THIS week’s High Flyer is David Wilson, managing director of Montalto Estate in Ballynahinch
What was your first job?
My first job was when I was 19 and I worked in a bar and off-license in Hillsborough called Ritchies. I worked there while I was studying accountancy at Queens University. My first career focused job was as a trainee accountant with KPMG in Dublin when I was 22.
What qualifications do you have?
Apart from my degree in accountancy, I am a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland.
What do you attribute your success to?
I was inspired by my father and grandfather’s success, through their business F.G. Wilson, and a desire to follow in their footsteps. I spent my life around people that were passionate and determined and this has inspired the way I think.
How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?
Hard working and driven to deliver the best possible service and product for Montalto Estate as well as help to reconnect people with nature through the estate’s beautiful outdoor landscape. We have recently achieved this through the opening of our walks and trails as a visitor attraction.
Who do you look up to in business?
My grandfather Fred Wilson set up and managed F. G. Wilson, which was one of the largest family run businesses in Northern Ireland. He started from humble beginnings and through hard work and passion, he created something that became a household name in Northern Ireland.
How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
I hope that I inspire them by my work ethic and desire to deliver the best possible product. We have a saying in our company, ‘the Montalto way’. This means that everything we do, we make sure it is to the best of our ability.
It’s very important to trust your employees and offer them the opportunity to have a sense of ownership in their role. I have found that this leads to motivated and dedicated staff who are willing to go the extra mile. Our team was fundamental to the recent opening of new visitor experience featuring trails, gardens, café and shop and they have worked hard on our very first pop-up Christmas shop.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
The current lack of government is detrimental to all elements of life in Northern Ireland. The public and private sector continue to work towards the growth of Northern Ireland Plc, but these efforts are being hampered by the current stand off at Stormont.
What website or app could you not do without?
With two young children, I rarely see my phone or tablet when at home. That said, YouTube is probably the most used app on my devices.
What was the last book you read?
I tend to read books digitally. The last one I read was End Game by David Baldacci.
What car do you drive?
A Volkswagon Golf.
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
For about a year I learnt how to ring bells in a church.
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
Cars – classic and contemporary, but especially sports cars.