I was recently at an irrigation seminar when one of the instructors asked me, “How does a guy from Ireland with all that rain end up doing irrigation? Let me guess,” he said. “You started as a landscaper, right?”
Well, although he wasn’t quite right, how I got started doing irrigation is an interesting story (or so I’m told). After I graduated high school in Ireland, I attended school for plumbing. It was actually a very intense training. Besides codes and materials, we had to learn the science of water usage, including flow, pressure, drag, and more.
Over the next 5 years I worked all aspects of the plumbing trade, including new construction, renovations, and service. Meanwhile, my wife, Sinead, and I often talked about moving to “The States.” It turns out that day wasn’t too far off. In the early 90’s we finally received our emigration papers and took the plunge.
Within three days of arriving to the Philadelphia area, I was working as a plumber again, this time installing oxygen lines and other medical piping in hospitals. In between projects, I started assisting on difficult irrigation projects.
Now, because Ireland is a pretty wet place, you won’t find many irrigation systems there. So although I didn’t have much experience in the field, I did understand the physics of water flow better than most of my peers, and I enjoyed expanding my knowledge. I began taking classes on irrigation design and landscape care. Soon I was running crews and creating designs, and eventually became the manager of the entire division.
One day the owner of the company came up to me and said, “Donal, I can see there will be no rest from you and your ideas. So if you are so sure of yourself, I’ll sell you the company. Then the only person holding you back will be yourself.” What could I say? I talked to Sinead and we jumped at the opportunity.
The company grew rapidly and Sinead joined the staff so I could spend more time in the field. We were guided by a pretty simple philosophy: to provide the best installation and service at a fair price. And also, whenever we make a mistake, admit it and make it right.
Now it’s over 20 years down the road and we still love what we do. We have so many wonderful clients, we hire only the best of the best, and we stay on top of our game by constantly learning and investing in our people and equipment.
Thanks for listening to our story. We are so thankful for the success we’ve enjoyed, and we look forward to serving you. Please contact us if there’s anything we can do for you.
Donal & Sinead Hughes