Be Inspired Series
All Ireland Market Development Manager
For the past six years, Paula Keelagher has led the market development in Ireland for leading wood pellet brand brites.
Combining her passion for the environment with her professional savvy, Paula is a strong advocate of renewable energy options in Britain and Ireland.
“There is no such thing as a normal day,” says Paula. “My role requires me to be flexible and evolve with the industry, which is constantly changing and growing. In the past few years the biomass industry has really taken off, and representing the leading wood pellet brand brites is a 24/7 job.
“My job can be very unpredictable. Some days I’m in the office for a majority of the day, but normally my job requires me to be very hands-on - visiting brites customers at their homes or places of business across Ireland, giving tours of the combined heat and power (CHP) plant that produces brites in Enniskillen, attending meetings with businesses who are interested in switching to biomass heating, and occasionally travelling to England and Scotland to liaise with my market development counterpart there."
“I am passionate about my career and the biomass industry. I have a deep appreciation of the environment, and I feel that working to raise awareness of alternative energy sources is a very rewarding line of work."
"During my time working with brites, I have had the joy of watching the brand firmly position itself as the number one wood pellet manufacturer in the UK and Ireland – an accomplishment which we are very proud of.”
The alarm goes off as I get out of bed and run for the shower, already thinking about the busy day ahead of me.
I start the day by checking through emails and my diary as I eat breakfast, armed with a cup of tea.
By now I am arriving at work and getting stuck in to another exciting day at Balcas HQ. I spend the next few minutes replying to emails, briefing fellow employees on what the day has in store, and organising meetings for the days ahead.
Work starts with a conference call from the other Balcas location in Invergordon, Scotland. Because brites are manufactured at two plants, it is important for me to stay well-informed of what’s happening there. In this meeting we discuss actions for the day and any important matters which need urgent attention.
My morning is spent answering emails from clients, and co-workers as I spread awareness of and build the brites client base, plan our next big marketing push, and generate new opportunities for our company.
When industry leaders, dignitaries, and other VIPs visit brites, I have the privilege of showing them around the combined heat and power (CHP) plant. At our two locations in Enniskillen and Invergordon, brites are made from compressing sawdust, a by-product of the timber products made by our parent company Balcas.
After visitors leave the plant, I return to the office to catch up on phone calls and emails. I tend to eat my lunch while on the run.
Typical afternoons see me off-site at meetings or site visits. It’s my job to meet with our many domestic and commercial clients. I act as an ambassador for the brand, so if a company is considering switching to biomass, I am part of the team that consults with them. It is important for me to hear feedback and concerns and then liaise with Balcas to ensure the integrity and maintain the excellent reputation of brites.
Because of the travelling involved to get to site visits and meetings across Ireland, I usually don’t get home until later in the evening. My job requires me to spend three or four nights per week away from home, developing relationships with installers and distributors in the UK and Ireland.
I get home from work and take some time to relax, have dinner and then take my dog for a walk before heading to bed. I grew up on a farm, and still live within walking distance from my parents, so sometimes I go to their house for dinner.
After dinner I visit with my parents or I make my way to the stables to spend some time with the horses. I like spending time outdoors, and really enjoy horse riding, walking my dog, or mucking-out the stalls in the stable.
By now I am exhausted from my busy day and spend some time winding down by watching some TV or reading. I have a last glance at my emails before bedtime – just so I know what to expect for the next day – and then make my way to bed around 11.00pm.