In the hot seat: Banking on the luck of the Irish

In the hot seat: Banking on the luck of the Irish

What was your first job?

Derville Hannon (DH): Working as an insurance clerk during university summer holidays.

How did you end up in the IT industry?

DH: It was a fluke really. I had a keen interest in computers during college but my degree was in Economics and Sociology. I applied for several jobs in various banks but was put forward for a job in a computer reseller in Dublin at about the same time. I got the job and was asked to sell a thermo photo printer by working through a copy of Yellow Pages. The product was unreliable, noisy and shockingly expensive but I persevered and managed to get noticed by the managing director. Within a few months I was moved into an account management role and started a career in IT sales.

How did you progress to where you are today?

DH: The honest answer is through hard work, determination and lots of luck. I spent a number of years working as an account manager in a reseller before being approached by one of our suppliers, Tech Data, to take on a similar role. I started to take a special interest in software licensing and became something of a guru for what were at the time very complex programs. After a number of years, a colleague and I were asked to establish a new software division within another distributor. On the first day I was immediately called into the sales director's office and, much to my relief and his amusement, I was handed a stack of purchase orders from my previous customers. Accounts they had been working for years to win over. Things went from strength to strength; we hired new staff, signed up several new vendors and achieved triple-digit growth. Within two years the software division represented more than 40 per cent of company turnover. I had always wanted to travel and, after much deliberation, I decided to hand in my notice and head off to see the world. Unfortunately, Australia was only the second leg of my trip and it all stopped there. Once I arrived in Sydney I didn't want to leave again. Express Data was looking for somebody to head up its software division and my experience fitted the bill. After two years heading up the software division, I moved over to manage the hardware division, which I did for another two years until I was promoted to oversee the management of hardware, software and telemarketing.

What do you like about your current job?

DH: I love working with the people at Express Data. They are intelligent and friendly but above all passionate about what they do. I never get up in the morning and wish I didn't have to go into work. My current job challenges me in more ways than I thought possible and it's a different series of challenges every day. I have to work harder than ever before but I feel I am always learning new skills. I genuinely feel that I make a contribution to the professional lives of the people on my team. Express Data is a strong dynamic company with a lot of integrity and an excellent culture that is prepared to give people the opportunity and necessary assistance to achieve their goals. Most of all I love the fact that I consider the people I work with friends.

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