“Hope for the best, and plan for the worst” – 60 seconds with Paul Flanagan, Ireland Managing Director of Camfil

60 Seconds With, Interviews | Tue 11 May | Author – Business & Finance
Pictured: Paul Flanagan, Ireland Managing Director of Camfil

Paul Flanagan is the Ireland Managing Director of Camfil, a leading provider of trusted clean air solutions that aims to protect people, processes and the environment. 


What was your first job?

After my paper round, my first job was in a Dunnes Stores supermarket in the City Centre. What an introduction into the fast moving world of retail competition this was. I didn’t realise at the time that this would be a great platform for the years ahead. There is no better place to meet people from all walks of life. From customers, colleagues, suppliers and superiors, I learned so much. What the customer wants and what they expect to pay for is right there on the shelves I was stacking. Lingo, bravery, friendship, fun and discipline were all available in abundance, I will never forget it.

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

It’s really quite simple, but it is an ongoing achievement, not one that has come to an end. It is staying successful and remaining profitable in business. With all the challenges that we have faced over the years it has become the single most rewarding achievement and it is nice to see proof of it every day.

In three words or less, how do you define success?

Discipline, effort, commitment.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Don’t be cheap and always try to surround yourself with like-minded people.

How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

One of the easiest things to recognise is how people the world over respond to praise and constructive criticism. Recognising hard work and commitment and rewarding it is of huge importance, but engagement from management at all levels ranks even higher. Staff who are committed to their daily tasks and continuous improvement are the biggest asset that any company can have. When my colleagues are receptive of constructive criticism it means they are understanding of the benefits that adjustment or improvement can bring to our organisation and to themselves. They can embrace the value it holds for the company and are motivated by the delight it brings to the customer.

At Camfil we are all motivated by achieving targets and recognising them when they are achieved. We have many small schemes that bring additional remuneration or prizes, but engagement and recognition by all remains the biggest and best motivator we have. Participating in all aspects of our organisation motivates me, but most of all it reminds me that everyone has an important part to play in a successful organisation.

How do you relax?

I am a big fan of GAA and soccer but both of the teams I support can often have the opposite effect of relaxation on me. I play as much golf as I can and really enjoy it, although my handicap would suggest otherwise. I do enjoy the 19th hole and am often last to finish that particular hole. My real passion is motorsport and anything associated with cars. I crave for Sunday afternoons occupied by F1 Grand Prixs and I have attended my first one in recent years with my son who has the same passion for the sport as I do. I have a great interest in classic cars and in particular British manufacturers. I currently own a 1975 MG Midget and have had an MGB Roadster in the past. I spend a lot of time on improvements on the car, and as much time as possible on country roads or coastal runs with the roof down. I exercise a lot and enjoy walking with my better half at least four or five times a week, often accompanied by my daughters dog.

What’s your motto?

Hope for the best, and plan for the worst.

What are your aspirations for the future of the business?

To remain successful and continue as number one in our field both nationally and internationally. I would also hope that we manage to bring a high level of understanding of indoor air quality and the importance of it to a wider audience at all levels.