In the High Flyers spotlight this week is Gerry Darby, strategic manager at Lough Neagh Partnership. Responsible for major environmental, tourism and conservation programmes, it oversees more than £4m investment on the lough and has a team of 10, Gerry also has his own heritage consultancy business
What was your first job?
Working for Edinburgh City Council resolving land boundaries. My first introduction into how mad, bad and dangerous people can be over the purchase of land and position of boundaries.
What qualifications do you have?
Degree in Housing Management and an MPhil in Urban Planning.
What do you attribute your success to?
Resilience and perseverance. This can far out way any lack of intelligence.
How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?
A person who is interested in other people and curious about what motivates them. A good listener.
Who do you look up to in business?
My brother Paul. From a very early age he had his own successful heating and engineering business.
How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
I place a lot of emphasis on firstly employing the right person at the very start. I believe it is important to employ good skilled people but also people of “good character”.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
I would open up the Northern Ireland Civil Service’s closed shop recruitment policy and make it recruit more people with a business, risk taking culture.
What website or app could you not do without?
I am a great listener of the BBC podcast “In Our Time” as it can cover topics as diverse as the life of Socrates, to the history of the atom. Well worth a listen to.
What was the last book you read?
Bob Woodward’s “Fear” on the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency. Very, very scary reading and frightening to think that the leader of the western world is, to quote General John Kelly, “an idiot”.
What car do you drive?
Volvo V70 estate. I have loved it since the day I bought in. It’s really everything a middle-aged boring man needs: a car that is safe with a big boot to throw in all of life’s detritus.
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I have a tattoo of “Know Thyself” written in ancient Greek on my right shoulder. It’s what was written at the entrance of the temple of Apollo, at Delphi. Wise words from the Oracle.
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
The world of ideas and values. I have a strong interest in philosophy and theology and on how people form their ethical, political and religious beliefs.