DOLMEN PRECISION ENGINEERING began as a two-person company in 2010 in Benekerry with Seamus Lancaster and one employee. Seamus was a toolmaker with a business degree.  Today there are eighteen people working at the company between engineers, toolmakers and administrative staff. They have moved to the Pollerton Industrial Estate in Carlow and continue to expand. Four of the staff live in Carlow town, with the remainder still living in nearby rural villages. These are highly skilled well paid jobs.

DPF Engineering employed six people by 2013 and were firmly grounded in the Medical Technology field. Eleven of the biggest thirteen Med Tech companies in the world are in Ireland. But Seamus felt that there was limited room for further growth in that area.

According to Seamus Lancaster “It was the LEADER programme and Carlow County Development Partnership CLG that made the difference. We were looking for high growth opportunities and all the indications are that aviation will double by 2030. We saw a big opportunity for growth.”

To get work in this new sector they needed equipment that they could not fund out of profits. DFP Engineering were a small company but with big ambitions.

“We needed to buy a Sliding Head Lathe and that would cost €120,000. We believed that with it we could break into the aerospace industry. This was four years ago. We met with the LEADER team at Carlow County Development Partnership Ltd and explained our plans. The process was not too difficult as we had all our ducks in a row. We had our business plan, our forecasts, and all our finances and paperwork in order, but that is par for the course. And we always aim to exceed our plans.”

Their plan was approved by County Carlow Development Partnership and the changes in DPF Engineering have exceeded all expectations. Seamus has been proactive in letting other companies see the potential of the aerospace industry and they are getting the message. He is very happy with the growth of the business.

“We are really getting some traction now. Bombardier Aerospace make aircraft wings in Belfast. We have gone from a standing start of no business with them to today when they are our biggest customer and there is no doubt that the grant aid and support under the LEADER programme enabled that. They gave us a serious boost and we have been able to break into aerospace. We are now 50% Med Tech and 50% Aerospace with eighteen local employees. ”

Seamus advises SME’s who want to grow, export and create employment not to be afraid to contact Government bodies. They are there to help.