Niall Magee

Niall Magee

Operations Performance Manager at CoolPlanet

Tell us a bit about yourself ?

I have an undergraduate degree in product design, and I have two master’s degrees: in sustainability technology and innovation. My first master’s degree is from DIT and the second is from Purdue University, Indiana in the United States. They were both part of the Atlantis program which was a joint collaboration between the EU government and the US government to try to encourage cross-atlantic relations. We had eight people from Ireland, eight people from the US and eight people from Spain all do the course in the hope to encourage international communications business between us all, together with the ultimate goal to try and save the planet. One semester also saw me study at UPC in Barcelona. My focus was on renewable technologies and building energy retrofit. I did a lot of work in energy audits and my thesis was based on designing a new energy harvester which basically tried to replicate leaves flapping in the wind and create energy from those using piezoelectric transducers.

I have been with CoolPlanet for the past five years and I love it ! I started as an energy analyst which was putting that background to use. I quickly came to see a gap which was to serve our customers and help get them the most out of our software. We have CoolPlanetOS which is an excellent SaaS platform. We use that to try to optimise our clients' performance at their site to help drive them towards net zero and reduce their carbon emissions. While also increasing their yields and reducing their energy usage and costs.

CoolPlanetOS and sites metering networks need to be maintained all the time so essentially what I like to say I do is, I keep the lights on! After we've done that initial process of getting all the data in, it is a matter of making sure that the data continues to flow and is valid. While also helping customers with expanding if they add on more equipment or if there's new integrations that they want to do so they're finding value in the system. I work quite closely with a lot of the teams in CoolPlanet. I work with the design and commissioning team, the development team and engineering team. Making sure they're all happy and everything is running smoothly as well as running the support desk for our customers.

Where did you work prior to joining CoolPlanet?

I was using my design background a bit more; I was working for a 3D printing/ additive manufacturing company. We designed and manufactured 3D printers. I was working as an applications engineer so my job was supporting our customers in how to best use printers and educating our dealer network. For example, seeing what we could do with them if somebody came to us with an idea for an application as to what they wanted to print I would see if it is possible and demonstrate to them how best to do it.

I also travelled to trade shows around the world, and I helped answer any technical questions that customers may have had at the trade shows. As well as making sure that the printers that were at the shows were well maintained and running smoothly for the duration of the shows. Some of my favourite trips were some of the trade shows in Las Vegas, Florida and California.

What do you enjoy most about working for CoolPlanet?

First of all, I enjoy my colleagues they're great fun but they're also really smart. I'm always learning something new, and people are very open. I can walk into the CEO's office for a chat, or I can just ask him a question if I'm having a problem.

What I like about the company is we're very agile, we can do a lot of different things and we are very diverse in what we do. There's always an opportunity to learn about a new area. We work with some really varying customers so you find out a lot about different industries. I'm a very keen advocate in lifelong learning so there's always something new to learn here. I like as well that we make a difference to the world. For instance, when I come to work, I help our customers to use a platform that means that they can reduce their carbon emissions and we can get a little step closer to net zero globally and hopefully defeat climate change.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a doctor. I went through various things as to what I wanted to be through school. Initially it was always a doctor and then I did work experience in a hospital and ultimately decided it wasn't for me. After that, I wanted to be a pharmacist. I spent two years during school, working as a pharmaceutical technician in a pharmacy part time. I was getting good exposure to that world and realised again it wasn't quite what I wanted to do. In my final year in school I focused more on engineering. In Ireland we have a wide choice of subjects and I picked all of the sciences so I did physics, chemistry, biology and applied maths so I knew I wanted to do something in that world.

I decided I wanted to go down the engineering route, product design was a course I found when I went to the open days. It is engineering but also it gives you the creativity to come up with new things. It's more of an entrepreneurial side than just pure engineering because you know you're coming up with new ideas for products. You have to think about not just how they work but also how they look and how you can market them. What we do here at CoolPlanet is a digital product. I know I'm very lucky to be in the role that I have, where I can have discussions with both the clients and our development team and help translate what the client needs and wants are back to the development team.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to spend it with my family. I am also a triathlete, ideally if I can do that while seeing somewhere new it’s great. I like to be able to get out on the bike and go travel 100 kilometres into the countryside. I also play guitar. I used to work in a guitar shop for 8 years and help with repairing instruments. At home I like to take on small projects around my house and just general DIY. As I mentioned earlier, I'm very keen on life learning so I like to do things that help to enhance my skills.

What keeps you motivated?

I believe that we should all leave the world in a better place than what we found it. That's what we're doing at coolplanet. We're leaving companies that we work with in a better place than what we find them, by giving them the tools to do it themselves. I'm quite motivated by my colleagues and want to enable them to do their jobs better by my input. I like to constantly consume knowledge where I can that spurs me on to continue to know more than I did yesterday.

What are three interesting things about you?

  1. I attended a Gaelscoil and can speak fluent Irish.
  2. When I was 16 my friends and I had a film in a Film Festival in Dublin. It was entirely written, produced, directed, edited and acted by my group of friends. It was a great achievement. I had an acting role in the project. It was interesting trying to shoot special effects with no budget !
  3. I’m currently training for the Dublin City Marathon which will be my second marathon.

What is your life mantra?

When I was studying product design we had to write a document that was our mission statement as designers. My mission statement was” believe, innovate and create”. It applies to everything: have belief in yourself and believe in what you're trying to do. It will give you the power to innovate in any field and then actually create it.