60 Seconds With

“I’ve always liked that famous quote – the more I practice, the luckier I get” – 60 seconds with Martin Byrne, VP and Country Manager, EPAM Systems

By Business & Finance
16 January 2024
A photo of Martin Byrne, VP and Country Manager of EPAM Systems, smiling
Pictured: Martin Byrne, VP and Country Manager, EPAM Systems

Martin Byrne is VP and Country Manager for EPAM Systems, a global IT services provider. With a workforce of nearly 60,000 employees in more than 50 countries, EPAM’s client base includes Google, SAP, and McDonalds. Byrne was one of the first employees when the company first established a base in Ireland.

What was your first job?

I was a waiter in Dublin Airport’s old cocktail bar, serving people like Oliver Reed and Liam Brady back in his playing days! It was tough work and long shifts, and I learned so many things, both negative and positive, which have stayed with me to this day. 

What pushed you to pursue a career in this field?

I studied Science in University College Dublin in the 80s, which economically was no easy time, but it was during and because of this time that I became aware of the power and potential of IT. I was then fortunate enough to join Irish Life’s graduate recruitment programme. There, I learned how to programme in PL/1 on an IBM mainframe using British computer scientist Michael A. Jackson’s structured programming methodologies.

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date ?

I know it’s a cliché, but my two children, Clovis and Lucie are without question my greatest achievement. Professionally, I am very proud of growing EPAM Ireland throughout the pandemic and the even more challenging war in Ukraine. We still have many colleagues working day in, day out, in Ukraine despite everything that this war has visited upon them. We welcomed some of these colleagues onboard as part of our local EPAM team. Integrating them and watching them settle in has been fantastic.

Career-wise, would you do anything differently?

From this vantage point, I would say to take more risks, move jobs more frequently, and spend more time abroad – all of which I think would expand and enrich my experience, because even the bad decisions provide valuable insights.

In one sentence, how would you define success?

Getting the balance right while finding purpose in life and work, because the more you put in, the more you get out!

What is the best advice you have been given?

I’ve always liked that famous quote from the South African golfer, Gary Player, “the more I practice, the luckier I get”.  It speaks to how putting in the unseen work behind the scenes will result in positives outcomes more often than not and leave people scratching their heads wondering how you did it!

How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

I motivate myself and my staff by finding common purpose and goals. Listening to people and valuing their contributions is an important and often underutilised skill in modern business. I also find that remembering the personal side of work when possible can be a great tool in getting the most out of your people.

How do you handle adversity?

I don’t think I can compare any adversity I have suffered so far with the scale of adversity that others are suffering right now though homelessness, war and environmental tragedies. For me, I have been lucky to have loved ones to support me and I look at my own adversities in life by carrying on and picking up the pieces, one at a time, step by step. 

How do you relax?

I love travelling, especially to places off the beaten track, such as Madagascar, Ethiopia, and Georgia. I enjoy walking and being in nature. We have three dogs with whom I start my day on Killiney Hill.

What are your aspirations for the future of your business?

I am so proud of our culture and approach to work, where we challenge the accepted norms around delivery and work with our partners to deliver innovation and excellence. I want to bring that to others and share the magic sauce!

We have reached a critical mass in the last couple of years, in terms of revenue, staffing and customer numbers and diversity, so now we want to become recognised though our work and reputation for supporting even more customers who are already household names.


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