David Keeling, managing director of Keelings Retail takes the Business & Finance 60 second challenge.
Q. What was your first job?
Picking tomatoes, mushrooms and strawberries on the Keelings family farm.
Q. What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?
The Keelings brand. We’re now ranked 22 in Ireland’s top 100 brands which is testament to how hard the team have worked in the four years since its launch.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Focus on quality and taste.
Q. If you could step into the shoes of one business person for the day, who would it be and why?
It would have to be the CEO of any of the top grocery retailers. Understanding our customers’ businesses is key to helping them drive their success. We’ve great relationships with all our customers but it would be very powerful to see and experience all the challenges they face on a daily basis.
Q. In three words or less, how do you define success?
For me the definition of success is achievement and happiness.
Q. What’s your motto?
Love to grow.
Q. How do you motivate yourself and your staff?
By agreeing common goals and ensuring that we have great talent and commitment within our business.
Q. How do your relax?
I like to watch my kids play sport and music. We like to go on active holidays in Ireland too.
Q. What are your aspirations for the future of your business?
We want to encourage and make it easier for people to make healthier choices through our product offerings and innovation.
Who is David Keeling?
David Keeling is managing director of Keelings Retail, the largest division of Keelings. David Keeling’s grandparents, William and Christina Keeling, started the business in the 1930s, growing a range of fresh produce and supplying them to local markets. His father Joe and uncles managed the business when he was growing up.
Keeling studied international marketing, French and Spanish in DCU and, in 2000, he joined the business, leading the farms section. Over the years, as well as expanding the farm, Keeling and the team have managed to extend the Irish growing season.
During the 1990s and 2000s, berries became the prime produce of the Keelings’ farms. In the past few years, state-of-the-art greenhouses have helped them extend the Irish strawberry growing season from March to December – a first for any Irish grower. Another major innovation was the introduction of the Keelings Brand in 2010. Kantar now ranks Keelings as 22nd in Ireland’s top 100 brands.