hurricane and fire fail to rein in this man on a mission - materials that absorb water
The driving force behind the harness Ireland has maintained his belief and turned the sideline into a global leader in horse products this week's entrepreneurs should of course win gold medals.
Tom McGuinness, general manager of the Irish harness, faces far more challenges and disasters than he deserves.
But faith in himself and God gives him the strength to overcome.
Thirty years ago, he started a small sideline business with hand-sewn horse blankets or carpets, and over the years the company has grown into a world leader in horse products.
Tom showed me his 80,000-
Dundalk, located in Co Louth, has a square foot factory, which is just one of the many factories that the company currently has.
In the exhibition hall, life
The size of the horse mannequin is covered with a carefully designed horse carpet designed to protect the horse from flies, bugs and even excessive damage
Exposed to the sun.
In addition to this, there are many other accessories, including headbands, beams, saddles, and even horse boots.
Also, Tom showed me the wide range of clothing and accessories that the company has designed for fashionConscious rider
Tom's story is unusual.
He grew up in Dundalk, where his family started a local riding school.
When Tom went to the Agricultural University in Tyrone in 1970, he felt that it was not suitable for him, but decided to carry out the task.
"I have had what you call a spiritual experience," Tom explained . ".
It changed my life.
He spent most of the next eight years as a missionary in South America.
"I have no money, I live by faith," said Tom . ".
"I am used to believing that things will be solved in some way and that the universe will work together to do good for me.
This is usually the case.
Today, his faith is still an important part of his life.
In 1979, he returned to Ireland, where he met Carol, an American woman who came here to study, and married her.
He eventually took over the riding school of the family, was qualified as a riding instructor, and was pleased to allocate time between managing the school and competing for himself.
However, the situation changed when their first child was born.
"I suddenly had a sense of responsibility," said Tom . "
"I have to think about financial security now.
"He remembers that one day in 1983, he came up with ideas for a new business.
He was laying a carpet for a horse at the time, and he was wondering how bad it was doing and how it leaked all the time.
He thought it was possible to use the same material as the horse carpet in the duvet cover and worked on a design in the second year to make sure it was moving on the horse.
At about the same time, he stumbled upon a book about how to start a business.
The section on market research inspired him to contact some of the horse owners he knew to get their feedback on his ideas.
His reaction was very positive, so he put into production.
"The first 100 carpets I made were not very beautiful," Tom admitted with a smile . ".
Later, he bought a sewing machine and taught himself to sew.
A year and a half later, he closed the riding school and transformed it into a small factory. horse gear Products Co. , Ltd. was officially established.
His first major breakthrough was in 1990 when he discovered hydrophilics, a formula that could be used as a coating on carpet materials to absorb moisture and moisture from the body of the horse.
It makes the fabric waterproof and breathable and does not make the horse sweat.
"The result surprised me, I took every penny of mine and put the biggest ad I could afford in the journal Horse and Hound.
"My reaction was that I couldn't make enough carpets at all," said Tom . ".
The company grew steadily, monopolizing the market for the next five years.
He is eager to break into the export market and has made contact with famous people in equestrian circles.
When people like Paul Darragh send their horses abroad, Tom makes sure they get to their new owners with their harness rugs.
Soon he began exporting carpets to Sweden, Denmark, France and Germany.
In order to meet the production requirements, he bought a new 30,000-
Square foot factory in Dundalk.
Soon after, he bought another factory, but this time in the United States.
"We realized that if we were really going to open up the US market, we needed to have a place there," Tom explained . ".
Soon after, however, the company was attacked in the first of two major disasters.
"The factory in the United States is razed to the ground by Hurricane Floyd, which is equivalent to modern Sandy," Tom said . ".
"What's worse, the place where we are ready to ship is full of stock.
Everything was destroyed.
"Shortly before the second disaster.
Less than a year later, Dundalk's factory was completely burned.
This book came to an end for Tom, but he was determined to move on and immediately set up two shifts in the temporary premises to keep the order complete.
The company moved into its current premises in 2001, but despite all their hard work, increased competition and high manufacturing costs, the company suffered significant losses.
Tom also refused to give in.
"Leaving is not in my DNA," he said firmly . ".
However, he was forced to withdraw from manufacturing and move production to China.
But his troubles did not end.
"At the same time, the bank decided to unplug and tell me that they were no longer supporting me because I was producing textiles," said Tom . ".
He decided to invite his senior management team to buy the company.
It turned out to be a smart move, and the business has grown successfully since then.
The company currently employs 120 employees in Ireland and another 370 between three factories in China and Cambodia.
The company's turnover has also increased significantly.
Starting at 2,000 euros in 1983, the company will have sales of more than 30 euros in 2012.
Tom said he attributed the success to "having excellent staff and excellent managers who are all focused on meeting our customers . ".
"We have invested a lot of money in process and control systems and are constantly innovating.
Each part of the business is like a set of links in one chain, each of which depends on another link.
"The walls of Tom's office are decorated with countless Frame Awards.
It is easy to see his pride in the industry.
There are also many photos of Tom in his full riding suit.
He has his own horse team and likes to jump his horse, dunsloggi Fox.
In the past three years, he has been eligible for the Amateur Championship at RDS.
So what is the next step for the harness? "We are currently launching a new product called Hypocare, a spray that can quickly kill bacteria, viruses and fungal infections that can be used to clean, he explained.
The company is also developing a new business focused on a personalized product range and is currently seeking to raise funds through a new EII investment plan.
But for Tom, who did not lose his original missionary drive, it was not entirely business.
To give back, he recently set up a project in Cambodia to develop a third world home solar kit for people without electricity.
Recently, he built a school for the poor in Cambodia.
The story of the harness is an incredible story of growth in the context of challenges and adversity.
The story of Tom McGuinness is equally impressive.
If being a missionary is to do good and serve others, then Tom McGuinness should have won gold for both.
I have to be inspired by a man whose example shows us that business is not always making money but using it to change the status quo.