Tim Ireland (Chemical Engineering, 1984) 

Volunteer in the Spotlight: Tim Ireland

Alumnus and volunteer, Tim Ireland (Chemical Engineering, 1984), talked to us about his time at Exeter and why he volunteers. 

Find out what he has to say below:

Tell us about your career journey since graduation from the University of Exeter
After graduating from Exeter, I joined ICL as a graduate trainee and soon realised that my strengths lay in management and organisation. After a few roles in manufacturing, including running the factory that made the Kango hammer drill I ended up in the world of audio where I have been for the last twenty years, the last eleven or so as CEO. I am currently running an electric guitar amplifier business which sounds very rock and roll. Although there is an element of it that relies on the same principles for running any business: looking after staff, numbers and product, as well as showing passion and pride in what you do.

What are your best memories of your time at Exeter?
I have many happy memories of Exeter including hockey where I was Club Captain. The friends I made there are still friends today, and I am always amazed at the strength of the bonds formed in three years over thirty years ago. Other memories include the hills, especially "cardiac hill" which we sledged down on a tray and drove down in a mini, although perhaps we should not say too much about that. Any time I meet a fellow Exeter graduate there is always a sense of shared experiences whatever the vintage, it's a very special place.

What inspired you to volunteer your time to help the University of Exeter?
When we left in 1984 a group of us started a touring hockey side, and thereby Von Ireland's Circus was born. Over time this became a golfing society and in 2010 we found ourselves in Exeter the same weekend as a hockey event for recent alumni. For many of us this was our first trip back since the 1980s, and we would like to hope that we showed the younger cohorts that life doesn't end after thirty! From this trip, we set up the annual hockey alumni Christmas lunch attracting over 80 graduates from the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s, as well as the current Club Captain who is always made to feel welcome. I have also attended an End of Season Dinner and two BUCS finals where I have always been made to feel very welcome. This September we have our inaugural golf match between the hockey alumni and other alumni, I'm expecting it to be a lot of fun, but quite competitive!

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?
It's strange to think of this activity as volunteering my time because I enjoy it so much. I've always been the type of person prepared to put something back into life and it seemed perfectly natural to pick up the reins. It has also helped having good relations with the Alumni Office, willing volunteers from other generations, and of course, technology and social media makes communication so easy.

What advice would you give to other alumni interested in volunteering?
My advice to any alumni considering volunteering would be to choose something that you enjoy doing. That way it will never feel like a task but more of a pleasure. Use technology to your advantage and never underestimate the bonds you will have with Exeter graduates, however old they are.


Date: 9 July 2018

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