60 Seconds With Tony Ryan, Founding Director of Rota Contracts

Rota Contracts, Ireland’s leading supplier of premium sweeping solutions, with over 25 years’ experience in the market, has begun a re-branding strategy with a major focus on their global dealer network. Priding themselves on the quality of products, tailor made solutions, and the excellence of their aftersales services, Rota Contracts has seen some recent successes in Australia, through their partnership with Staunch Machinery in Melbourne.

Their product offering is wide ranging, from pedestrian and road sweepers to municipal sweepers, such as MultiSweep, and wheel wash systems which can wash up to 250 trucks per day. These are especially applicable to local councils, warehousing and factory yards, airports, quarries, construction sites and plant hire sites. The 425C Multisweep is ideal for joinery yards, such is its effectiveness for sweeping up fine dust, nails and timber. As the companies exciting journey to become Glanaco begins, we spend a minute with managing director, Tony Ryan to find out more.

Tony Ryan, Managing Director of Rota Contracts & Glanaco

Tony, what first motivated you to join Rota Industries and build your career with the company?

I first applied for a stores job there in 1996. Having spent a year setting up the parts system and computerising it, I started on the road selling to the rental industry and construction sector. This is where I found my love for business and dealing with people. Having spent many years selling on the Irish market, we decided to open an export company a few years back, initially to protect ourselves from the next recession, but this has now become the main growth area of the company since 2012. This year we completed an MBO and the company is about to rebrand as Glanaco, putting a major focus on reselling through a dealer network worldwide. 

What are the cultural challenges for Irish businesses in Australia?

I honestly have not experienced any major cultural differences between Australia and Ireland. Work ethic is very similar, personality is very similar, and expectations are very similar. Maybe we just got lucky, but I can honestly say that dealing with our partner in Melbourne, has been like dealing with a company I’ve known for 20 years! 

If you were to start your career over, what advice would you give yourself?

Always be prudent, don’t overspend in the good times, they don’t last. Enjoy them to a limit but prepare for the rainy day! Keep in regular touch with your contacts, and mind your suppliers, as they are just as important. 

Rota Contracts has grown rapidly into new international markets. How has the company adapted to thrive across different markets?

We have made many internal changes to the way we operate since we began to export. The regular 9-5 is out the window for a start. We have succeeded by simply listening to what the client wants, and if we can deliver, then we deliver. Visiting a potential dealer is also very important, and we decided very early on to ensure we visit each market to see first-hand the problems that need a solution. It also builds trust and forms a relationship, hopefully that last many years. We have two great strengths, a quality build and great communication with the dealer. Regardless if someone is in the west coast of the US, or far off Russia, if the dealer needs information, we need to provide it at their time.



More and more Irish firms are looking to Australia as a priority market, what do you put this down to?

There are a few countries that Irish companies will look at immediately when they decide to export. In our experience, our best dealers have been in Commonwealth countries, where like it or not, the culture can be somewhat uniform. Canada, Australia and Scotland are our best markets. The lure of Australia has always been with the Irish. It’s one of the best countries in the world. Business can be done as there is a great understanding between the two countries, time zone doesn’t even come into it, it understood on both sides. And is a great excuse to get there!

What was your first job? 

Picking potatoes when I was 14…I lasted ½ a day!! My first ‘real’ job was in the warehouse in Apple. 

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

It has to be setting up my home with my wife and having two great kids. This wins by a mile…. In business, there have been many deals and good contracts, but really starting to export is what I am most proud of. We have travelled and met with so many great people right around the world. I’ve spent weeks in Russia, Lebanon, India, across Europe….and met the best of people, enjoyed their company, and their story. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

If there’s a problem, pick up the phone and give the reason, don’t wait for it to ring and have to give an excuse. 

What’s your motto?

People buy from people…. it’s all about the relationship. 

What are your aspirations for the future of your business?

My focus now is totally on the new rebrand. We are about to launch Glanaco, which will be a dealer focused company, providing the best modular robotic attachments and platforms that clean and decontaminant rolling plant and roads.  This is what Rota has evolved to, and I hope to make Glanaco the best in its class when it comes to clean site solutions. 


For further information:

Contact: Catherine Hughes

Email: catherine.hughes@enterprise-ireland.com

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