“Having a positive culture is essential” — 60 seconds with: Paul Casey, COO, Paradyn 

By Business & Finance
04 September 2018
Paul Casey, COO, Paradyn

Paul Casey, COO, Paradyn takes on the Business & Finance 60-second interview challenge.

Q. What was your first job?

I’ve always been quite entrepreneurial and even had “businesses” while still at school. One of the first was a clothing retail business which earned me a bit of extra pocket money. I also worked in the local supermarket and at a fast food outlet as a teenager. I guess my first “real” job was as a service engineer with FastNet, a wireless credit card services company in South Africa. In a move away from the existing slow telephone dial-up card authorisations, the company provided an innovative wireless credit card point of sale service. This role was a great stepping stone on the path to where I am today and proved to me the value of developing innovative solutions.

Q. What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

Without doubt, my greatest achievement to date has to be co-founding three successful ICT companies. In the last 12 years, my business partners – Cillian McCarthy and Rob Norton – and I have founded Neon Solutions, Exigent Networks and Irish Telecom, with all growing into great successes.

Exigent has grown from a headcount of two employees to more than 40 staff in 12 years. The company acquired Netforce in 2016 and we merged with Exigent’s sister company, Irish Telecom, earlier this year to form Paradyn.

I am also really proud of the fact that Paradyn have a 98% customer retention rate. We’ve achieved this not just through the highest levels of customer service, but also due to the innovative, reliable and secure solutions we deliver to our clients.

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

Adding positive value.

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

“Just do it.” People are often so concerned about taking the perfect first step that they end up not taking any step at all. Be brave, just do it is advice to live by!

Q. How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

A big part of my role involves finding technical solutions to issues that our clients have. Creating innovative resolutions that solve these problems is one of the key things that keeps me motivated. I love solving a problem!

In terms of staff motivation, having a positive culture is essential. At Paradyn, we are very proud of the culture and strong sense of camaraderie that we’ve cultivated. In addition to genuinely caring for our staff, key performance indicators and targets are other important motivators. Setting markers has helped to ensure that Paradyn delivers a high quality service with an ultra-fast response rate, 30% faster resolution times than competitors and with 90% of faults fixed by the first engineer to deal with the issue.

The extra effort our team puts in to get the job done stems from being happy and excited with their work.

Q. If you could step into the shoes of one business person for the day, who would it be and why?

I would love to be in Elon Musk’s shoes for a day. Despite being CEO of three of the most innovative companies in the world – SpaceX, Tesla and Neuralink – and being worth almost $20 billion, he is still an entrepreneur at heart. The vastly different projects he is involved in is staggering.

Q. How do you relax?

I use music and exercise to relax. I enjoy playing the guitar which I took up some years ago. I’m also a keen cyclist, which not only helps me to destress, but also keeps me fit and healthy. We do a number of fund raising events every year for our chosen charity, this year it’s the 3Ts, the suicide prevention charity so I’ll need to stay fit for these challenges.

Q. What’s your motto?

Do one thing every day that scares you. Getting outside your comfort zone is an essential part of entrepreneurship and will benefit you in both your business and personal life.

Q. What are your aspirations for the future of your business?

Over the last 12 years we’ve built a solid and successful business; we are Ireland’s only one-stop managed service solution for IT, telecoms, security, network and business connectivity. However, we are not content to rest on our laurels. Given the spate of cyber-attacks in the last 12 months and the fact that GDPR is now in effect, most of our clients are focused on security and integrating defence systems – this is an area of huge potential growth for us. The plan is to continue to grow the business, not only by increasing value for our customers, but by entering new markets and potentially through further acquisitions.

Getting outside your comfort zone is an essential part of entrepreneurship and will benefit you in both your business and personal life.