Mark Reidy, Matilda's Planet
Tell us a bit about Matilda's Planet
Matilda’s Planet was founded by David Evans MBE, after a day trip to London with his then seven-year old daughter Matilda (Tilly). During the course of the excursion, Tilly continuously commented on the putrid smell of diesel fumes that emanated throughout the city. This led to further discussion on fuel poverty and how, we as a society, fail to help those that need it most. Being the first person in Britain to receive an MBE for corporate social responsibility, David Evans put a plan in place to set up an organisation that would save, harness or create energy, while dramatically reducing carbon emissions and eradicating fuel poverty.
Matilda’s Planet was born in 2011. David set up a research and development facility in Kenfig in South Wales with a view to inviting would be innovators to ‘pitch’ to him, ideas that would tackle the crisis that was presenting. The press coined him as the ‘Green Dragon’. Matilda’s Planet invested in quite a few innovative ideas during it’s early phase. The four projects that stood out from the rest were, Wind Power Generation, Infrared Heating, Indoor Air Quality and Matilda’s Blanket.
What about Matilda's Blanket, which you are manufacturing in Limerick?
Matilda’s Blanket is a unique internal walling solution more commonly known as drylining. We are an offsite manufacturer; the only one of its kind in the world. In fact, we are a true drylining manufacturer, in that there is no requirement for wet trades, i.e. plastering. Matilda’s Blanket is a technical solution, that is specifically fabricated for the very home it is intended. It is the only system of its type. Matilda’s Blanket is a fully supplied system. The complete walling system for the home is supplied as a kit, delivered and ready to install. Every component, which is fully tested and certified, is supplied for every installation. Nothing, other than the trained installers, is required on site. Matilda’s Blanket recently received it’s NSAI Certification and the resultant testing, with the introduction of smart membranes, makes our Blanket the most efficient system available. In certain applications we are achieving U-Values akin to Passive House standards.
What does your role entail?
I am the business manager for Britain and Ireland. I am responsible for planning, implementation and the daily management of the business and the team within the organisation. We are very fortunate to have a group of like-minded people at Matilda’s Planet, all striving to do our share in tackling fuel poverty and identifying clever ways of expediating the process. We never forget that we are in the middle of global crisis. I rely on the vision of our Founder, David Evans MBE, to guide me on my mission, of doing the very best I can to achieve our goal: To secure the health and wellbeing of our clients, by improving the homes they live in, for now and future generations, by reducing fuel poverty and creating clean air homes, through innovation and imaginative platforms.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Kilkee and raised in Kilrush. Now I live in Ennis.
What is your educational background?
I studied project management at the University of Limerick, then business and marketing at the Limerick Institute of Technology. I am currently studying for an MBA in energy and sustainability with the University of Cumbria in England.
How did you get to where you are today?
Like many things in life, by accident. I spent my early years offshore in the Oil Industry, then my wife and I successfully ran a bar and restaurant in Kilrush, Kelly’s. And 20 years ago, decided on a career change into project management and property. In 2012, I went to the UK to generate business for K-Mac in Shannon and came across Matilda’s Planet. I joined them in 2013 for an 18 month contract and when an opportunity resented in 2016 to manage the business I did not have to be asked twice.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
Matilda’s Planet has four production facilities, three in Britain, and one in Limerick. In fact if it were not for the welcome we received from Limerick City and County Council and from Ray O’Halloran at Limerick City Build, I doubt we would have set up in Ireland - certainly not this side of the decade anyway. Going forward, for the remainder of 2019, we will be opening two or three more production facilities in Britain. 2020 will see us embark on a very exciting journey with one of the biggest suppliers to the building trade in the world. Our goal is to have ten production facilities operational by the end of 2020, throughout Britain and Ireland. Our operations director, Dave Coughlan, has a busy time ahead of him!
Who do you admire in business?
I would have to say that I really admire the tenacity of our founder, David Evans. He never sees the negatives, even when they might be lurking in the background. Furthermore, I have great admiration for successful business people who operate in a mode of modesty and stealth. People who do not put themselves on platforms, but who do good, have fun and privately add to society, in a manner that makes others heroes.
Away from work, what are your pastimes and hobbies?
I swim to clear my head. The only two things one must consider when swimming is breathing and getting to the destination, everything else is secondary. Another hobby or, should I say obsession, is trying to figure out how to eradicate the weeds in our garden without using weed killer. If anybody has an iota how to do this, please let me know!