Omagh Enterprise Client Loughtec – Looking to the Clouds

The leap from employee to running your own business doesn’t always herald success.

But for Cathal Green and Sean McDermott, who left the relative comfort of employee status at Foyle Foods behind them five years ago to cofound Loughtec Limited, the move has proved worthwhile.

After almost 27 years between spent working at Omagh meats, a a conversation in 2005 would pave the way for the IT specialists from Loughmacrory and Killyclogher to establish their own IT solutions business.

“We thought about it over 12 months, we had a few bits and pieces that we did out of hours at night and it just got to the stage where we either concentrated on our day jobs or we did that,” explained Sean.

“We had worked with a lot of enterprise type technologies, they cost a lot of money and we had spent a bit of time ourselves picking out cost effective alternatives and thought we could build our own business, implementing more cost effective technology elsewhere,” he added.

Affirming it was never his intention to start his own business, Sean revealed that as his life moved on, so did his perspectives on things. However he admitted his own attitude at the time was somewhat naive. “I just wanted to have a crack at trying to do it myself,” he said.

“There were things I suppose we never thought about, in terms of looking after accounts and finance. We had never dealt with PAYE. It used to be on the 21st of every month, hey presto, ‘x’ amount of pounds appeared in your account. Now we were responsible for making that happen ourselves.”

However in stepped Omagh Enterprise Company.“They helped us around things we never thought about,” said Sean. “Being in employment is almost like being in a crèche, things are taken care of. But running your own business, there are a lot of other worries.”


Taking a small office in the Omagh Enterprise Centre in Gortrush Industrial Estate in April 2006, by August of that year Loughtec took on their first employee. Over five years later the company now comprises a team of eight, offering IT services and solutions to businesses and government bodies all over Ireland.

Acting as an outside IT manager of sorts for companies, Loughtec provide general infrastructural IT support and consultancy, offering enterprise storage, virtualization and sever installs. Where firms have their own IT staff, Sean states the company are able to investigate new technologies. “We are also the only business on this island that have the quality of engineers able to sell and install a product called Ericom web connect/access now.”

The system allows employees to access their desktop no matter where they are in the world, on any device, which is becoming particularly relevant with many companies requiring access to windows from devices such as the iPad revealed the Loughmacrory man.

The business partners relationship with former employers has remained amicable and Foyle Foods have become a key customer for the company.

In fact Sean revealed one of the best pieces of advice he ever received came from the previous owner of Omagh Meats Andy Quinn. “He said to me, look give it your best shot and if it doesn’t work out, just start up and do something the next day. Fortunately we haven’t had to do that.”

With the implications of the global financial crisis hitting Irish businesses hard in 2008, Sean admitted himself and Cathal almost considered quitting that year.

“Our business has grown at a rate of 40 per-cent per year in terms of turnover since we started, so we just decided we were going to get stuck in. In 2008 we refocused and decided we’re about infrastructure and putting infrastructure in place for companies and that’s what we concentrated on.”


Explaining how the working relationship between himself and Cathal works, he said, “We have a very simple rule. Two yeses is a yes and one no is a no. “We both have skillsets that compliment each other and it works for us that when one of us are out of the business for a day, that there is still a business owner there, that works well,” he added.

Key to Loughtec’s success has been monitoring the developments in new technology.

While the company have offered private cloud deployments, allowing companies to access their computer stations from anywhere, Sean sees the future in public clouds, where the infrastructure is in effect taken off companies, accessing their servers via the Internet.

While it will dramatically cut costs for many businesses, Sean confirmed that relying on the Internet requires improved network infrastructure in the Omagh district.

“That’s the way the world is going, but until the communications in this part of the world are up to the standards we require, that won’t happen.

In ten years from now, I can see 60-70 per-cent of business infrastructure being in the clouds.” Reflecting on more than five and a half years in business, Sean stated, “It’s nice to create jobs for people, it’s nice to create a team. It takes time in our business to create a good reputation and we’re doing that.

 “It has been worth it, but if someone told me they were going to quit their job to start a business, I would say think hard and take lots of advice,” adding, “It’s about keeping everything in perspective and trying to be positive.”