In the executive chair with: Philip Smith, Managing Director, Leo Lynch

by | Dec 23, 2023

Philip Smith is responsible for overseeing company operations and giving strategic guidance and direction to the board. He
is committed to driving the next stage of growth for Leo Lynch by delivering high performance engineering solutions for blue-chip clients across Europe.

Philip was appointed managing director of Leo Lynch in 2022. A qualified building services engineer, Philip has 20+ years of experience delivering projects in Ireland and overseas.

He joined Leo Lynch in 2016 and brought with him construction management and supervision experience on large-scale projects in key global markets.

Since joining Leo Lynch, he has acted as project director on a variety of projects in the microelectronics, biopharma, food and beverage, mission critical, healthcare and energy sectors.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

My father always told me ‘what’s for you wouldn’t pass you’. I am not sure I fully believe in it, but some days it appears to make sense of certain situations you find yourself in.

What project are you most excited about?

All our live projects are exciting, however one we are really excited about is a project in the UK for a leading semiconductor manufacturer.

The project is immensely challenging but very much in our focus area of experience and expertise. It is typical of what we do extensively in Ireland but what makes it exciting is the size and scale of project we are now delivering in the UK.

We ramped up fast leveraging existing teams and bolstered our resources through expansion back in Ireland and the UK.

How do you approach long-term planning and strategy?

While I oversee company operations and give the strategic direction, we are fortunate to have a fantastic board and management, setting and executing long term plans. We operate through a Senior Leadership Team (SLT) structure. This ensures everyone is aligned to a core team and decision making.

Everyone is part of the journey, has a voice and is therefore involved in long term plans and direction. We firmly believe having the right people working and heard throughout the organisation is critical to winning the projects we win and flawlessly executing on them.

Finally, and as per our founders mantra, ‘always leave a quality, safe job behind’, quality and safety is paramount in our long-term planning and strategy. It’s part of our DNA and clients know us for it leading to very high client retention.

What digital tools or technology are you embracing to get work done?

We embraced Building Information Modelling (BIM) and other 3D modelling techniques to get work done faster and better. This allows us to utilise our OSM capabilities, It is and continues to be a big part of how we deliver services.

We have used software such as Navisworks, iConstruct and CADWork. We have also embraced COINS construction management software. This integrates most of what we do from HR and safety to procurement, bids and commercial.

Outside of that a general trend for us is embracing digitisation in general across the whole business so we are leaner, meaning and greener in how we operate.

What are the big industry trends you’re noticing right now?

We took a leap of faith with offsite manufacturing and modular building many years ago and it paid dividends. It continues to be a trend in the industry. We continue to invest in our facilities and capability here.

Our OSM plays a significant role in project delivery, we are manufacturing ahead of schedule for sites that may not necessarily be ready for our teams to mobilise, this really puts our teams on the front foot for delivery to the client.

Ensuring staff health, safety and general physical and mental well-being at work continues to be a key trend. We must constantly look at how we can do things better and never feel we can do no more.

This also links into recruitment, resourcing and future talent attraction. There is a shortage of talent in areas. We must continue to show experienced professionals and up and coming talent why Leo Lynch is the right place for them now and in the future.

Who’s impressing you most in the industry at present?

The industry in Ireland and the UK is full of great innovators. We are enjoying working with John Paul Construction. We have collaborated with them on some fantastic projects.

What did you learn from your biggest mistake?

There have been plenty of mistakes in life and work, some I could not have published! To call one out… I left full time college education without completing my master’s degree as I left, I needed to start generating an income.

I regretted it for years as it was a personal goal. I returned 10 years later and completed it part-time when I was then living and working in Finland with a young family.

It was the toughest two years of my life to date, as I commuted back to Ireland for college, whilst running a difficult project in Finland and trying to spend some time with my family.

Who’s your role model within the industry or wider business community?

There are some good and inspirational people in the industry but regards a role model I would look outside the industry at the late Steve Jobs.

His ability to see a goal, push engineering boundaries and resources and continually improve his product and thus keeping himself and his company on top of their industry in the world was a remarkable achievement.

Best book you’ve read recently?

I am interested in The Trusted Advisor in terms of building trust and developing and sustaining long term relationships. This is key for us on many levels – with clients, strategic partners, our own staff and our management.

What’s your passion when you’re not at work?

I am avid rugby spectator cheering for Ireland and Leinster and I also keep an eye on the horses.

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