In the third week of a four-part series looking at the finalists for the Cork Company of the Year Awards, Munster Business Hub editorcasts an eye over the contenders in the Large company category.
Rowa supplying medicines around the world for 60 years
Based in Bantry, Rowa Pharmaceuticals Ltd has expanded its reach over the past six decades to supply medicines across the globe.
Rowa provides high-quality prescription and non-prescription medicine at a competitive price.
Their mission statement is to provide products and services that consistently meet technical standards, regulatory requirements and customer expectations, delivered on time and at competitive costs.
The company has been a pillar of the community for over 60 years providing jobs to the people of Bantry and West Cork.
Their two key products; Rowachol and Rowatinex were developed in the late 1950s and provide relief from kidney stones and gallstones without surgical intervention.
Their unique selling points are the services they offer to the healthcare profession including a wide range of promotional material including window display material, posters, leaflets, booklets and counter display units.
They have expanded to have a presence in 80 countries worldwide. Some of the leading markets for their products are Russia, Egypt, Afghanistan, Libya, Hungary and Korea, all supplied from their Bantry base.
The company is owned by Brigitte Wagner-Halswick, who has been managing director since 1979 following the death of her husband Roland Wagner.
In 1979, Bantry had just experienced the largest maritime disaster in Irish history, Ireland was going an economic crisis and political turmoil, unemployment was high and Mrs Wagner was a young businesswoman in a male-dominated landscape.
This was a difficult time to maintain a business but she made the decision to remain in Bantry and make Rowa a success.
Travelling the world and promoting Rowa products establishing the company as a leading pharmaceutical supplier.
The business has also remained in Bantry despite multiple offers and opportunities to move the business, especially during the recession.
The company continues to grow, launching new products and registering these products in new markets such as Syria, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
This year, in conjunction with the IDA, Rowa introduced the LEAN programme in their laboratory with the overall goal of improving processes and becoming more efficient in their procedures.
Joe Keane, head of operations for Rowa Pharmaceuticals, said:
We’re very honoured to be a finalist in the Cork Company of the Year Awards 2020. This has been an absolutely incredible year for Rowa.
“Most notably, in September, we celebrated 60 years in business in West Cork, a monumental milestone that few companies achieve.”
“I’d also like to say a special word about Mrs Wagner-Halswick, who has been our managing director since 1979 and today, is still the driving force of the company.”
Crest supporting the world’s top pharma and med device firms
The important work of pharmaceutical and medical device multinationals in Ireland, Europe and the US is supported by Cork firm Crest Solutions, who have provided them with engineering services and solutions for more than 20 years.
The company was founded in 1998 and is now amongst Northern Europe’s leading engineering services partners to life sciences companies.
Since their inception in Cork, they have worked with a variety of companies including Allergan, Gilead, Teva, J&J, Baxter Healthcare, MSD-Merck, and Abbott.
The company has experienced exponential growth with employment growing from 20 people in 2011 to over 175 today.
They are on track to hire an additional 120 engineers, project managers, software developers and technicians by the end of this year.
Crest invested in a joint venture with Vistalink NV in 2012 and has grown this operation to service the Benelux and Scandinavian regions, successfully internationalising the company’s European operations and reach.
Through strategic partnerships in the US, the company now delivers and supports systems in multiple sites globally for life sciences clients.
Construction is ongoing at the company’s headquarters in Little Island, doubling the building’s footprint to accommodate the increased workforce.
Many of the company’s engineers work on customer sites domestically and abroad managing, delivering and supporting projects.
This has led to projects being delivered in multiple countries and sites for global leaders.
CEO Frank Madden said their plan is to grow group revenue exponentially over a five-year period.
“As multinationals build global teams to assess and implement emerging Industry 4.0 technologies, they are contracting Crest Solutions to partner with them to build scalable solutions for their sites internationally.
These include innovations in digital work instructions, virtualisation, virtual reality, augmented reality and cobot applications, all backed by the excellence of the project support we provide through our resourcing solutions and managed services teams.
“We are delighted and honoured to have been selected as a finalist by Cork Chamber for Large Company of the Year.
“We are immensely proud of our domestic and international growth from our base in Cork, increasing turnover almost ten-fold in the last five years.
“Cork continues to be an excellent place from which to grow an internationally-focused business.
“Our ability to hire so many talented people in Cork, in addition to having so many multi-national manufacturing customers with a presence here, have been key enablers in the success being recognised by Cork Chamber,” Mr Madden said.
Hotel group promotes city nationally and internationally
Operating three top locations in Cork, Trigon Hotels have strong ambitions for the future.
Their 4-star group of hotels include the Cork International Hotel, Cork Airport Hotel and the Metropole Hotel.
Across the group, they operate 334 bedrooms, four restaurants, three bars, 33 conference and meeting rooms and multiple leisure facilities
Founded in May 2017, Trigon Hotels are dedicated to the promotion of Cork as a premium business and leisure destination nationally and internationally to ensure Cork, its people and its businesses benefit.
All their three hotels are ranked in the top 10 on TripAdvisor, securing spots three, five, and 10 out of 33 properties.
They provide 270 jobs in Cork and this is set to grow in the next three years. This figure does not include the additional teams, part-time employment and seasonal staff they hire for large events, conferences and busy periods such as the jazz festival.
Their ambitious sales growth projections are 5% year-on-year for the next three. The Metropole has seen year-on-year growth of 18% on 2018 and for the past five years, Cork International Hotel and Cork Airport Hotel have had double-digit growth.
Trigon’s festivals and events also continue to grow in scale, having recently received Fáilte Ireland funding.
Awards/accreditations this year have included, Irish Hospitality Institute Food & Beverage Manager of the Year, Chambers Ireland CSR Award Nomination for their charity initiative from working with BUMBLEance, Gold Medal Awards shortlisted finalist for Best Business and Conference Hotel and Best Breakfast for the Cork International Hotel.
The Metropole Hotel Cork won Cork Hotel of the Year for 2018 at the Cork Business Association annual business awards. The Met Bar was shortlisted for Hotel Bar of the year at the national Bar of the Year awards.
They have just won a Cork Chamber Digital Marketing Award for Best use of Twitter. The Metropole Hotel also won 3-star hotel of the year at the national Irish Hotel Awards prior to becoming a 4-star hotel last March.
Managing director Aaron Mansworth said they are honoured to be shortlisted for this prestigious award. “This nomination recognises the hard work and dedication of our team to the hospitality, tourism and business community in Cork and indeed Ireland.
It acknowledges our vast investment in Cork and our plans to grow and scale sustainably over the coming years, providing even more jobs to Cork people and driving impact on the local economy.
“We are committed to redefining the customer experience not only within our hotels and events, but also within Cork.
“We look forward to continuing relationships with Cork Chamber, its growing membership base and we will continue to innovate to further positively impact the industry and our city.”