50 Years Of Excellence at Wesco Electrical Ltd.

Monday 30th November -0001

By Electrical Magazine

50 years of excellence at Wesco

Wesco Electrical attributes its success to its quality service, large range of stock and technical expertise. The majority of its experienced staff have over 20 years’ service with the company and this deep industry knowledge is a key factor in the business’s success. The company is solely owned by Jimmy and Sheila Owens. Commenting on the 50th anniversary milestone, Jimmy enthused: “50 years is a long time to be in business but really it seems like only a year ago since Wesco Electrical Ltd, or as it was known then, Wholesale Electrical Supply Co. opened its doors in the Fair Green, Drogheda.  “Throughout those 50 years there have been many ups and downs but without the support of our staff, customers and suppliers it would not have been possible to survive each of those challenges. I would like to thank all of them, past and present, for their support and loyalty and wish our current ones many happy and successful years of trading into the future.”  Jimmy continued: “Our motto is ‘Take a genuine interest in our customers and their needs’. We have approximately 15,000 active stock lines, and if we still have not got what the customer requires, that’s no problem, if it’s available, we will get it.”

General Manager, Niall Curran added: “Wesco is a very people-centric company, and our focus has always been on the needs of both staff and customers. Having very experienced colleagues with many years of experience in electrical wholesale across different areas enables us to offer our clients a level of service above and beyond many of our competitors.”  Managing Director Ann Owens said: “We are absolutely delighted to reach this milestone in business, and we couldn’t have done it without the great support from customers, staff and suppliers.”


Family pride is Wesco’s bread and butter. The company was established in 1972 by Jimmy Owens and the late Des Healy, in response to a need for a local electrical wholesale distributor to supply electrical contractors and industry in the area. The business operated from a small premises at the Fair Green, Drogheda trading as Wholesale Electrical Supply Company (Ireland) Ltd before relocating to the current location at Donore Road, Drogheda in 1976 which incorporates the company headquarters. The name was later changed to Wesco Electrical Ltd.

Wesco Electrical is solely owned by Jimmy and Sheila Owens. They are proud of the fact that it is a wholly Irish owned Independent Company. In 1973 its first location outside of Drogheda was at Academy Street in Navan, Co. Meath before establishing the first lighting showroom “The Light House” at that location. 1985 saw both Wesco and The Light House move to Cannon Row in Navan before eventually outgrowing this premises and moving to the current location in Mullaghbouy Industrial Estate in 2008.

In 1983 Wesco opened its third branch at Cutlery Road, Newbridge, Co. Kildare before moving to a larger premises in March 2002. And in 1995 saw Wesco open its fourth branch at Friary Road in the centre of Naas town.

Then, in 1990, The Light House, a lighting showroom and sales outlet for trade and retail lighting was opened at the Drogheda premises. In 1999 both WESCO Electrical and The Light House premises were extended and are now twice their original size.

Wesco Electrical was a founding member of Fegime Ireland in 2002, the largest independent group of electrical wholesalers in Ireland.

In May 2002, Jimmy and Sheila appointed Matt Curran as Managing Director, Jean Callaghan as Financial Director, David Owens as Sales Director and, later, Ann Owens was appointed as a director in May 2006.



Managing Director - Ann Owens

Ann joined the company after completing her degree in HR and has worked in various roles throughout the business before being appointed Managing Director in 2021. Ann still takes a very hands-on approach with The Light House side of the business.

Sales Director - David Owens

David has been in the business for just over 30 years and like many in a family business started at the bottom and has grown up with the company over the years through various roles before becoming Sales Director.

General Manager - Niall Curran

Niall has Wesco in his blood having worked summers and weekends from his early teenage years starting in the stores and progressing to sales and purchasing during his time with Wesco. Niall worked for Intel after completing his engineering degree before joining Fegime Ireland in 2007 to run their operations. Niall spent 12 years working for Fegime in the electrical wholesale market before joining Wesco in 2019 after completing his Masters in UCD Michael Smurfit business school. Niall brings a lot of domestic and international electrical wholesale experience to Wesco.

Project Sales Manager - Noel Lawler

Noel Lawler has been in the electrical wholesale business since 1991 before joining Wesco Electrical in 2019. Noel has a wealth of experience in the industry and is responsible for project sales with many of the larger customers as well as mentoring the next generation of salesmen. Noel said: “When I started with Wesco, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I found was much more than I expected. Wesco is a large independent distribution business with comprehensive stocks and experienced staff. The business is backed up with a solid financial base and large customer spread. It also has a large online platform and is continuing to invest in e-commerce and marketing.

“I was delighted to open up new business opportunities in both the Supply and Customer side of the business and I’m very appreciative of the welcome, help and knowledge the Management and Staff have given to me since I joined. It is a pleasure to work there, and I hope to continue working there for many years to come.” “Wesco is a large independent distribution business with comprehensive stocks and experienced staff.”

Financial Manager - Robert Callaghan

Robert joined Wesco in late 2019 to manage the financial side of the business. Robert also worked in Wesco during his teenage years before working for AIB and State Street upon completing his university degree.


Catering for everyone.
One of the key strengths of Wesco is the range of product supplied from quality manufacturers and the volume of stock held across the branches. Sales Director David Owens explained: “Wesco aims to cater for everyone and as a result we stock many different brands across product categories. In Lighting, for example, we would be stockists of Robus, Ansell, Thorn, Bell, SGD, Philips, Prelux and Opple Lighting which gives our customers great choice and a solution for every job they undertake whether it is a retrofit upgrade or new installation.

Wesco’s high inventory is a key contributor to the service levels its customers have come to know and appreciate. Wesco offer a same day or next day delivery nationwide through their own fleet of delivery vehicles along with their logistic partners. Noel Lawler, Project Sales Manager, pointed out that the business success is achieved through great teamwork: “We are servicing customers daily all over Ireland despite being based in the east of the country. Having product available when it is needed allows us to get it to site very quickly helping to keep our customer’s projects moving and avoiding downtime”.

Wesco have a very diverse customer base which is advantageous when it comes to service delivery. General Manager Niall Curran explained: “Our customers range from one-man electrical contractors through to large organisations across domestic, commercial, industrial, pharmaceutical, security and data centres. As a result of this we have both great knowledge across various sectors and the products for each in stock which has helped us attract a lot of new customers in recent years.”


Products and services

Across the branch network Wesco have a great mix of very experienced trade counter staff and a new generation of employees coming through the ranks and learning. Added to this each of the 12 inside sales team members all have from 15 to 30 years’ experience in the electrical industry.  The Drogheda branch is the head office and distribution centre for the branch network. Very large stocks of cable, containment, lighting, wiring accessories, switchgear and security products are managed by a dedicated warehouse crew led by Enda McKenna to ensure that both customers and the branches have their orders fulfilled efficiently.

Wesco are stockists of the following ranges:

• Lighting: Robus, Ansell Lighting, Thorn, Philips, Opple Lighting, SGD, Bell Lighting, Ovia and many more.
• Data, Fire & Security: Draka UC, HKC, EI Electonics, ESP, Ventilux
• Wiring Devices: MK, Hager, Schneider, Deta, Gewiss, Garo, ABB
• Switchgear: ABB, Schneider, Hager, Eaton,
• HVAC: ATC Electrical, Rointe, Dimpco, Xpelair, Vortice

Wesco also stock a large holding of domestic, commercial, industrial and specialist application cables.

For many years Larry Mulvany was the face of Wesco to many suppliers as the purchasing manager and with over 40 years’ service across sales and purchasing Larry played a big part in the success of Wesco through the years. Today, Niamh Farrell is looking after the purchasing and explained how recent years have made procurement more challenging than ever: “Since the start of the pandemic purchasing has been a challenge through supply chain issues, hyper-inflation on steel and copper pushing prices up and a general demand on product that was unforeseen. We manage our purchasing quite well and always try and stay ahead where possible and have increased our stock levels considerable in the last two years to help meet the needs of our customers so that we have the product when they need it.”


Global growth
There have been many employees and customers who have helped Wesco grow over the years and without the support from their loyal customer base this would not be possible. 50 years on and Wesco now service many large customers across Ireland and abroad. In recent years Wesco has supplied customers working on projects in the United States, Australia, UK, France, Holland, Germany and The Nordics.

Over the past 50 years many great customers, suppliers and staff have retired or moved on and it would be impossible for Wesco to be the business it is today without these people. Recently retired Managing Director, Matt Curran, joined the company from school in 1973. Matt worked his way up from the stores to trade counter, on to purchasing before becoming the General Manager. Matt oversaw many changes in Wesco including the move to digitalize the business in the late 1990s when Wesco went live using a computer system for the first time. Matt was promoted to Managing Director in 2002 and navigated the company through the highs and lows of the early and late 2000s alongside Financial Director Jean Callaghan.

“Many staff have helped shape the business over the years and this continues to this day with the next generation of dynamic managers coming through the ranks.”


Drogheda Branch
The Drogheda branch currently has 27 staff based here servicing this location along with dedicated accounts, administration, finance, marketing and sales support for the entire business. Having moved to the current location just two minutes from junction eight and nine on the M1 in 1976 the head office has undergone plenty of changes over the years including doubling the size of the building in the 1990’s. The proximity to Dublin allows the team in Drogheda to easily service many customers in Dublin on a daily basis.

Branch manager Keith Lynch joined Wesco in 1999 and has gained a wealth of experience over the years. Keith began on the trade counter before moving into the internal sales office and key account management. Keith was promoted to branch manager in 2021 and commented: “We have a great team here in Drogheda that all pull together and work as one unit. We have multiple vans and our lorry on the road daily delivering products to our customers wherever they are located.”


Branch Manager, Keith Lynch spoke of how proud he is of the fact that Wesco is celebrating its 50th year: “It’s a great achievement to reach 50 years as a family business and I know we are in a great place moving into the next 50. I’m proud that most of our staff are local and that Wesco helps support the locality as a result.” Supported in the sales office by Paul Sheridan, Leighton Irwin and Noel Lawler there is over 90 years of electrical wholesaling experience in one office which is a great resource for their customer base. Karl Mulroy has been with Wesco since 1995 and with Fergus, Ken and Ruairi alongside at the trade counter there is a great relationship with customers who are greeted with a smile to go with the knowledge and experience. Behind the scenes a dedicated group of people help keep Wesco functioning in the accounts and administration departments.

The Light House showroom is located upstairs in Drogheda where Karen and Jane are on hand to offer expert advice and guidance to customers from all over the north east and beyond. A large selection of decorative lighting, costal grade exterior lighting, garden and wall lights along with artwork, gifts and mirrors are on display to both trade customers and the general public.

“The Wesco way has always been to deliver a superior service to our customers and that is something that we will continue to do moving forward” Branch Manager Keith Lynch.

Navan Branch

Wesco Navan is conveniently located to service Meath, Dublin, Cavan and the surrounding areas and was originally opened at Academy Street, Navan in 1973. It then moved to Cannon Row and subsequently to the current location in Mullaghbuoy just outside Navan town centre which is two minutes from the M3 motorway. Wesco Navan was originally managed by Phil Hegarty for many years and the branch has grown in recent times with 15 staff members.

Managers Derek Meehan and Colm McDermott have over 50 years of service between them. Coupled with Damien Carolan’s 20 years this branch has a very experienced and knowledgeable team supporting their customers.

Derek Meehan commented: “I joined Wesco 26 years ago and have worked in the branch from the ground up. I learned an incredible amount from my previous manager Phil Hegarty throughout the years.

“Over those years I have seen a lot of change in the electrical trade, but our focus has remained constant. We have an excellent relationship with our customers and as the products and requirements change, we always keep our eye on the ball and move with the times”,

Colm McDermott added: “I’ve seen a lot over the years, and I have worked in Wesco from the highs of the Celtic Tiger era to the lows of the recession and more recently the pandemic. We have great customers here and I’d like to think they would say the same about myself and the team here.

“Everyone here has a genuine desire to service the needs of our customers and go that extra mile when necessary. We take great pride in our work and our ability to advise customers and source products and solutions or any project.”

Navan is also home to the Light House, one of Ireland’s premier lighting showrooms. Our experienced staff Kathleen, Liz, Ruth and Anita have a fantastic selection of interior, exterior and garden lighting, art, homewares and gifts. The Light House is predominantly retail orientated but acts as a great value-added service for Wesco customers and their clients who can browse the showrooms to get advice and ideas for any project.


Naas Branch

The Naas branch was opened in 1995 as a response to a growing customer base from the Naas area being serviced by the Newbridge branch. David Owens was the branch manager in the early days before moving into his current role of Sales director. Nowadays Eamonn Wyse, who has been with Wesco since 2007 runs the branch alongside Robert McLaughlin on the trade counter.

Commenting on his time with Wesco in the Naas branch, Eamonn Wyse said: “With nearly 20 years of experience working for Wesco in Naas, I’d like to think that we have built up a very good rapport not only with the regular Tradesmen, but also the walk-in customers. From helping Contractors to get their supplies, to making sure anyone stuck for a particular lamp or type of cable, we’re always ready to help as best we can.

It’s a pleasure to serve the people in Kildare and to know we’re providing the best possible service we can. Here’s to the next 50 years!”

The Naas branch is conveniently located in the centre of Naas town and whilst it is the smallest of the Wesco branches it has the support and backup of the Newbridge branch just a few minutes down the road

Newbridge Branch
Originally opened in 1983 before moving to a larger premises in 2002 Wesco Electrical in Newbridge services a large customer base across domestic, commercial and industrial customers. Willie Dunne joined Wesco in 2001 working in the Newbridge store and has worked his way up through the ranks to become branch manager.

Willie said: “After 21 years employed in our Newbridge branch, I’m so proud to be still involved in the day to day running of a wholly Irish owned company. Trading conditions have changed dramatically in my years, but Wesco Electrical’s service and competitiveness is still thriving and improving in the present day. We have navigated very difficult times in recent years and that could not have been done without the support from everyone in the branch.”

The Newbridge branch services customers all over Kildare, Dublin and surrounding counties on a daily basis with familiar faces Fergus Pearson and John Brecknell known to many within the trade and the local community. There is a very good blend of experience and youth in this branch as Willie helps to train the next generation of electrical trade counter staff to continue exceeding the expectations of customers both new and old.

Bright future ahead

The company has ambitious plans going forward to build on the success and growth of the past 50 years. A clear business strategy and growth of e-commerce and online business will play a crucial part in the continued success and growth of the business. Niall explained: “We have a very clear business strategy moving forward built on the foundations that has made Wesco successful over the last 50 years. As a company we are constantly looking to improve and adapt to the market needs of our customers. We have taken steps in the background to ensure that the business is in a position to be flexible without compromising on our ethos of quality products and service.”

The growth of e-commerce and online business is an area where Wesco and The Light House have been looking to capitalise on in recent years. Sarah McArdle who works for Wesco in marketing explained: “We are very excited to be working on expanding our online presence to deliver our superior service and quality products to customers and businesses all around Ireland.

“It is important to us to keep up to date with the rapidly changing online world and my goal is working to ensure that Wesco is known not only locally but also online. The Wesco Instagram and Facebook are being used as an informational hub to attract new customers, you will find infographics, video content and real customer project pictures to illustrate the huge range of products we have in-store and online.”

Wesco Electrical and The Light House are currently transitioning through a changing of the guard phase which is being well managed. Managing Director Ann Owens commented: “As we celebrate 50 years in business, we’ve also had to negotiate a lot of change. One of our key strengths is our staff and their loyalty which has meant that we had several very key employees all retire within a few short years. Thankfully we have been able to plan around this and recruit talent to come in and work alongside so many of our existing long serving staff members”.

The most challenging period for any family-owned business is the transition period when the next generation takes over. Careful succession planning by the directors of Wesco ensured that when Managing Director Matt Curran and Financial Director Jean Callaghan were retiring their successors were hired and in place almost a year in advance to help smooth the transition when almost 100 years of experience is leaving.

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