
Jason: The head is up and it's maintaining positivity we’re keeping well and reconnecting with the family like I've never connected before I’m probably like a lot of guys who has parents of a certain age, a certain vintage and their on the bus pass I find I ring them every day now where it used to be you’d ring at the weekend. Hi Mum, Hi Dad how are things going? Now it’s every day. It’s that extra bit of empathy for the family and for the extended family. Reaching out to the sisters, cousins and what not and just seeing how everyone's doing. And it's coming back. So we're connecting better now than we were before the Covid. There's a little silver lining.
Garry: It seems to be the common theme that people are starting to recognise others
for humans, as well as just what they can do for them that leads onto you.. Are you in Ireland? You’re from County Kildare, I think
Jason: Absolutely Killcullen, County Kildare, an original Dub but like every good man, you move out of Dublin for a good woman So down in old Kilcullen at the far end of the ESB line and the fibre hasn’t quite made it here yet.
Garry: I love that saying you move out of your County for a good woman Or you run away from the last one? Because she’s the one chasing you. Anyway in terms of business, obviously, you're a very hands-on guy. You run an amazing show in Dublin you must miss that interaction with both the clients, your colleagues and the site guys.
Jason: 100% It's like a limb has been removed Garry.
I'd never thought I would ever say this but I miss traveling, I miss getting out there and bumping into people, new and old and just catching up. Having contact with, as much as I love my family, it's great actually stand there and have a chat and feel someone's expressions and feel the humanity that's out there That’s something I relish getting back into
Garry: And in these days, obviously we're having this chat, and it wasn't for the infrastructure your building there’d be very little functioning right now, i.e. the data centres. How is the business coping in terms of progressing, obviously most things are so closed but in planning for when they're opening is a big part of your day now?
Jason: Absolutely, we've been lucky the business in Ireland has been strong in the past few years old so its enabled us to put in a retention plan for staff that’s being applied throughout the whole Corporation led from HQ, in New York.
Specifically here in Ireland, we've got, three times a week, business continuity and business start up catch ups with most of the management team and it's about how we can apply what we think we're going to need to manage during Covid because Covid isn't going to disappear overnight, but how we can safely build, construct, provide services, particularly here in Ireland in a safe way that, all right we might diminish on the productivity, but the main thing is, people come in and go home safely and don't bring anything extra home with them.
Garry: Yeah. Obviously that is a positive in a negative situation, that you're working in an industry that at least you can see a runway ahead. You can see the projects that are going to be either completed or coming down the pipe. It's a different issue if you're going to reduce staff and you don't know what that work is going to be, that brings extra pressure and I guess, based on our discussions previously, you're confident that the work will continue to be delivered and future and post the challenge of what we now.
Jason: Absolutely 100%. On the data centre side of the business, DC's make up a large proportion of our business. It's a core business function and that is probably going to lend to bigger opportunities within our company in general and in our Corporation. Our Core Business is commercial and particularly in the States. So what that's going to lend itself to is eight players, top tier staff that do big show in core construction for us. That may, in the short-term, lend itself to not as much opportunities as we have had in the last five or six years, but that staff, because we've retained them, would be able to come in to what we see is a fairly seismic increase in what the perception of a data centre is to the economy and obviously help push the growth of the data centre business as a whole through suppliers, contractors, service providers, legal etc If we've got those people that are good in one part of the business they’ll compliment data centre business as we believe that's going to grow over the next few years.
Garry: People can cross educate and cross over into different disciplines, if they like the culture of the organisation it's fundamental to what makes people stay. People will join businesses for money or power, but they generally stay in my experience because they like the culture and the people. I suppose this is the time that most of that culture is being tested because everybody's great when you're winning the games.
Jason: And everyone wants to be the winner.
Jason: I just feel really there’s a great opportunity. We're in a time that is really, really arduous for a huge amount of people out there Luckily I’m not directly contacted with anyone that has Covid. I know people are going through some really hard times but we’ll come through this. We’ve managed to live with Covid and manage Covid But I really think the government, need to embrace what you guys have done for a long time. You, Michelle, all the folks in Host in Ireland Data centres are instrumental for how we're going to work in the future. Every type of data centre. And I think once the government really enacts on that or when we do have a government, and pushes the agenda for data centre forward, facilitates what data centre needs in infrastructure and what I can bring to Ireland as an economy. I think you and I are in 10 years time, going to be saying, Covid it was a horrible time but look what came out of that in regards to thought process, application, infrastructure in Ireland I hope so.
Garry: Whether it's sports, business or life you learn more from your failings than often you do from your success because it it makes you stop, breathe, re-evaluate. So three words. Have you three words to share? Is there three words that you could
write on a piece of paper and say, this is what I'd like to people that are watching this, to take away from this interview?
Jason: I’ve actually though about this. Haven’t wrote anything down
Balance leads to happiness. That's four but we’ll discount the ‘to’ in there.
Garry: Balance leads to happiness. I like it. I like it. So Jason, I'm delighted to see you're still smiling. It's a big part of who you are, I have to tell you and I'm sure that behind it, and as I said the start, behind it, is a lot of thoughts and a duck under water, as they say. So thank you so much for your time, I very much enjoyed it and keep doing what you're doing because you're doing it well. Thank you.
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