Lyreco legends – our people, in their own words
As Lyreco marks over 50 years in Ireland and we celebrate the opening of our new facility in Rathcoole, we pay special tribute to the company’s greatest asset – our people. Lyreco’s Irish operation has the longest-standing staff tenure of all the markets we operate in, and team spirit is one of the main reasons that our people stay with us. To mark the milestone, we asked some of our longest-standing staff members about their Lyreco careers, their daily lives at Lyreco, and their best bits from years gone by.
Warehouse Manager, Seamus Olohan, this year celebrates 26 years with the company, having joined Lyreco as part of our acquisition of Classic Stationary in the 90s. Married with three children, Seamus, from Kells in Co. Meath, manages a team of 17 people – “more friends than colleagues at this stage” – and his motto is simple: whatever you want, we’ll get it for you!
“We’ve all been here a good long time, it’s very supportive and we look out for one another,” he says. “People are treated well here and that’s good for business. There’s been a lot of excitement about our 50th milestone and we’ve been going through many good memories this year – it’s got some of us feeling old! My highlights include moving to the new Park West warehouse in ’99 and having to set it up from scratch. I’ll never forget walking in there, this vast empty building, thinking ‘Where do we start?’ , it was a fantastic opportunity for me to expand my knowledge and fit out the facility to a very high standard. There are so many other memories, from expanding our Lyreco driver network to working on the new facility project, it’s hard to pick out individual ones. I’m behind the desk more these days but do help out in the warehouse from time to time. Most of my working life has been spent with this company and I’m very happy here. I look forward to each day and you can’t ask for more than that.”
Customer Care Manager, Michelle Larkin, is another Lyreco long-timer, having been with the company for almost 32 years now. From Clondalkin in Co. Dublin, Michelle manages a team of four people and is used to seeing some very familiar faces at work – five of her seven sisters have worked for Lyreco, while her Dad also worked for the company for more than 30 years! From handling customer queries to supporting our busy account managers, every day brings a new challenge.
“I love the place! It keeps you on your toes in the best possible way,” says Michelle, who started out as a receptionist before moving into delivery management and onto customer care. “People are close, there’s a family-oriented culture here that everyone appreciates. I’ve seen so many changes over the years, especially through technology which has streamlined the customer care function, and also in terms of environmental awareness. My stand-out career moment? Definitely winning back-to-back CSO of the year. I have also won a trip to Colombia with VLP (Very Lyreco People award) and brought my sister Claire along with me – she had won an award that year too. We’re all excited about the new premises, it’s nice to look back but we’re looking forward as well.”
National Account Manager, Audrey Sherry, joined Classic Stationery way back in 1986 and has remained one of Lyreco’s key salespeople for more than 36 years, on the road meeting clients and routinely going out of her way to get the job done. Only recently, she assembled an office chair at the warehouse to bring it to a client. From Kilmainham in Dublin, Audrey also has a portfolio of clients with international office, some as far away as Hong Kong, and says that, at its heart, this is a people business.
“The human side of the company is very important, it really helps that we are long-term friends as well as co-workers and that’s on the client side too,” says Audrey. “We have a very strong brand name and I think clients really respect what we are implementing on the sustainability front and our Lyreco Goodness initiative. The last two years have been eventful as we expanded into PPE and new hygiene equipment, but the same principle applies – look after the client. I think remote working has shone a spotlight on the need for better ergonomics at work too. Back and shoulder pain is on the rise and we have a role to play in helping people with that. I’ve lots of happy memories from my time with Lyreco including a sales trip to Morocco where our brakes failed and the team had to free-wheel the van down the side of a mountain! Never a dull moment.”
Nespresso Business Solutions Director, Rob Jones, joined the business 32 years ago, as a fresh-faced, 18-year old youth training scheme student. Starting out in finance, he became a qualified chartered accountant and progressed through various roles before becoming a member of the senior management team. Then, along came Nespresso Professional. Managing a team of 50 people, split between Ireland and the UK, Telford-based Rob says he has the best job in the company.
“Without a doubt!” he said. “Partnering with the Nespresso brand has been huge for the business; it has opened up all sorts of new doors that maybe wouldn’t have been possible with the traditional side of the company. Nespresso is a household name and having the opportunity to work with a brand like that is hugely motivating for all the team. I never used to be a big coffee drinker but one thing about this job is that it turns you into a coffee expert! Only the best is good enough for me now. Highlights of my career? Right now, it’s managing a fantastic bunch of people spread between Ireland and the UK. Looking back on the years I’ve been with Lyreco, it’s probably the fact that I’ve held around seven different jobs with Lyreco, that’s really stood out – it’s allowed me to expand my expertise greatly. I’ve been here over 30 years, but it still feels fresh and that’s because I’ve had so many different opportunities to learn and grow.”
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