In the spotlight this week is Damien McParland, partner at Belfast-based commercial law firm Millar McCall Wylie
What was your first job?
I was a sales assistant in a petrol station in Newry aged 14.
What qualifications do you have?
I completed a Law Degree (LLB) at Queens University, Belfast, and have my Certificate in Professional Legal Studies (solicitor).
What do you attribute your success to?
A lot of hard work, some luck, a bit of talent, the best people around me and mostly my wife Nuala.
How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?
Shy and retiring (but can hide it), obsessive and perfectionist (but tries to hide it), kind and considerate (hopefully) and teller of really bad Dad jokes. Also, really curly hair.
Who do you look up to in business?
Anyone who has achieved success but remains grounded and doesn’t forget the path they have taken.
How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
You might need to ask them! But I hope it’s through leading by example, being available to help when needed, treating people fairly, having a bit of fun and taking a real interest in their future and what they want to achieve.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
As I am sure many would say, the lack of the executive is unacceptable. In particular, decisions are not being taken and legislation is not being passed that are required to ensure Northern Ireland keeps progressing and businesses here can continue to compete on a global level.
What website or app could you not do without?
BBC news/sport and running and fitness apps such as Garmin Connect or Strava.
What was the last book you read?
Twisted by Steve Cavanagh, a brilliant thriller writer that I know who is also a lawyer from Northern Ireland. As a lot of my work time is spent reading legal documents, it is nice to escape with some crime novels in my down time – nothing too intellectual!
What car do you drive?
I drive a Volvo XC90.
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I worked as a forklift driver in Canada for a while and I used to play trumpet in a swing band.
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
I am currently addicted to running and have done a few half marathons having started running less than two years ago, and I love gaelic football and hurling, Liverpool FC and Johnny Cash.