E&I Engineering Ltd., an indigenous business based in Burnfoot Co. Donegal, has grown to become one of the biggest manufacturers in the north-west of Ireland supplying power distribution products to Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The company was founded in 1986 by CEO Philip O’Doherty, who was financed by a small loan, with a staff of just three people. Through his leadership and determination, the company has expanded to now employ over 1,700 people across the globe, including 700 employees in Donegal where its headquarters have been located since 2004.
E&I Engineering Ltd. is a highly innovative Irish company with global ambition. The company, with the support of Enterprise Ireland, has continued to build scale and expand reach internationally, while creating domestic employment, particularly high-quality manufacturing jobs. The company is a global leader in the critical power distribution sector, manufacturing electrical switchgear, bus duct systems and energy management software. Among its customers are Wembley Stadium and Heathrow Airport.
Recognising skills as a catalyst for development, O’Doherty has worked to ensure that his company has the correct skills and personnel in-house. Through in-house apprenticeship schemes and linking with local education facilities such as Letterkenny IT, Sligo IT and Queen’s Belfast, E&I Engineering Ltd. now employs many of its manufacturing team from the region. O’Doherty takes great pride in attracting highly qualified staff to Donegal and is relentless and consistent in getting his message out to those who may wish to return to their native county that one of Ireland’s most successful companies is located in the idyllic Inishowen peninsula. O’Doherty’s key focus is upskilling and creating a learning culture in his facility and is keen on promoting engineering as a career to local youth. The company engages regularly with girls’ schools to try and increase the numbers of women employed in the engineering sector. The company also works with a number of local suppliers and promotes all aspects Donegal and Irish where possible.
Research & Development (R&D) is core to the company’s values and the company, with the assistance of Enterprise Ireland’s Lean Business offer, implements Lean operation concepts throughout the business. One such R&D project led to an announcement in September 2018 of 90 new jobs to be created at the Donegal plant. At the jobs announcement event, which was launched by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Philip O’Doherty spoke of the advantages of running a business in a rural area “Rural Ireland can produce companies that can expand globally and create jobs in these areas, you don’t have to be in a large city to have a large facility like this. In fact, I would contend that it is easier sometimes to assemble a large skilled workforce in areas like the north west of Ireland. We have achieved the scale that we have because of this location, the location has not given us any disadvantage”’
Looking ahead, the company continues to set sights on further expansion and on new opportunities.
O’Doherty’s ambition is to grow the company further through a mix of continued research and development of new products and through potential international acquisitions or through technology.