‘I only came here to earn some extra money like any young lad, I never intended to stay’
The coming weeks and months promise to be well, interesting, for Eugene Healy. There is the not inconsiderable matter of the imminent arrival of a new baby. He and his second wife Luba are expecting the latest addition to their family around mid-November.
Then there are other issues that pale somewhat by comparison but are massive nonetheless such as the small matter of steering the company he heads up - Trimfold Envelopes - through the evolving, ever-changing maze that is the Covid crisis.
There's something else that needs to be addressed, some other little detail to be sorted and it begins with B. Now what could it be? Oh, yes Brexit; an issue that is coming down the tracks with all the urgency and momentum of a driverless, out-of-control freight train.
Considering all that is going on in his life you might expect Eugene to be deeply preoccupied, if not burdened down, by the cares of the world. He is after all head of a company that employs 57 people, has a turnover of over €8 million and is slap bang in the middle of a crisis no-one knows how to get out of it.
You are shown up to the spacious Trimfold Envelopes boardroom and asked if you would like tea or coffee. It's not yet nine in the morning but there is an air of industry around the place. A buzz and brightness that suggests a company that is well-run, organised, going places, despite the threats that are out there in the still murky morning.
Then Eugene, the company MD, arrives into the boardroom like a man without a care in the world. He too is bright and breezy and during the next 50 minutes or so as he looks back on chapters from his life while often letting out that characteristic laugh of his. A laugh that suggest a man who who enjoys what he does, who savours life.
He's 61 but retirement, what's that? "I don't even think about it until someone mentions it," he says as he sits down in his expensive suit that says a lot about his place in the world.
Eugene is one of life's lucky people in that he enjoys his work - but it wasn't all sunshine and light for him. Far from it. He had his share of anxieties and worries but he dealt with them, tackled them head on - and now he urges others to do the same.
If there is one thing Eugene Healy has learned in his life it is that nothing, at least nothing worthwhile, can be achieved without hard graft; working at it. Another thing he has come to realise is that there is no point in worrying about things you can't do anything about.
"You can only do something about what you are in control of and if you do that then you are doing well," he says outlining his own personal philosophy he forged from hard, painful experience.
Few know Trimfold Envelopes, and what's involved in running the business, better than he does. After all he has worked with the company since he was 16. He started out sweeping the floors before he moved up and up and up.
"I only came here to earn some extra money like any young lad, I never intended to stay here. I was really interested in engineering and electrical engineering particularly, that's where my ambitions lay."
Then life intervened. He recalls a moment during his early years that was something of a turning point. He was working with a fitter, Bill Allen, who he got on well with. "A pump broke down on a machine and Bill went off to the office for something. I pulled the machine apart and had bits all over the place.
"Bill came back and saw it all and said: 'O my God' and held his hands to his head. I said don't panic Bill, I'll put it back together and I did. The machine worked for years afterwards. I was very lucky I was in a company that was developing. They saw I had an aptitude for his kind of stuff and they helped me develop it."
The years passed and Eugene graduated from from floor sweeper to machine operator, to supervisor, technical manager/engineer, director until he became MD.
He had grown up in Boardsmill and attended school in the old Trim Vocational School until he was 16 when he started out in Trimfold, a company that has gone through plenty of ups and downs.
"It has gone through a lot of changes, it went into examinership in 1994, was taken over by a Scottish Papermill and they sold it in 2006 to a German operation. So even though it's in the one building I've had three bosses," he adds. I report every month on the figures and if they are not stacking then we have to have a chat basicially." Cue another of his familiar laughs.
When he took over as MD in 1994 the company was losing £450,000 a year. The staff number than stood at 76 and cutbacks had to be made; painful cutbacks. Telling people they were being let go was he says "stressful."
Despite his sunny disposition Eugene Healy knows about the dark days too, what he calls the "black dog." He refers to stressful times such as when he had to let people go and when his first marriage broke down which, he adds, may have had something to do with his working lifestyle.
"I was doing a lot of travelling. I'm very much based in Trim now but used to travel all over Europe, looking at machinery, the States too, it brings it's own pressures and I'm a bit of a workaholic as well. It wouldn't bother me to do 60 or 80 hours a week."
Eugene is the father of two daughters from his first marriage, Emma and Sarah. In 2015 he got married a second time to Luba from Ukraine who worked in Trimfold and still does. They have a son Francis (11) and a daughter Hanna Rose (5). Now the couple have a third child due next month.
At times the pressure of keeping a business going did take its toll. "I've had my downs, like anyone else. I suffered from anxiety, depression, worry. When you are running a business, these things do happen, the pressure of business can get to you whether you like it or not.
"I have walked the floors at night, thinking: What are you going to do? What are you going to do? Playing out scenarios in your head, all that. It does take its toll, there a lot to be gained and learned from it provided you don't succumb to it, unfortunately a lot of people have succumbed to it."
There was a time in Ireland when people won't speak about mental health issues. Thankfully that day is gone, he adds. He feels there's a tsunami of mental health problems affecting people in these surreal Covid-19 days.
The way he went about dealing with his own mental health issues was by tackling them head on. Encouraged by Luba he looked to the experts. He speaks highly of the benefits of mindfulness and simple options such as breathing exercises.
"I got help. I went and spoke to people about it, and dealt with it. I went to a psychologist. It was hard because no-one wants to say that I have issues or have had worries. Instead people want to say everything is rosy in the garden.
"I would say to anyone, especially with all that's going on with Covid, if you are feeling under pressure, do something about it. Go and see somebody, talk to somebody because people are more lonely now than they ever were, particularly men, they keep things within themselves."
Outside of business Eugene Healy has his own bucket-list and he achieved one cherished ambition when he rode down Route 66 on his motorbike. He also used the journey as a way to raise funds for Temple Street Hospital. He might be 61 but this is one man, you suspect, who has no intention to ever taking out the pipe and slippers and relaxing into a restful retirement. There's just too much to do, too much still to be achieved. Life for him is full of possibilities.
We depart with the traditional meeting of elbows that has replaced the handshake, Eugene returning to his office to continue the business of running a company in these strange times. The coming weeks and months certainly promise to be interesting for him.