In the High Flyers spotlight this week is Noel Brady, who has been chair of Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) NI since July. He is owner and managing director of the consultancy business Nb1 Ltd, finance non executive director at the South-Eastern Health and Social Services Trust, and chairman of Continu Ltd.
What was your first job?
Civil servant - as a clerical officer in Corporation Street Benefits Office.
What qualifications do you have?
ONC business studies, HNC public sector studies and BA in business studies. I have been an adviser and mentor for senior people in a wide range of industries and a specialist in public sector finance. I served as a Belfast Harbour Commissioner for eight years, I am a fellow with the IoD and an honorary fellow of the Sales Institute of Ireland. I am delighted to be chair of CITB NI, where I am currently meeting and developing relationships with representatives of the construction sector.
What do you attribute your success to?
I’m lucky to possess a range of skills like confidence, tenacity, and positivity which allow me to change quickly to meet the challenges at particular times. I have a very high work ethic which I thank my father for – he worked hard all of his life. If you don’t love your work – do something else!
Who do you look up to in business?
Unfortunately he is no longer with us, Sir George Quigley was a true gentleman and had a tremendous intellect. I still treasure some kind letters he sent to me, a true wordsmith. He had an in-depth knowledge and experience in a wide range of business arenas and was always willing to give helpful advice and support.
How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
Let them be themselves and encourage them not to be afraid to take risks and question you! A favourite saying of mine is – “If in doubt, choose change!”.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
I would encourage everyone in business to seek the positive in everything they do – spending time on the negatives doesn’t change anything. Avoid the prophets of doom – they will hold you back. One of the reasons I was keen to be involved on the CITB NI Board is their passion and focus on training, skills and apprenticeships - for all ages. It is important that in every challenge we help construction businesses identify opportunities to develop and use training as the cornerstone to achievement of their ambitions.
What website or app could you not do without?
Linkedin and Google they are essential tools for my business.
What was the last book you read?
Currently re-reading my collection of John Grisham books in alphabetical order – Just starting “The Appeal” – 39 more books to go.
What car do you drive?
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I played basketball at both U16 and U19 level for Ulster and Ireland schoolboys – oh to be that fit again! Sport at that level allowed me to meet people from across these islands and it changed my view on the world. I would recommend sport of any kind for all children.
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
Singing with my crazy colleagues in the Lagan Seahorses Male Voice Choir. It is great fun and always makes you feel good. Their lack of enthusiasm for my ability as a singer keeps me grounded!