Noel retires after 43 years in agri-industry

A memorably successful career within the agri industry that stretches back over a period of forty three years, has come to a glittering finale for Slieverue based and county Waterford born Noel Power who has been Glanbia’s deputy laboratory manager in Dungarvan since 2005.

A memorably successful career within the agri industry that stretches back over a period of forty three years, has come to a glittering finale for Slieverue based and county Waterford born Noel Power who has been Glanbia’s deputy laboratory manager in Dungarvan since 2005.

A success story that has been laden with achievement after outstanding achievement, began with Noel’s appointment as manager of Loughcullen Creamery in South Kilkenny in 1969, and it ended with a recent retirement function in his honour at Lawlors Hotel, Dungarvan.

A native of Ballylemon, Cappagh, in West Waterford, Noel’s exemplary career was marked by his graduation in Dairy Science from University College Cork in 1968. and in that same year he became a member of the then Waterford Co-Operative Society in Dungarvan.

Less than a year later came his appointment as manager of Loughcullen in South Kilkenny that marked the first point of itinerary on his road to eventual spectacular success. He took up residence at nearby Ballinlaw where he remains to this day.

In his key role as creamery manager he guided the Slieverue establishment through both smooth and rocky waters, and the inspirational leadership provided by him ensured that in the end it became one of the most successful creameries of its size in whole the country.

His appointment as Dairy Manager in Glenmore in 1973 followed, and six years later the then Waterford Co-Operative Society became Waterford Foods Ltd. before its eventual amalgamation with Avonmore Foods resulting in the dairy giant and industry leader that is Glanbia today.

During his first year in Glenmore he initiated the Bulk Milk Tank scheme for the area, and in fact that same year the Lougcullen branch became the first creamery in Ireland to go 100% bulk. In the ensuing dozen or so years all the farmers in the Glenmore, Slieverue, and Ida areas were connected to the milk bulk tanks.

In 1988 Glenmore creamery ceased taking in milk and all milk from the region began going directly from the farm to the factory. It was a monumental change epecially for the creamery drivers, but so typical of the cool and confident Noel Power he successfully smoothed out all of the problems and as a consequence the major change went pretty much according to plan.

Nine years later, 1997, came the major amalgamation of Waterford Foods and Avonmore Foods and in an instant a new giant of the agri industry was born. That same year, and in undoubted recognition of his key role in advising members of the farming community in bringing that amalgamation to fruition Noel was made the deserved recipient of the Waterford Chamber Of Commerce Customer Care Award for his invaluable part in guiding farmers on the pros and cons of the proposed amalgamation.

It was in many ways the ultimate accolade to a man who by now had become such an integral part of the whole agricultural scene in the adjoining areas of South Kilkenny and county Waterford.

In 2005 there was still further recognition within the company of his exceptional skills, organisational and otherwise, with his appointment as deputy laboratory manager of in Dungarvan. Initially that appointment was on a part time basis allowing him to spend some of his time in his own “heartland’’ Glenmore area, but almost inevitably his Dungarvan posting was made a fulltime one to properly facilitate his immense skills

in that particular key field of the industry.

Throughout all of his forty three years Noel has proven himself to be not just a hugely popular member of staff but also one of the most dedicated employees the company has ever had. Indeed in many ways he has been a wonderful ambassador for the company.

Speaking at the retirement function in his honour where he was presented with a statuette depicting two players and a sliothar by fellow employee Billy O‘Halloran, Glanbia management member Michael O’Neill said that words alone could never pay adequate tribute to the contribution that Noel has made to the company over all his years of direct involvment in it.

“He was a class act in the truest sense, and he will be very greatly missed by fellow workers and management alike’’, said Mr. O’Neill.

His wife of just three months, the former Anne Butler of Graiguenamanagh, also attended the function and was made a presentation of a bouquet of flowers by staff member Aoife Landers.

And how does the man himself view his retirement? “To be honest I have mixed feelings about it’’, said Noel. “I will miss the work and most especially the many fine people that I worked with’’.

“To say that I have enjoyed my time, despite the many challenges, would be an understatement, and it has been a pleasure to work with all of the people that I have had the pleasure of working with’’.

However it will not be a “sit at home’’ retirement for Noel and his wife who are planning a trip to sunny Tenerife next month, to Italy in August, and to Turkey in due course.

Todate in fact Noel is among the most travelled people you will ever meet, and at the invitation of the the Glenmore/Ida advisory committee e has over the years been to such countries France, Hungary, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Canada, along with Scotland and Wales.

His involvment of course as chairman of Waterford Athletics Ireland---a position he has held for the last thirteen years---will continue to occupy much of his time, as will his love of horse racing and of course the GAA games.

If ever a retirement has been well and honourably earned it is that of Noel Power, and our hope is that in the affable company of his wife Anne he, and they, will now enjoy very many happy years in the fullness of their health.