High life in Silicon Valley

By Maurice Garvey

SILICON Valley executive Glen Lally, fondly remembers his early role as an Echo paper seller whilst a teenager in the 1990s.

These days, Glen (38) is living the high life in the States, enjoying a successful tech career in California and a passion for flying planes.

Frank OConnor

Frank O'Connor standing beside his plane

The Clondalkin native, a Global Vice President with software multinational SAP, was relocated to the USA in 2010 by his then employer Ericsson, to lead the training function for their cellular network business.

Glen first started to fly in Weston Airport in Lucan when he was 21, and got back in the cockpit last year.

He joined an owner-operated club Flying Particles in Livermore, CA, whose members share 12 planes, receiving his pilot license in July.

On a recent flying trip to Lake Tahoe with another member Frank O’Connor, the pair discovered not only were they both from Dublin, but they grew up in the exact same estate – Cherrywood in Clondalkin.

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Glen Lally

“I met Frank who joined the flying club and we got chatting about our shared passion for aviation and being Irish,” said Glen.

“We decided to fly together from Silicon Valley to Lake Tahoe in a four-seater Cessna 182. During the flight we started talking about where we are from, and we both realised we lived just a block away from each other.

"I lived in Cherrywood Crescent and he lived across the road in Cherrywood Park. Frank and my older sister (Lisa) were in a musical together as teenagers. Small world!

“We are both members and shareholders of the flying club. Frank quit his corporate job to become a commercial pilot, so he is training towards those licenses.”

The flight took one hour 10 minutes, as opposed to three hours 30 minutes driving, and they had to climb to over 13,000 ft to get safely over the mountains and land in Lake Tahoe.

He continued: “The plane is non-pressurized and at that altitude the air is thin, so you can't fly for too long without oxygen. The airport elevation is 6,268ft above sea level. Each side of the runway is very high terrain, so the flight path is tricky if you need to do a turn.”

Glen became a US citizen (dual citizenship) in 2017, but keeps up to date with all the news in the oul sod.

“I still go back to Clondalkin every year, and am very proud of my upbringing. I actually sold the Clondalkin Echo door-to-door as a teenager in the 90s, and I still read the Clondalkin Echo online.

“My parents still live in Cherrywood and my sister lives in Lindisfarne, Clondalkin. I believe Frank's Mom moved to Newcastle.”

Glen lives in Pleasanton, approximately 45 minutes drive east of San Francisco, and although he has a busy career in a number of roles, each week he takes to the skies to enjoy the wonderful sights of the west coast.

 “Every week I fly somewhere new. We have hundreds of small airports, runways, grass strips within one hour of flying. Some of my favorite places are having breakfast in Half Moon Bay (famous surfing spot), lunch in Napa Valley (famous wine region) and flying out to Yosemite National Park which is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

"Next week we plan to fly to Santa Barbara for a day trip.”

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