High Flyers: Colum is always willing to take on a new challenge

Colum Clenaghan
Colum Clenaghan Colum Clenaghan

In the High Flyers spotlight this week is Colum Clenaghan, managing director of Harris Stocktaking Systems in Lisburn ( He was a publican for 20 years before taking over the 40-year-old stocktaking business which has clients across the north.

What was your first job?

My first paid job was at the Green Hall Restaurant in Ballinderry which is now closed. I worked as a part time waiter at 17 while I was still at school.

What qualifications do you have?

I have the usual O-Levels and A-Levels. In later life I completed a Wine & Spirit Education Trust Certificate and a two year course achieving NVQ Level 3 professional cookery. I completed the UK residential stocktaking course under The Institute of Licensed Trade Stock Auditors (ILTSA).

What do you attribute your success to?

I am always willing to take on a new challenge and learn new skills. As a young man I used to help my neighbour with livestock farming and this led me to see the value of hard work. I have continued in this frame of mind into adulthood.

How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?

Calm, busy and keen to engage with others. I am always interested to learn what makes other people tick, why they’ve chosen the profession they are in and what hobbies they enjoy.

Who do you look up to in business?

Hotel food and beverage managers and bar owners that are still enthusiastic in the industry regardless of all the hardships and setbacks they have had to endure over the last number of years due to Covid-19 and staff shortages etc. These guys appreciate the value of stocktaking and what it brings to their business.

How do you get the best out of people who work for you?

Open conversation and offering a variety in the content of a day’s work. Spending a lot of time with employees and assisting with any issues that may arise.

If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?

I travel approximately 21,000 miles a year to carry out stock-takes in hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs the length and breadth of the country and find our road infrastructure could certainly be improved. Also, as I drive an electric car there is a huge need for more charging points.

What website or app could you not do without?

LinkedIn, Google Maps, ECar Connect and JustPark.

What was the last book you read?

My wife bought me ‘Quinn’ by Trevor Birney.

What car do you drive?

I currently drive a Tesla Model 3 but would love to change for a model with a longer range.

Tell us something interesting about yourself?

An opportunity arose sometime ago to live in Malawi for a year with my wife and children which we enjoyed very much. My wife had lived there before we got married so it was important for us to go and experience African life as a family. It was after we returned home, we bought Harris Stocktaking Systems and began this journey.

What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?

Cooking for friends and family as well as golf and cycling. Last year I started cold water swimming and paddle-boarding which I hope to continue with and improve at.