Mike Walsh BMD & Co
Mike Walsh, Managing Director, BMD & Co

As BMD & Co is set to see a jump of 40% in its turnover this year, managing director MIKE WALSH speaks with Robbie Cousins about career opportunities with the innovative mechanical engineering contractor.

Mechanical process engineering contractor BMD & Co has been in operation for almost 50 years. Originally set up as a subsidiary of the Bowen Construction group, when the Cork building firm went into liquidation in 2011, a management team, comprising John Allen, Paul Keegan, Nicholas Lynch, Frank O’Keeffe and Mike Walsh completed a buyout of the company, saving over 200 jobs in the process and setting BMD on a new and exciting path.

For a number of the intervening years, BMD focused its attention on securing its stability by pursuing opportunities in the southern market by providing a range of specialist mechanical and process services, primarily in the pharma and biopharma sectors.

In 2019, Israeli industrial design specialists Meptagon bought a majority stake in the company. This opened up a number of new opportunities for BMD, including expanding into the Dublin and Leinster region.

Reflecting on the past 10 years, Mike Walsh, Managing Director, BMD & Co, says that 2019 was a significant year in the company’s development.

“We had managed to stabilise and grow the business following the management buyout in 2011, which was an awful time for the sector. In 2019, when Meptagon took a majority stake in the company, several new opportunities opened up for us, including expansion into the Dublin market.”

BMD & Co Dublin expansion

BMD purchased a manufacturing facility in Balbriggan and started to build a new team headed up by Kevin McKiernan. He took up the role of director with responsibility for the Leinster region.

Walsh continues: “We purchased a 60,000 sq foot-manufacturing plant in Balbriggan in 2019 and brought in Kevin McKeirnan to build the Leinster team. We carried out a comprehensive refit, including the installation of a €2m cleanroom facility, which includes a class-10 area with extremely high levels of air extraction that exceed the standard of cleanliness required for a hospital operating theatre. This facility will be key to our growth plans in the Leinster region in the years ahead.”

Already the investment and move into the Dublin market is paying dividends for BMD, as its expected turnover of over €60m this year is up about 40% on its turnover of €43m for last year, with significant growth expected in 2022.

BMD technological advances

BMD’s core business is as a mechanical engineering contractor supplying and fitting pre-fabricated pipework for industrial facilities. Its primary objective is to do as much work as possible in its fabrication facility to minimise the number of hours and people required on sites. This objective has been dramatically helped by BMD’s early adoption of BIM and digital construction technologies as well as lean practices.

“BIM has resulted in us being able to bring very high levels of efficiency to the projects on which we are engaged,” Mike Walsh continues. “The earlier we are brought onto a project, the better. As soon as we can get data that we can use from the client, we analyse it from a fabrication and constructability point of view to find better ways to complete the sub-assembly and manufacture of elements. We then make recommendations to the client, which in many cases have a had significant impact on reducing project costs and timing.”

Mike Walsh BMD & CO
BMD & Co's state-of-the-art plant in Balbriggan.

Opportunities at BMD & Co

BMD currently employs over 500 people across engineering professions, quantity surveying, trades, construction management, digital technologies and administration. It is about to start adding significantly to this number with a major new recruitment campaign.

Mike Walsh explains: “We have exciting plans for the future. We see our client base and turnover continuing to grow into the future. Key to our success will be the ongoing recruitment of highly-ambitious and experienced professional engineers and engineering graduates, project managers, mechanical construction managers, quantity surveyors, BIM technicians and tradespeople.

“At BMD, we recognise that the skill and commitment of our staff are what ensures that we continue to grow. We offer very competitive remuneration packages and benefits, as well as rapid career advancement and continuous on the job learning opportunities. This has meant that we have been able to build a strong team and hold on to people.

“We are very excited to be entering this new phase of development as we look to build on our success to date and add to our team for the future. Anyone who takes up this opportunity to join BMD can be assured that they will face exciting challenges and have great opportunities ahead for them.”

BMD Engineering opportunities

BMD has a long-standing relationship with Munster Technological University and, in more recent years, TU Dublin and Trinity College in Dublin.

“The lifeblood of our company and its future is our engineering graduate intake,” Mike Walsh comments. “We have a comprehensive ongoing CPD programme for all of our professional teams, which is an essential part of ensuring that all our people are up to date with the latest BIM and digital technology advances.”

Opportunities for tradespeople

On the craft side of the business, Mike Walsh says that, unfortunately, there is still a massive gap in the number of people in Ireland choosing to take the apprenticeship career route.

“In Germany and eastern Europe, a trade is considered a much better career choice than in Ireland. Many of our craft employees are from eastern Europe, and they are highly skilled. I would like to see the government and the industry doing more to increase the number of young Irish people choosing the apprenticeship route. There is a whole generation of welders, pipefitters fabricators in their 30s and 40s now who do not have people coming through behind them. BMD is looking to recruit trades and craftspeople at all levels, and as with other jobs in the company, we provide opportunities to learn and rapidly advance within the BMD set up.”

Mike Walsh BMD & Co
BMD’s Balbriggan cleanroom facility with class-10 area with extremely high levels of air extraction.

BMD elevator pitch

Mike Walsh is very enthusiastic about the opportunities that lie ahead for BMD and is confident that once potential recruits hear the BMD story and learn of its ambitions for the future, they will not want to pass up the opportunity of joining the BMD team.

“BMD has ambitious growth plans. We have been very successful at hiring the best people to date, looking after them in terms of the packages we offer, and providing opportunities to grow and progress. We are looking to bring in the best in the business and help them become the best that they can be at what they do. The past 10 years have been very exciting for everyone involved in BMD, but the next 10 years will be even more exciting. Anyone who takes up what BMD has to offer will be well rewarded and will play a key role in the next phase of the company’s exciting story,” he concludes.

If you would like to learn more about exciting career development opportunities at BMD & Co, email Jennifer Connery at jennifer.connery@bmd.ie

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