Richard and Diane decide to retire
Richard McDermott, the Northstone Materials Commercial Director, and his wife, Diane, have both decided to retire this Christmas and bring to an end a total of 48 years of service to our Company.
Richard began his career with R.J. Maxwell (Ballymena) Ltd as an Assistant Accountant on 10th September 1979. However, what most of us do not know is that prior to his appointment he had unsuccessfully applied for a similar post at T.B.F. Thompson (Engineering) Ltd with the successful applicant just happening to be Bill Weir. There then was an interview with Ronnie McIntyre and Willie McNabb on the following Saturday morning and Richard was offered the position in Ballymena.
Richard would admit to there being many changes in his 38 year journey with Northstone as he remembers; “In 1981 I remember CRH plc taking a 50% holding in our Group in what were heady days with interest rates at 16% and CRH introduced “Inflation Accounting”, a wonderfully exciting subject. How CRH have developed since then.”
In 1984, the Division’s North Down Quarry was merged with the quarry at Ballymena and Richard took over the role of accountant at both locations. This was followed in 1986, when all activities were merged to trade as R.J. Maxwell and Son Limited and this gave Richard the opportunity to move back to his home town of Coleraine as the Division’s Financial Controller. Richard also assumed accounting responsibility for T.B.F. Thompson (Properties) Ltd and he still looks after their financial affairs to the present day.
In 2005 Richard became Commercial Director of the new Northstone Quarry and Asphalt Division working under Managing Director, Willie McNabb. The establishing of the Northstone Materials Division in 2009 led to Richard being appointed Commercial Director under Managing Director, Graham McQuillan.
Richard readily acknowledges the success of Northstone Materials over the years as he explains; “I have been fortunate to work with many tremendous people in my working life who have been the backbone and catalysts for the success that have made Northstone the Company that it is today. I suppose the big difference between 1979 and 2016 is the change towards a better work/life balance. Yes, we still work long hours but not the crazy hours we did back in the 1980’s when 14 hour days were common place.”
Diane McDermott has decided to follow her husband Richard’s lead and retire. Diane began her working career with the Ulster Bank, Lisburn Road, Belfast in 1977 and served in various banks before ending her banking career some 25 years later with retirement from the Bank’s Portstewart Branch in County Londonderry.
Diane’s Northstone career started almost out of the blue in 2006 when emergency cover was required at the weighbridge in Croaghan Quarry. Her husband, Richard, very kindly volunteered her services and she settled very quickly into the role developing an excellent rapport with the customers. The then managing director of the division, Willie McNabb, recognised Diane’s customer facing skills and appointed her to a sales and marketing role in respect of aggregates and blacktop. In 2010, following the formation of the Northstone Materials Division, Diane had a change of role and took on a position as Sales Administrator in respect of the full product portfolio.
Diane very kindly gave Northlink some idea of how she is feeling on leaving Northstone Materials; “Over the years I have developed real friendships with the people at Croaghan and I will greatly miss the day to day interaction with them. At Croaghan we were all very much of a team helping each other as and when required. Hopefully I will keep and develop these friendships for many years after my retirement.”
Richard has told Northlink that he and his wife, Diane, will have plenty of things to do to keep them occupied in their retirement with family, time spent relaxing in their villa in Orlando and with sporting activities very much to the fore.
Richard and Diane are off to New Zealand in June to see if the British and Irish Lions can record what will only be their second test series win in the “land of the long white cloud”. Richard is also a keen golfer and both he and Diane are members of Royal Portrush Golf Club and he anticipates devoting a lot of his time to the preparations for the Open Golf Championships in 2019.
All at Northlink wish Richard and Diane a long, peaceful and healthy retirement.