In the My Kind of Job spotlight this week is Tommy O’Neill, chief information officer (head office) at Progressive Building Society since 2013. He has 30 years experience in the area of information technology and joined the company in 1999
What was your first job?
My first job after leaving university was as a programmer for Multisoft Ireland Limited. Even though I have 30 year’s of experience in IT my first job was a real eye opener to the world of work and I’m a firm believer that on the job training is truly invaluable. I joined Progressive as head of IT in 1999 and since then my roles have involved overseeing the IT functions as well as data processing and in 2013 I was appointed chief information officer.
What qualifications do you have?
A BSc (Hons) in computing science from University of Ulster Jordanstown. Throughout my career as required I have attended many courses including project management, database and systems management and ITIL (something that focuses on aligning IT services with business needs)
What do you attribute your success to?
A solid work ethic, making good choices and a bit of good luck! Progressive is a dynamic organisation that is continually developing its technology and it makes my job that bit easier knowing that I am leading a dedicated team who are all working together for the overall success of the business.
How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?
I don’t expect people to do anything that I wouldn’t be prepared to do myself.
Who do you look up to in business?
Patrick Mc Aliskey, chief executive at Novosco.
How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
I have been told that I am firm, but fair – which I hope is a good thing! Providing a working environment for my staff where they feel supported is extremely important to me – I want my team to voice their opinions, feel that they are valued and grow and learn to be the very best they can be.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
The lack of political leadership is very frustrating with major infrastructural projects being delayed due a lack of a functioning local government. It’s having a detrimental impact on businesses here.
What website or app could you not do without?
Google Maps, great when you take a wrong turn in foreign parts.
What was the last book you read?
I have read most of the books in the Jack Reacher series. I have found Lee Child to be a brilliant writer, he draws the reader in and keeps you guessing the whole way through.
What car do you drive?
Audi A4 Avant Quattro TDI 190.
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I’m quite into sport and like to exercise when I have the time. I have completed two Mourne plods, walking 30 miles through the Mournes starting at midnight for charity. During our last two summer holidays myself and my fiancé have cycled from Vienna to Budapest and from Bolzano in Italy to Venice. Both cycles were very challenging, but the adrenaline and experience was worth it!
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
I’m a huge reader and I love reading fiction, but also have a great collection of second world war historic books which I never tire of reading over again – I learn something new every time.