Ronnie Hartnett
Senior Service & Commissioning Engineer

I studied Sports & Recreation in 1994 at CIT and once I graduated, a 6-month trip to America gave me time to realise that I wanted to go in a totally different direction. So I got an apprenticeship through a friend with an established company in the water sector. I completed my E&I apprenticeship with them and attended night classes in industrial automation and control.

To further my career, I moved to a leading service and maintenance provider who also dealt with gas detection. I was excited to expand my knowledge in the gas industry as up to then, I had only worn portable gas monitors when I was working in confined spaces. Over the next 14 years I received great training and experience across a multitude of projects. 

I had met JJ (O’Brien) years previously, just as he started OBW and after another chance encounter where he explained how the company was growing, I decided it was an opportunity I just couldn’t miss! He convinced me that it was a good time to join the company, that there was a big future here and he was right. Things are getting bigger and it’s happening faster than even JJ probably ever imagined. When I started there were 20 people and it’s grown about 70% since then.

One of the things I love about working with OBW is how diverse my days are, with no two days ever being the same really. I’ve got quite a lot of experience which means I work across numerous areas within the business and help on multiple projects. In my role, I could be preparing/being a technical point on a quote to updating and checking drawings for panels or gas detection layouts. 

In terms of field work, I go from testing & commissioning to servicing existing equipment on-site, so it really is a mixed bag. I’m also responsible for the training of the new apprentices or new employees that come on board. We currently have two E&I apprentices and I’m the one who signs off on their schooling and on-site training. 

I’m proud to say I’ve built up good relationships through the years with engineers and councils in Clare and Limerick predominantly and I still do some work through OBW for water and sewage plants, who have relied on me for years. Building up relationships is very important to me and I’d like to think the quality of my work has helped me achieve this throughout my career.

My favourite part of the job is when I’m called out to a breakdown, to get a water plant or gas detection system back up and running. I enjoy diagnosing the problems and coming up with solutions on the spot….that’s the buzz I get! 

Looking forward, I see myself more as a supervisor continuing to help OBW grow, although I’m more than happy at present. I know if I went away from the site work I’d miss it. If anyone is thinking about joining us, all I can say is that It’s a good team and everyone gets on! Give us a go and now is the time to do it.  Most of the people that have joined us in the past couple of years are still here and that has to be a good sign!

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