Security firm Manguard Plus was founded in 1996 by current managing director, Seán Hall, along with his father, also Seán.
Manguard Plus employs up to 1,300 people from its headquarters in Naas, and offices in Cork, Waterford and Belfast. The company also has offices in the UK, at London and Chester, and has experienced rapid growth, rising from a turnover of €14 million in 2015 to over €35 million in 2020.
Despite the challenges and restrictions of Covid-19, the company won over €5 million of new business in in the past year.
“We believe that our employees are the life blood of the company and we pride ourselves on our commitment to effective communication and consultation with our entire workforce,” MD Seán Hall explains. “This ensures we all strive to meet the company objectives in a family friendly environment.”
A true family enterprise, Seán’s son Darren and daughter Diane are also involved in the business.
When we were starting out the thought never occurred to me that it could become a family business
“I also have a brother, a sister, two brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews working in different sections of the company,” he adds.
Darren has been with Manguard Plus for 14 years, and Diane, who worked elsewhere to gain experience, is now fulltime at the company for the last five years.
“When we were starting out the thought never occurred to me that it could become a family business,” Sean recalled of the early days.
“But as we grew and became a much bigger operation, it became obvious that it would be very important to have family working within the business in order to ensure that a successful succession plan was developed.”
As is the case in all family businesses, he agrees that working together can sometimes be challenging: “The majority of the time it is great, but like all family when things go wrong, it can be a little bit tricky. I suppose when family works for you or with you, it’s expected that they work harder than everybody else and your expectations of them are greater.”
Working with your dad has its share of ups and downs, but being part of a company whose growth is on an upward curve does serve to smooth out any bumps that occur along the road.
“Darren says that he loves working in Manguard Plus but that he gets away with very little and is always very contactable - I suppose he can’t really say no to his father. But of course Darren sees how successful Manguard Plus has become over the last number of years, and he now realises the potential for him to take over the reins some day and this is inspiring him with his personal development.”
In addition, Darren has a younger brother and sister, Shaun and Alanna, who may also enter the business in the future and keep the Hall legacy going for many years to come.
One of Manguard’s new clients is a multinational blue chip company, worth €3.7 million to the company. As a result of this win, they have hired 80 new staff to service this contract.
Another major client added to the company’s roster recently is the Dublin Port Company, in tandem with a brand new service in Laois, as part of their nationwide coverage. Manguard Plus have put in huge work in compliance and are to the fore of ensuring that their staff are constantly training and upskilling, and working to the most exacting ISO Environmental, Health and Safety standards.
Consistently first for developing new measures for clients, Manguard Plus is the only security company in Ireland to gain international recognition for its commitment to customer service, being awarded World Host recognised Business Status.
Working together for the greater good
Seán underlines how differing family skills contribute to the success of the overall operation.
“I would have extensive operational skills developed over years of working in the security industry and I try to pass these on to Darren, while he would be very technically astute. We blend these skills to ensure that the company is at the cutting edge of technical advancement. Diane has a great head for figures, that’s her area of expertise, so all in all, we’re a good team.”
The Hall family do their best to compartmentalise their lives in order to balance work, family and social life.
Family business has a special momentum, Seán agrees: “Though it gets a little difficult at times, as it does in most workplaces regardless of who people are, it works very well for us.
“It’s natural to expect a lot from family, but that can be a huge driving force in itself. It’s great though as you always know they have your back and that they are working for the greater good of the company,” he adds.
As to the question of succession, Seán is content to let time take its course: “Right now Darren and Diane are in their development phase and are being tutored by our senior management team.
“Once they can show competency and step up to the mark, when the day comes they will take ownership and lead the company into the future.”