Chris McAlinden – Group Operations Director

Chris McAlinden – Group Operations Director

How long have you been with Dale Farm?  Tell us about your journey.

I’ll be with Dale Farm 11 years next month. I was originally the Cheese Factory Manager at our Dunman Site, reporting into the site manager, who at that time oversaw both Dunman and Dromona; he was basically the Operations Manager for Northern Ireland.

Once they retired, myself and a colleague took over the management of the whole site for 6 months until I officially applied for the Site Managers role. I was Site Manager at Dunman for 5 years before I became our Operations Director.

What did you do before Dale Farm?

I studied Chemical Engineering at Queen’s University Belfast, graduating in 2002 and then moved into a Graduates Role at Moy Park. During my Grad scheme, the site’s production manager retired so I took a chance and was successful with that role just 1 year into my graduate scheme.

As an Operations Director, what exactly does your role entail?

I’m responsible for overseeing all manufacturing and production at Dale Farm, all our group projects and capital spend, and all group compliance. I also have responsibility for Quality & Technical and Innovation across the group.

What do you enjoy the most?

First and foremost, the people – for me, that’s a big one. That’s why you stay where you are. When I first became the Site Manager at Dunman it was a lot of pressure; I had to work hard to improve the site and the people, but I got all the support I needed from the management team and those on site. Beyond that, I enjoy the pace and variation of my role, no one day is ever the same.

What has made you so successful in your career?

Luck – being in the right place at the right time! But I have to admit, a lot of hard work as well.

What piece of advice would you give to young people starting off their careers?

Don’t turn down any opportunity and never say no – you want people to know you’re willing to get involved with anything. You need to work hard, listen to those around you and just get on with people!