Pat O’Donnell joins Merriott

It’s not the first time Pat has worked for Merriott however; from 2000 to 2005 he was an area sales manager for the company. “Going forward, I’ll be dealing with a similar client base as I was back then. I’m very familiar with the products and the brand, but of course the range has been broadened over the past few years to include more low surface temperature radiator products and also a radiant panels range for commercial applications.”

Pat’s newly created role will see him head up a team of four sales representatives covering the 32 counties, assisting architects, specifiers and M&E consultants with enquiries about Merriott’s range of bespoke commercial radiators and radiant panels. “I like the challenge of selling technical products and I’ve always enjoyed trying to upsell,” said Pat. “I actually used to work in the merchant business but I saw the specification market as more of a challenge. I also thoroughly enjoy working on a project from scratch, seeing it through to its installation and the service support that’s required afterwards. You see every side in this role – identifying what the architect needs, the visual aesthetics of a product and the engineer’s requirements that itincorporates correctly into a building.”

Pat has worked in the industry for 16 years. Before returning to Merriott a few weeks back, he worked for Versatile in Navan. “A lot has happened in the last 11 years and yet I feel right at home again! The team is still made up of some of the best technical specialists in the business and actually quite a few people who worked here about 10 years ago have returned, so it’s nice to see some of the old faces back.”

Pat says Ireland is currently a growing market for Merriott, with the Dublin market in particular proving lucrative. “Most contractors we’re talking to have a lot of projects on their books. Much of our work is involved in the healthcare and education sectors, which are very busy at the moment. We see many opportunities for radiant panels coming up in the business over the next 12 to 18 months.”

He sees the current push on radiant panels as being very much architecturally driven. “Particularly in the healthcare market, we see quite a lot of interest and enquiries coming through from architects who really like the aspect of radiant panels for healthcare application. We’re also seeing a rise in residential work and on the student accommodation side.”

Dublin might be thriving but the rest of the country still has some catching up to do. “Some areas like Cork, Galway and Waterford have a certain amount of work on, but we’re still finding it pretty challenging for

private investment outside of Dublin. We’re not seeing much in the way of commercial projects coming through in the regions just yet, but I think it will happen. I think Dublin has to be on a very high upward curve before you start to see the rest of the country doing well.”

A typical day is spent meeting customers, identifying new areas of business and helping the team set up the new Dublin office and warehouse. “Ensuring the rest of the sales team is equipped with the information they need to satisfy client’s requirements is also a big part of my day. There’s tremendous variation and I really enjoy that.”

Three young kids mean there’s never a dull moment in the O’Donnell house. “Most of my weekends are spent taking them to football games and hurling matches. I’m involved in my local GAA club and I help coach my eldest son’s Under 12 hurling team.”