Cork Profile: Luke Deasy, Managing Director, Copper Coast Renewables

When you were small, what did you want to be as a grown-up?

For a brief stint, I think I wanted to be an astronaut, but it didn’t last long. Very young I knew I wanted to be an electrician or engineer.

Tell us about your career progression to your role today:

Oh God, that goes a bit around the place. I came out of college in 2010, slim to little going on at the time at home, so I ended up starting with a company in Tipperary who quickly shipped me out to an oil and gas project in Kazakhstan. Out there it became evident very quickly that despite having a degree in engineering I had a lot to learn in construction. I think it was about two weeks over there that I went to the project manager and said: “I’m not the engineer you guys are expecting, so can I go out with the lads and learn?”. What I learnt in that short space of time has stood to me for the past 13 years. After Kazakhstan, I took a brief post in Mozambique on an open cast coal mine and decided the flying in and flying out lifestyle wasn’t for me. I came home in late 2011 and joined Kirby Group in the High Voltage Division in Dublin. I started out as a site engineer, working up to electrical engineer, design engineer and then I moved to the UK where I spent a number of years as a project manager helping set up the UK division.

Around 2016 I was starting to think about settling down at home and I transferred over to the estimation and business development side of the division for a year. I then took up a post in Dublin on data centres as a project manager for a year when I decided to leave the company to gain more experience across the construction industry. I spent a year at John Paul Construction looking after the Mechanical and Electrical Services Division in Munster before realising that wasn’t for me. I could see that renewable energies was going to play a major part in our future, so in 2020 I joined Enerpower as operations manager looking after the construction of their projects. Then, in March 2023 I started up my own renewable energy and construction company called Copper Coast Renewables. We have managed to secure some projects and awards and there is now five of us in the company and we are looking forward to seeing what the future brings.

What is the most enjoyable aspect of what you do?

Solving clients’ energy issues; we all want to reduce our bills or get to net-zero but very few people can do it on their own. I love calling out to clients and showing them their roadmaps to their goals and helping them achieve it. Every day you hear bad news in the media but most of my days are filled with good news stories and that makes it a lot easier to go to work.

What motivates you?

My family. I know it’s a typical thing to say but it’s true, building a nice life for my family and making sure to not let them down in the process is what motivates me.

What advice would you give your 15 year old self?

Get into renewables sooner, it’s a new industry here in Ireland but had I started five or six years ago instead of three, it would have made a big difference. Don’t give up sports, even if you can only do one day per month stick to it, your body will thank you and finally, take the risks, if they don’t work out at least you tried.

If you weren’t in the job you have, what would you be doing?

Electrician, definitely electrician, only for my parents talking me out of it that’s what I would be doing.

What is your greatest life or career achievement to-date?

In life, it’s got to be finding an amazing woman who will put up with me, thank you Caitriona, and welcoming my daughter into the world, everything changes, and life nearly becomes more real when you’re responsible for a helpless baby. In my career, it would be boot strapping Copper Coast Renewables to where it is today. I knew it was going to be hard but never imagined all the different hats you’ve to wear to try and build it up.

Who has had the biggest influence on you in your life?

I’ve been lucky to have a brilliant set of mentors over the years in my career but ultimately it has to be my parents. I can see the influence they have had on me more and more. The work ethic they instilled in me from a very young age has led to every single achievement I have had. That comes from both parents working full time, three kids, all the sports and activities and school. Never calling a plumber or electrician, always trying to sort it themselves so we could have that extra €10 for a school trip or whatever it was. Definitely has to be my parents.

What is the life dream now?

Build Copper Coast Renewables into one of the best renewable energy EPC companies in Ireland and be able to have that work/life balance with my family, we’re a bit away yet but we’ll get there.

How do you switch off?

You don’t really get a chance to switch off when you run your own company but any chance in or on the sea does it for me, a walk on the beach or a bit of fishing or even just a quick swim.

What is your favourite Cork memory?

Redz night club and I probably can’t say much more than that in public!

What is your favourite place in Cork?

Union Hall - the Irish Riviera, on a sunny day, nowhere beats it.

Do you have a favourite quote or motto?

“Some people want it to happen, some people wish it would happen, others make it happen” by Michael Jordan but if my father ever asks, it's “Proper planning and preparations prevents poor performance”, but with an additional P word stuck in there for all those in the know!

When are you at your happiest?

Knee deep in a technical problem where I can just block everything else out and focus on that one thing.

What might we be surprised to know about you?

I’ve got a second dan in taekwondo.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

Without going on too much of a plug for Copper Coast Renewables; we look after our partners from the first call to net-zero and beyond. We are a company of engineers with years of experience in renewables and we can delivery your company’s sustainability goals from start to finish.