Two minutes with Peter O’Connor

Peter O’Connor is currently Managing Director at APEX Geoservices Limited. Take two minutes to read about Peter’s success based on his extensive knowledge and experience that he has gained during the course of his career.

– Before founding APEX Geoservices in 2001, what was the most unusual or interesting job you have ever had?

Probably the most interesting job was my first job for a seismic surveying company where I ended up in the western desert in Egypt at the age of 23. It was there that I first saw some of the technology that I subsequently applied to civil engineering investigations.
– How did you come up with the company name?

Not a huge amount of work went into it but we thought we’d have something short and snappy and beginning with “A” just from a practical point of view. It gets you up the dialing list!

– What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day would be arriving in the morning, looking at emails, correspondence, dealing with the issues of the day and then maybe moving onto project work or proposals.
– If you could pick one theme for APEX Geoservices to turn into a book about the company, what would it be?

Thinking back on what I’ve been involved in and what we have done with APEX it would be technology transfer and application to other fields.
– What advice do you have for prospective employees?

The golden rule, as far as I’m concerned, is to assume nothing and if in doubt –ask.
– What are 3 words to describe APEX Geoservices?

Trust, innovation, technology.
– What do you find the most challenging at APEX Geoservices?

The most challenging thing is being a geophysicist by training and combining management and the technical side of the business. I am a self-taught manager and it is something that I have to work at.
– What do you like most about your role?

The thing about running a small company is it gives you the flexibility to do things that you feel are worth doing and to adapt quickly to new challenges and situations.
– What has been your favorite project at APEX Geoservices?

That’s a hard one because there are many thousands of projects that we’ve been involved with. One that comes to mind was our first visit to Africa where we worked on a project in Guinea Bissau for 3 weeks. It was our first experience of working in the Africa bush and on quite a large project with a range of objectives. The whole logistical and practical side of working there and becoming familiar with the new geological setting made it a very challenging yet rewarding project.
– What is your proudest moment at APEX Geoservices?

In general I’d be proud of how the company has progressed since it was set up in 2001. I suppose the recession finally ended around a year or two ago and the fact that we have managed to trade through both boom and bust is very satisfying.
– Any favorite line from a movie?

When the family were younger “Back to the Future” was the family favourite e.g. “Where we’re going we don’t need cars” From the oldies “We’ll always have Paris” from Casablanca.

– Do you have a favorite newspaper, blog?

At the moment I probably get most of my news online. The Journal is one that I read frequently and the Irish Times from time to time.
– Do you have a favorite quote?

The one that immediately comes to mind is “Just Do It”. I like to consider things for a while but ten just get in and get it done rather than over analyse. I think Nike came up with it before I did but anyway!
– Do you have a favorite travel spot?

We go to Germany and Bavaria a lot. There is an area just south of Munich at the foot of the Alps that we’ve been to many times.
– How do you define success?

There’s success in your personal life, success in business. In business it’s profit and the saying “profit is sanity and turnover is vanity” comes to mind. So ultimately you have to run a profitable business.
– If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?

I’m fascinated with current trends in space exploration and all of the data that’s coming from the new telescopes and probes. So a planetary geologist might be the one. To be working in that area at the moment must be fascinating.

– If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?

One person I thought did an amazing job was George Mitchell who was the facilitator in the northern peace process  20 years ago. His level approach and how he brought opposing views together in the centre was a great achievement. Another would be Peirce Lyons of Alltech who I have listened to interviewed a few times. I find him very inspiring.