The Irish dental industry in person: Tommy Maguire

How did you become involved with the dental industry?
I was at the end of a 12-month contract in South Africa, working on a petrochemical project, and my wife replied to an advertisement in a paper on my behalf (unbeknownst to me). A local dental company, BF Mulholland, was looking for an engineer. I spoke to them but instead took a job at RAF Aldergrove for a year.

Then the offer was made to me again and I joined BF Mulholland in the summer of 1984 as an engineer. I got into consumables sales in 1985.  In 1996 I moved to McCormack Dental and in 2000 I joined Kerr as the area manager for Ireland, which is my current position.

What is it about the industry that has kept you so long?
Well, I have made many friends in the trade and the profession, and I enjoy and value the relationships I have with all. It is a continually evolving profession and forever coming up with surprises. Each day presents a new challenge and that’s what keeps me going.

What is your favourite dental product?
From our own range of products, I think Expasyl. It is a temporary gingival retraction paste and it is a fantastic product – just ask any dentist who uses it! Apart from the Kerr range, I think digital Imaging equipment and the advances made in this area are to be commended 

What is your most memorable moment in the dental industry?
I will never forget the days and weeks after the BBC’s Panorama documentary about dental handpieces being used daily in practices all around the UK and Ireland. It was highlighting the risks of cross infection from dental handpieces that were not being properly sterilised between patients. It came at the time when the majority of us were just beginning to learn of the spread of HIV and AIDS. The sales of sterilisers and handpieces went through the roof.

Are you a good dental patient?
I would say so. Although I don’t have a particularly high pain threshold, I manage to switch-off and think of something I would much rather be doing.

What changes do you think will reflect the industry and profession the most over the next five years?
I think Information Technology will continue to become more and more important. Scanning images of preparations or an orthodontic case and sending them electronically to someone in Hong Kong or New York to assess or evaluate is the norm now, so there seems to be no limit.

In your opinion, what has been the greatest step forward in the Irish dental market since you started?
In recent years I have seen broad improvements in the Irish dental market. There now exists a decidedly more professional approach in a number of areas – staff training and marketing initiatives to name but two. Offering online ordering, next day delivery, catalogues containing thousands of product lines and competitive pricing characterises these developments.

Who do you admire in dentistry?
I would not like to name any individual but I have been lucky to have
been associated with a lot of very fine people in this profession.

Who do you admire away from the profession?
I admire people at the very top of their game, whether as an athlete or world leader. I admire Roger Federer and Tiger Woods, both have graced their sport and have given so much pleasure to so many people all around the world.

What would you like to achieve – professionally?
I would like to continue the growth of the Kerr range of products and our share of the Irish market, and ultimate world domination!

I would like to complete one more marathon; I have done six but I think I have one more left in me. Also, I want to get my golf handicap down to a single figure.

Have you any regrets – professionally?
I think you should never have regrets – really only ‘what might have beens’.

There’s no point is there? Of course I wish I had gone for that trial with Manchester United when I was asked to at 13; who knows what would have happened.

What makes you angry?
Being on the road so much, I suppose it would be easy to say something about other drivers, but I don’t let things get to me that badly.

What makes you laugh?
Ricky Gervaise and Rafa Benitez. Also, I can’t stop laughing at the tape of John Terry missing that penalty in the Champions League Final. Its class! I even have it on my phone.

How do you deal with stress?
Anyone who knows me will tell you I don’t do stress.

What three books would you want to have with you if you were stranded on a desert island?
The Boss by Alex Ferguson
Back from the brink by Paul McGrath
Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz.

What has been your happiest moment in life?
There have been many happy times in my life – but I love being with my family on holidays and getting together on special occasions.

Where in the world would you most like to live?
I love southern France and Italy, but there’s nowhere to beat Kinsale even if the weather is not great.

Can you summarise yourself in 10 words?
A hard-working family man who likes a laugh, drink and golf.

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