Jude Lagan, Managing Director, Breedon Cement
Jude has over 30 years’ experience in the construction materials industry. Following the acquisition of the Lagan Group in 2018, Lagan joined Breedon Group as Managing Director of Breedon Cement, responsible for its activities in the UK and Ireland.
The early part of his career was spent in southern England in the asphalt and specialist contracting division of Whitemountain, part of the Lagan Group, eventually becoming Managing Director. Jude returned to Ireland in 2000 to head up the in-house construction of Lagan Cement’s new €120 million greenfield cement plant 80 km west of Dublin. Following successful commissioning in 2002, Jude was Operational Director of the cement business, eventually becoming Managing Director of Lagan Cement Group in 2008. He is a member of the Institute of Quarrying and Vice Chairman of the Cement Manufacturers of Ireland.
Describe your job in a sentence.
Being a highly capital-intensive business, which runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the job encompasses a lot of responsibility, which is made enjoyable by having passionate and great teams working alongside me.
How did you start in the cement industry?
The Lagan family began cement imports when we struggled to obtain cement in Northern Ireland during a Blue Circle strike in the 1980s. During the 1990s, the world of cement imports was getting more difficult through industry consolidation. The decision was then made to build our own cement factory.
What is your proudest career achievement?
Getting the new greenfield Lagan Cement plant, a non-turnkey project, delivered on time and safely, without major incident, when other more experienced industry players, struggled with their new plant/operations in Great Britain and other European countries during the same time period.
In your view, what is the biggest challenge facing the cement industry?
There are many challenges. Obviously increased safety is our number one priority, alongside the drive for lower emissions, particularly CO2, and dealing with overcapacity in certain countries within Europe.
What strategies can the industry employ to solve this challenge?
I think the recent substantial rises in the CO2 price will stimulate and expedite innovation in this area. The European cement industry post-2020 will be an interesting phase with the latest CO2 directives and how that plays out with overcapacity.
What is your favourite food?
I grew up in a family of nine so whatever I got!
What are you listening to or reading at the moment?
A great book. The Mindset of Success by Jo Owen.
What is Breedon Cement celebrating this year?
We are celebrating the Lagan acquisition and the end to our journey as a lone cement producer/plant. Our philosophy of ‘being even better’ and pushing for continual improvement is high on the agenda.
Where is the most interesting place you have visited – and why?
Yosemite National park in the US with their giant Sequoia trees.
What is your favourite place – and why?
The Maldives: just pure bliss.
Tell us something we may not know about Breedon Cement?
Our Hope plant in Derbyshire is the largest cement plant in the UK.
Who do you most admire – and why?
My wife for putting up with me for 30 years!
If you could meet any historical figure, who would you meet – and why?
Oscar Wilde. He was an amazing talent and wit well before his time.
Do you have a final message for the industry?
It wouldn’t be for me to ‘transmit’ to the much older and wiser!
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/special-reports/31122018/five-minutes-with-jude-lagan/
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