Monaghan businessman Martin McVicar explains how he overcame the dark days of the recession
Martin McVicar is one of Ireland's most driven entrepreneurs, and his Combilift business has come through some tough times to become a market leader across the world.
Who says you need to have gone to university to become successful in business? Martin McVicar is proof that you can succeed regardless of your qualifications.
The Monaghan businessman is our guest this week on The Architects of Business, in partnership with EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™, and he has driven his forklift-manufacturing business Combilift to new heights following the devastation of the economic downturn of a decade ago.
"We had about 200 employees in 2008," he tells host Tadhg Enright. "We had a reduction in our business of 26% in early 2009 and in March 2009 we made 43 redundancies in the one day.
"I sat across a table from every one of those 43 people, and they worked have worked very closely with me in the early years of Combilift, and sitting across the table making these people redundant was the toughest day in my lifetime."
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Martin explains how none of those 43 people went to work that morning expecting to lose their jobs, despite the tough economic situation worldwide at the time, but cutting Combilift's cloth to survive through the recession ultimately saved the business.
This particular story has a happy ending.
"We employ now 550 people in Monaghan," reveals Martin. "And they're very much living in that local community surrounding the area.
"I would say, on the positive side, of the 43 people that were made redundant, the majority of them have come back and we've re-employed them since the downturn. The number of employees today is three times the amount we had before the downturn."