Donna Ahern talks to Peter Wynne, CEO of Ice Water, which was named Best Green Non-Alcoholic Beverage Manufacturer at the inaugural Green Food and Beverage Producer Awards this month.
Ice Water and ERG Group also won the Sustainable Water Achievement Award at the National Green Awards earlier this year.
The installation of their filtered water systems in both the domestic and commercial markets has saved tens of millions of plastic bottles being used each year.
How would you describe your role?
My role is about creating exciting new challenges. At Ice Water, we are always striving to be a market leader when it comes to the development of technology, but also in terms of how we work with our customers.
We pride ourselves on always listening to our customers and seeing how we can create new solutions to make or do things better. Also, I believe that involving every member of the team in the discussion of ideas and respecting opinions creates a more successful operation.
What was your first job and what did you learn from it?
My first full-time job was with a company called Apex Refrigeration where I served my time along with my current business partner Jason Holland. It was a huge achievement for both of us when we eventually bought out this company two years ago at the time of the owner’s retirement.
What do you enjoy most about your current job?
Working with others as it brings with it a shared sense of success.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
Hopefully still leading a healthy and content life, but still involved in whatever business keeps me motivated. You won’t find me stuck on a desert island, but you might see me in Majorca.
Our company Ecofil is now installing contactless water refill stations and we are the first to market in the Balearic islands, so we have very exciting plans for the future. I hope to combine business with pleasure during my many visits to Spain.
What is your advice to people starting out in the industry?
Set goals with realistic timelines. Always listen and learn from others.
Always be open to constructive criticism and treat everyone with respect. Also, remember that compliments go a long way when they are properly given.
What was your worst job, and what was so bad about it?
When I was starting out in business I had to supplement my business by working as a taxi driver. Listening to people repeating themselves after having a few drinks was most annoying as I had to keep smiling!
What do you think the government could do to help businesses in the current climate?
It is essential that they help the hospitality sector as I know from direct experience that there is real suffering within this sector. They need to allow pubs and restaurants to open and trust them to act responsibly as they go about their business.
What three business people do you most admire, and why?
My business partner Jason. In our 30 years together, he never sees a problem but looks for a solution. His knowledge of our industry derives from his passion for his work.
Secondly, Louis Fitzgerald. I have learned from Louis over the years. His impressive achievement of becoming the number one publican in the country is down to the loyalty he shows customers, staff, and suppliers alike.
Thirdly, Lorraine Heskin of Gourmet Food Parlour. I admire how she has faced the current crisis and adapted her business to cope with Covid-19. Her sheer enthusiasm and commitment are an example to others.
What advertising campaign have you most enjoyed in recent months?
I always enjoy the Coca Cola Christmas ad and each year I know Christmas has arrived when it appears on my TV. More recently, the Dunnes Stores Christmas campaign lighting up the area for Santa is very impressive.
If you could bring back one product that is no longer available in Ireland, what would it be?
The telephone box and a chopper bike!
What was your favourite grocery brand when you were growing up, and why?
A Brunch ice cream because we always got these at weekends when we sat down to the Saturday Night Movie on TV.
Who would come to your ideal dinner party (living or dead)?
Roy Keane, Billy Connolly and Borat.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Never reply online without reading it twice.
© 2020 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click sign-up to subscribe to Checkout.