Limerick Business Leader: ‘Treat every job as if it’s the last one that you’ll ever do’

Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts

John Garrett, pictured at the Strand Hotel, where Engineers Ireland, which trained him, recently held its annual conference

John Garrett, pictured at the Strand Hotel, where Engineers Ireland, which trained him, recently held its annual conference

CRECORA man John Garrett is a high-profile presence in engineering and business circles, running his practice in Patrickswell.

Tell us a little about John T Garrett and Associates:

We are a firm of consulting engineers, in business for the last 33 years under the management of myself and my wife Anne. We specialise in pre-purchase property inspections, domestic and commercial dispute resolution, compulsory purchase orders, insurance claims, legal reports, planning appeals and expert witness training.

What does your own role entail?

I deal with all the engineering aspects of the business. I get particular pleasure out of helping house buyers in achieving what may be the biggest investment of their lives.  I thrive on working as a mediator or conciliator facilitating disputants to resolve their differences in a confidential manner.    Having acted as an expert witness in several court cases and arbitrations over a long number of years I have a keen interest in the training of expert witnesses.

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Tralee Co. Kerry where my late father Gerard worked as a locomotive foreman with CIE. My late mother Joan (nee Gabbett) was from Limerick and the family moved back here when I was six years of age.  I live in Crecora.

What is your educational background?

I attended CBS Sexton Street, where I did my Leaving Certificate. After that I attended University College Cork where I qualified with a degree in civil engineering. I became a chartered engineer in 1985.  I received training as a conciliator from Engineers Ireland and as a mediator from Mediation Forum Ireland.

How did you get to where you are today?

One of my early jobs was with CIE where I worked on the installation of the continuous welded rail on the Cork to Dublin mainline. After that I worked with a local firm of consulting engineers where I worked on the construction of food processing and pharmaceutical plants in Limerick and England.

Why did you decide to go into business alone?​

I always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I identified two niche areas in the market to carry out pre-purchase inspections of property for buyers and to provide an expert witness service to the courts. From the outset I had a vision and a passion for helping people into their new house. From the early years I saw the potential of alternative dispute resolution (conciliation and mediation) as an alternative to the courts. This led me to expand into this area. 

What are your goals for the next 12 months?

To continue providing the service for property purchasers and mediation/conciliation.

Who do you admire in business?

Those that focus on providing the best products or services they can for society with the aim of solving people’s problems and making their lives easier.

In business and life, are you guided by any particular motto?

I have a number of mottos that I rely on. One is ‘do as much as you can, as well as you can, for as long as you can, for as many as you can’. These are the words of the late Fr Aengus Finucane, the former chief executive of Concern.

While I have medium and longer term goals, I try and live life one day at a time, treat every client as though they were the only client I ever had and do every job as though it will be the last job I will ever do. I enjoy what I do.

Away from work, what are your pastimes and hobbies?

Spending time with my family. I enjoy distance swimming and am a member of Limerick Masters Swimming Club. I took up cycling three years ago and did my first Hell of the West Triathlon in Kilkee last year. I like to write and have published three books all about Limerick. I am a member of Garryowen F.C. and enjoy photography.