Ron McNamara Shares Why Dun Laoghaire is Great for Starting Conversations
One of the unmitigated joys of living in Dun Laoghaire is that the opportunities to stop and chat are plentiful. It’s a social town, full of interesting people with experiences to share. Indeed, one of the toughest things about a year full of lockdowns was missing out on chance encounters and conversations with friends, neighbours, and once-strangers.
As town opens up again, we have no doubt that the conversations will once again flow. We have a years’ worth of things to say. And it’s this part of life in Dun Laoghaire that makes Ron McNamara, of DriverFocus, so proud to base his business in Dun Laoghaire.
For McNamara, life and business are all about having a chat. DriverFocus uses mobile-telematics, AI dashcams, and cloud solutions to improve driver safety and reduce vehicle-related losses for businesses. But to engage businesses, he first needs to do what locals in town do best: start a conversation.
DriverFocus Protects Those Who Can’t Stay Home
While many people put fewer kilometres on their car than even, much of Ireland’s workforce didn’t have the chance to stay home in the last year. And while they donned PPE and ran through bottles of hand sanitizer, DriverFocus worked hard behind the scenes to keep drivers compliant and safe.
“We help businesses manage driving,” McNamara said. And while it sounds like a simple concept, driving for work is a difficult, dangerous business. Health & Safety Authority’s (HSA) annual reports of work fatalities show that vehicle-related incidents are the leading cause of worker fatalities in Ireland. And, as McNamara told us, “It’s also recognised that a lot of driving-related incidents don’t get reported to the HSA.”
While the need for tech solutions to tackle motor risk and compliance seems straightforward, change can come slowly for businesses and drivers. As McNamara said, “Change isn’t easy. There are things we want to change, and there are things we seem quite happy with, despite them costing our business money.”
To change the conversation about driving, McNamara offers an Irish-made, app-based telematics solution. Telematics are increasingly about performance and privacy, not location tracking: they are vital components of workplace compliance, from safety to tax.
“Our focus is reducing risk to staff, which benefits individuals and businesses equally. We’re very cognisant of the need to deliver value. We licensed an invention from NUI Galway and commercialised it. Now, drivers have the power and control when and how they want it.”
At the heart of DriverFocus is dialogue and conversation. These are the things that build trust with businesses and their employees.
“I really enjoy having conversations with clients, teasing out issues and challenges, coming up with a solution, and proving the solution.. One of the things that’s most satisfying is when customers decide to renew. When they come back and are happy and say let’s keep working together.”
Having Conversations in Dun Laoghaire
Opening up the lines of communication is a core part of risk management and of DriverFocus’s business. So, it’s no surprise that McNamara runs his business out of Dun Laoghaire.
McNamara has lived in Dun Laoghaire and Monkstown for 25 years, and began DriverFocus in the town in 2007. He has worked in Dublin City, but sees Dun Laoghaire as the superior option.
“If I was driving to the city centre to work, I’d have to be in by 7 AM to get parked. That commute, that hassle, has disappeared.”
But even better, McNamara enjoys working not just in town but around town. “I love to bump into people and see people on a regular basis and have a chat,” he said. “If the weather is fine, and I’ve got ten phone calls to make, I find a spot [on the seafront] and make or take calls.”
McNamara is also an active part of the business community and a board member of the DigitaHQ. He was a regular at the meetups and discussions that occurred monthly before COVID-19. And his outlook on the town reflects his own work.
“The traditional and new way of doing things can cause tension but also opportunity. DigitalHQ wants to bring diversity in business to Dun Laoghaire, when you get that diversity you get more opportunity for great new things to come about,” McNamara said.