THIS week’s High Flyer is Les McCracken, managing director of McCue Crafted Fit.
What was your first job?
My first job was a summer job on a farm when I was 15. I worked extremely hard as a farm hand during my school holidays where I cycled five miles to and from work and my day consisted of milking 150 cows, morning and night, as well as carrying out general duties around the farm. I worked on average, 70 hours per week, which is a lot for a 15-year-old but that experience has stood by me throughout my life. I’m a firm believer that if you apply yourself, you can do anything.
What qualifications do you have?
Although academically sound, I didn’t really apply myself at school and left aged 16 with eight O Levels. I started work in the construction industry keeping my head down and gaining various related qualifications, as well as taking any opportunities that came my way.
To what do you attribute your success?
I firmly believe McCue’s success is down to the fantastic team of people that I have assembled over the years. Throughout the company’s 65 years, from its incarnation by Jimmy McCue to the team that we have currently, each person has worked extremely hard to get us where we are today and the end result is an unquestionable quality of work, each and every time.
How would you describe yourself to someone who has never met you?
I like to think of myself as easy going and someone who believes in autonomy, but I expect those with responsibility within the organisation to be capable and willing to do their job to the highest of their ability at all times.
Who do you look up to in business?
Locally, I think the well-known Belfast publican, Willie Jack, is an incredible business man. He has given so much to the local Belfast community, transforming the Cathedral Quarter from a run down area of Belfast, into a hive of activity and one of the most popular areas in the city. McCue has been fortunate enough to work with Willie Jack in recent years, including, most recently, the award-winning Friend at Hand Whiskey Shop and Harp Bar. His passion for the Friend At Hand project, in memory of his good friend and business partner, Bruce Kirk, was admirable.
How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
I let my team get on with their job and I have every confidence in each member’s ability. I believe that confidence is reflected in the exceptional standard of work that McCue executes in all of their projects, which in turn has saw the company win prestigious local and national awards.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
I don’t feel there is a need to change anything.Do your own thing and let everyone else get on with their thing too.
In business, we all are very privileged to work in Northern Ireland where the majority of people have a great work ethic and have a ‘can do, will do’, approach and of course, value quality workmanship.
What website or app could you not do without?
What was the last book you read?
I’m not a huge reader – I get bored reading books and then I get lost so I prefer to listen to music.
What car do you drive?
I have driven an Audi for the last 25 years, before that, it was a Volkswagen.
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
My life has been deeply impacted in the last year resulting in a change in direction from the routine I have been used to. I now have this mantra, ‘do what you want, when you want, wherever you want with whoever you want’ and definitely don’t worry about what anyone thinks.
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
One of my greatest passions is food.I’ve always loved tasting different foods and cooking for others and quite recently, I began writing a blog detailing my culinary experiences. So, watch this space for a new food blogger!