In Profile with Donall O’Connor of

Welcome to March’s edition of our special monthly feature which gives you the opportunity to ‘meet’ an industry figure and, hopefully, to discover another side to them beyond the well-known facts.

An industry stalwart who knows everything about online fuel marketing

This month we chat with Donall O’Connor the managing director of Ltd


Give your career history in 25 words or fewer

My accountancy career after uni was very monotonous, so I joined the family fuel distribution business, Connors Fuels (a Jet distributor), which we pushed on well before selling to Maxol Group. Established -on-line fuel marketing – in 2006. After 40+ years in the fuel industry, still enjoying life at age 60 but also looking forward to retirement.

Connors Fuels and Jet Sponsored Belfast City Marathon with Harold Stafford and Rod Prowse of Conoco

Describe yourself in 3 words

Open. Dynamic. Honest.

What were your childhood / early ambitions?

To be a great Hurler and play for my home County Antrim.

Describe your dream job (if you weren’t doing this?)

A combination of pro-cyclist & ski racer would do nicely! (You did say “dream”).

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?

My father always encouraged me by saying “aim for the sky and you’ll hit the ceiling”. But, equally, in later years he had to temper me in relation to debt collection by saying “when you have your hand in the dog’s mouth, be careful what you do next”. Wise counsel!

Share your top tips for business success

  • Be positive
  • Work in a business or industry that you enjoy, as life is too short.
  • Create a great team of people who are innovative, focused and hard working.
  • Set targets and treat people as you would like to be treated yourself.
  • Do not over-promise and under-deliver.
  • Be firm but fair in your dealings.
  • In negotiations, always leave something on the table for the other party.

What’s your most recent business achievement of note?

I have really enjoyed successfully developing the business model which is unique and “best in class” in terms of the UK home heating oil market.

Tell us your greatest fear

Being trapped underground – I am claustrophobic – potholing is definitely not on my bucket list!

Which is most important – ambition or talent?

Ambition – it comes from within – there is always a great pool of talented people for hire but with ambition comes the drive.

What’s the best thing about your job? has great people and a happy work environment- that’s the best thing. We operate a small team of superb multi- taskers with a flat management structure, and everyone is committed, motivated and flexible – so to use an Irish term: “every day the craic is good”.

Which is the quality that you most admire?

Positive attitude.

What are you most likely to say?

Okay – let’s get it done.

What are you least likely to say?

Anything demotivational.

In Tignes with son Oran

Describe your perfect day

Surfing down La Grande Motte in Tignes on a snowboard in a foot of fresh powder snow on a bluebird ski day with my family or friends.

Do you have a favourite sports team?

County Kerry Gaelic Footballers (stunning amateur sportsmen with a professional approach).

What’s the biggest challenge of our time?

Quickly finding a mega solution soon to slow down / reverse the many serious impacts of climate change – it is heart-breaking and there is no Planet B.

Cheese or chocolate?

Hot chocolate with cream and a shot of rum please!

Share your greatest personal achievement

Will always be my family – a beautiful wife and 6 great children.

What’s your pet hate or biggest irritant?

Laziness – I just don’t like it.

If you were on ‘Mastermind’ what would your specialist subject be?

What else but “On-line fuel marketing”? – with 15 years’ experience, I could win easily!

If you were elected to government what would be the first law you’d press for?

A ban on poverty – there is no excuse for it in today’s world.

If your 20-year-old self saw you now what would they think?

Take it easy, life only begins at 60!

What is number 1 on your bucket list?

Walk the Camino with my wife (in nice weather!)

What 3 things would you take to a desert island?

Bike, turbo trainer and my old friend, Arlo the dog!

Tell us something about you that people would be very surprised by

I’m a very dangerous person to let loose in a garden with a hedge trimmer!

Who would you most like to ask these questions of?

An old industry friend in P66 (Conoco/Jet in my time) – Paul Carey!