I was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1956 as Colm ó Tuathaláin (but that's another story). Growing up with three brothers and one sister, I learnt the value of teamwork (and self confidence) at an early age.
After a very normal school education, I studied Architecture at the Dublin Institute of Technology. I was awarded the Diploma in Architecture (Dip Arch) from DIT and the Bachelor in Architectural Science (B Arch Sc) from Dublin University (Trinity College) in 1981.
My interests in college centred more around management than creative design, so much so that my first attempts at computer programming involved the development of a CPM (critical path method) application, developed on a Digital Equipment PDP-11. (That story used to impress people, but it's now so long ago, that no one knows was a PDP-11 was, nor understands the significance of feeding paper tape into a "PC" the size of a room and waiting overnight for a result!)
For my design thesis, I was careful to choose analysis over design as my specialisation. 'An integrated Pulp and Paper Mill - a study of large scale industrial development in a rural context' examined the feasability of the project from financial, forest management and environmental viewpoints. The processing sequences dictated the internal layout and the suggestion of a mentor to cloth the whole thing in a tent structure nicely resolved any difficulties with the aesthetic aspects.
Through the first encounter with my (German) wife in 1980, I quickly learnt to appreciate the value of foreign languages as pre-requisites for all sorts of interesting activities! For instance, we married in 1983 and by 1986 our two childern had been born. We've been living in Kiel in the north of Germany since 1985 and I've since spent most of my life working the so-called DACH region - Germany (D), Austria (A) and Switzerland (CH).
Apart from the work stuff - which is documented elsewhere in this section - I have been involved in professional bodies. I was an ARIAI (Associate Member of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland) from 1983 - 1988 and a Founder Member of ICADA - The Irish Computer Aided Design Association.
I've also published a few articles (although that's so long ago it's hardly worth mentioning) as well as co-authoring the definite handbook on project management issues relating to the introduction of the new German Postal Codes in 1993.
Hobbies are not a topic about which I have much to say. I enjoy other people's company and an exchange of ideas over a beer or two. I've also been known to sing Irish songs - but there was usually beer involved there too! I read a fair bit, but mostly business related stuff - which my wife tells me doesn't count as a hobby!
Since April 2005, I'm again a dog owner, so that gives me plenty of excuses to abandon my desk several times a day!