From redundancy to Business of the Year

By Maurice Garvey

REDUNDANCY was a difficult prospect that faced Andy Dowdall in 1985 – occurring as it did during a bleak economic decade in Ireland.

Andy responded to the loss of his foreman job in Roadstone Tyres, by installing a small work shed in the back garden of his Bohernabreena home, purchasing a three-metre oven, a small spray booth and established Tallaght Powder Coating (TPC).

Andy Dowdall 1 compressor

Andy Dowdall, founder of Tallaght Powder Coating

Today, the company is a leading trade powder coater in the country, painting all types of metals for industrial and commercial uses, interior/exterior fittings, and an array of creative work such as alloy wheels, motorcycles, sand-blasting and antique restorations.

Enlisting help from his family, including wife Margaret, his brother John Dowdall and cousin Joseph Keane, early work in the 1980s included entry and exit boxes over doors, electrical boxes and road signs.

With a few other part-time staff along the way, and help from his children Elaine, Michelle, Suzanne and Andrew junior, they started to produce more high-profile services like green globes outside Joel’s restaurant and signage letters for banks.

The family-run business survived belt-tightening during the recession and has flourished, today employing 12 people.

After twice moving location to larger premises in Ballymount, they now own a massive 9,000 sq ft site that houses three larger ovens and state-of-the-art powder-coating booths to cater for an expansion of services.

Throughout all this, Andy has refused to rebrand the company name at the behest of advisers to a more generic ‘South Dublin Powder Coating’ title, proud of its Tallaght roots and familiarity with clients.

“When he moved to Ballymount in 1992, there was not a chance he was changing the name,” said Jefferson Bibby, Production Manager Automotive Specialist TPC.

“At a bank seminar he was asked ‘why the name Tallaght’ and he said that is where he was born and bred. It has name recognition.”

“Over the years, he has employed 50/60 people, about 80 per cent of them from Tallaght. It has been great for family and friends.

“If they were struggling, they could work here as a stop gap during hard times. A fantastic opportunity to earn a few bob. My son Lucas (18) is working today on his birthday.”

Andy (72), now retired after handing over the reins to his two daughters Michelle, Suzanne and only son Andrew junior, still pops in from week to week to keep an eye on things.

“He is involved with all the trade shows we do up and down the country to promote the alloy wheel, motorcycle and bicycle business,” said Jefferson, who is married to Michelle.

According to Jefferson, Andy has always been open to new ideas, and willing to invest in new aspects of the business.

At the recent Tallaght Person of the Year Awards, Tallaght Powder Company was named Tallaght Business of the Year 2019.

“It was a fitting tribute to a husband and wife team that for years have strived to give their best, a Tallaght man born and bred, and a real inspiration to his family, friends and all that know him,” said Jefferson.

Andy and Margaret, former TPC directors are now retired, as is John Dowdall, while Joe Keane sadly passed away last year.

However, the family blood ties remain strong with Michelle, Suzanne and Andrew junior all still involved as Managing Directors, along with all the grandchildren, including Lucas and Brandon.

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