“Determination not to fail is what drives me”–CEO Q&A: John Egan, Ecocel

Business, Interviews | Wed 1 Aug | Author – Business & Finance
John-Egan-Ecocel
John Egan, Ecocel.

In our next CEO Q&A, John Egan of Ecocel speaks about running a business on the co-operative model, and why having multiple factory sites is better than expanding capacity.


Q. What are your main priorities and goals in your role?

My main priority is to get Ecocel mainstream i.e. the default insulation for grants and social housing. My goal is to inform the public, as at the moment at least 50% of insulation is sold on misinformation.

Q. What are your biggest challenges as CEO?

Keeping Ecocel going in a very hostile industry that does not want to change for the better. 

Q. How do you keep your team/staff motivated?

By sharing my vision of Ecocel becoming the default insulation for grants and social housing and running Ecocel in such a way that all staff will share the co-operative model that is now shown worldwide to be the optimum.

Q. What are the challenges facing the industry going forward?

The market is dominated by fossil fuel insulations with big marketing budgets who are not doing enough for our carbon future. 

Q. What new trends are emerging in your industry?

We are seeing tools to actually measure performance six to seven years after an attic is insulated. Ecocel has participated and is shown to perform significantly better than what we would have claimed.

Q. Are there any major changes you would like to see in your sector?

The frequent use of tools to measure performance and make comparisons between fossil fuel insulations and natural fibre insulations where their use overlaps i.e. attics, the simplest and most effective way to save energy in a house when done properly. 

Q. As an employer are you finding any skills gaps in the market?

We would notice the lack of conscientious, skilled and communicative workers on most of the sites we work on, especially the larger ones. How do trades get to bully the people who pay them? And this happens on big and individual sites.

Q. How will Brexit affect you, or have you started to feel the effects already?

Brexit affected us immediately after the vote with the fall in sterling.

Q. How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?

Success will be when Ecocel is mainstream, thus promoting healthy safe energy efficient houses with Ecocel run as a cooperative. Determination not to fail is what drives me.

Q. What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?

Honest communication throughout all dealings.

Q. What have been your highlights in business over the past year?

Spending two days at the Architecture Expo in the RDS and at the end of a lot of toing and froing and many questions, it resulted in an architect specifying Ecocel for 120 social housing units. I should add that this in turn led to measurement of Ecocel six to seven years after it was installed in attics which saw exemplary results. 

Q. What’s next for your company?

To get the factory in Cork up to capacity. Then, rather than increase the capacity as would be the norm in business, we would like to open another factory in the midlands. The reasoning is to keep the Carbon Footprint down by keeping transport of paper and insulation to the minimum.

Q. Where do you want your business/brand to be this time next year?

The default insulation in all attic retrofits as what is mostly being used is imported synthetic fibres. These synthetic fibres make attics much more dangerous in a fire, they become more mouldy affecting people with asthma issues and they will need to be replaced as it is not cost effective to fit a vapour check to protect the synthetic fibres. Ecocel, due to its natural hygroscopic fibres can deal with the moisture therefore improves the indoor air quality, is fireproof and will last the lifespan of the building.

We would notice the lack of conscientious, skilled and communicative workers on most of the sites we work on