Eastway business park firm Cube Printing has recovered to pre-recession levels of employment, as its founder Brendan Ring tells us
Tell us a little about Cube Printing
Cube Printing is situated in the Ballysimon Road in Limerick. Even though we are a printing company, we are much more than that. We have a design department, where we are able to design products for customers as well as print and package them. It’s a total solution for our customers. At present, we employ 32 people.
What does your role entail?
I am managing director of Cube Printing. I started the business back in 1996 as a co-founder. Since 2010, I have headed the company. I support a very strong management team with me, with fellow director TJ Ryan heading up the sales department for me. My role is to look at where we are going in the future and make sure we get there. It’s to keep an eye on what is happening technology-wise, staying up to date and steering the company in the right direction.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Bruff. My mother and father had a post office back there. That’s where my business acumen came from. You are in the public arena. We went onto have a shop. Now I live in Lough Gur, not too far from Bruff. It’s a lovely area.
What is your educational background?
As both my parents are self-employed, I ended up as a boarder in St Munchin’s College in Limerick. I was there for five years. After that I went to the school of professional studies in Limerick where I studied industrial engineering. It was from there I got my degree, and from there I went straight into industry and progressed from there.
How did you get to where you are today?
Initially, I went working for an American company, Diddie Web Press which manufactured printing presses. This brought me into that industry. The firm was based in Annacotty. I joined them straight after coming out of college and remained with them until they closed in 1995. From there, I went onto set up Cube.
What made you want to go into business alone?
I was made redundant when the company closed its manufacturing in 1995. I did look for a job, but could not find one, but came across the opportunity to set up Cube. We were very busy for the first 10 or 12 years, but in 2008/09 particularly with Dell’s closure it had a huge effect on us. It was our major account at the time, representing over half our business. We had a lot of redundancies unfortunately. But I am glad to say we are back to where we were in 2009 prior to Dell’s closure. We’ve had to rebuild. It was a tough time. But we are stronger from it.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
We are going to make further investment in the digital side to our business. We are also very close to putting in a new digital press. We are hoping to increase our turnover by 12% to 15% over the next five years. We have a good reputation so we just want to build on that.
In business and life, who do you admire?
I’ve come across an awful lot of people. My original boss would have been a man called Gunars Gavars, who gave me a great headstart in life. I worked under him for 10 years and feel this is where I got a great grounding. Obviously, my parents have in their business too – I learnt a lot from them. Someone else I admire, who I have met recently is Anne Heffernan, who set up Dunnes Stores. I was taken aback by how committed she is to the family, and how she sees business and life not as everything - that our lives are just as important as what happens in business. I live by that motto. She left a big impression on me.
Are you guided by any particular motto?
As just stated that our lives are just as important as what happens in business. The reason I live by the above motto is because I lost two brothers to brain cancer. Unfortunately, we lost our daughter Cliona too. I lost my first brother when I was only 21 years of age. He was only 34. I just realised how fragile life us. As a family, we’ve been through a lot of difficult times, and it just makes you realise there is a lot more to life than business. It’s a culture we build into Cube. We look after our people as best we can and we can them to enjoy work. We recognise there are things going on outside of work and we want to be able to support people. This is something I can’t stress enough.
You are well known locally for the Cliona’s Foundation charity. Tell us a little about this.
I spend a lot of time getting the charity recognised. It’s a relatively young charity, it’s only been in existence 12 years. Cliona was our daughter and she died in 2006. We set up the charity in her name. We found there are a huge amount of families struggling with non-medical expenses. They require funding to be with their children in the hospital, and they just cannot afford it. These families are in a crisis when they find out the child has a terminal or life-limiting illness. We try to help them with the initial outlay of costs.
Away from work, what are your pastimes and hobbies?
I do enjoy sporting occasions in general. I train quite a bit – I managed to do five triathlons last year. I got injured, but I’m back to try and recover my fitness. I did a big cycle yesterday, and running on Saturday.