International business leader Chris Deans joins Portakabin (Ireland) as Divisional Managing Director.

Chris Deans has joined growing construction business Portakabin from Crane Worldwide Logistics where he was Director of Sales for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Respect, culture, communication – three words that have stayed with Chris Deans following his initial introduction to the Portakabin business. Headquartered in York, the company has a market leading presence in Ireland and the UK and has expanded across the Channel into France, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany.

With a work ethic forged in the competitive fires of professional football, at 16 Chris started with the youth reserves of Derby County Football Club, a FA Premier League side at the time.

“Leaving home, moving to England, I had big dreams of a high-flying Premier League career  before a repetitive injury caught up with me and I soon found himself back at home in Dublin with my parents. If anything, getting within touching distance of a career like that spurred me on to achieve more than the hand I was dealt,” says Chris.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Chris took on an entry level sales role with logistics behemoth UPS and started a long and illustrious love affair with the logistics industry.

“I know what it means to start at the bottom and work your way up, gaining knowledge, making networks, understanding an industry. Starting at the root of it means you understand how it operates on a completely different plane – logistics just got under my skin!”

After 10 years with UPS, a golden opportunity with Houston-based Crane Worldwide Logistics allowed Chris to test his legs as a senior leader, first as Managing Director for Ireland and then as Director of Sales for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“A key focus of my role was on empowering our people to build strong dynamic teams, both within the sales department and across all other business functions. I used those skills I’d honed in UPS to deliver real results. Crane had been at the coalface of the supply chain throughout the pandemic, aiding both the national emergency services and frontline workers in sourcing and delivering PPE and ventilators. It was an intense time.”

And as the father of a young daughter, the vast amount of travel and time away from home soon began to take its toll.

“I was looking for a role where I could put time and energy into some of my major passions, people management, commercial agility, emotional intelligence, leadership and followership. I wanted to challenge myself in a completely different industry as I’d become so comfortable in the world of global logistics. When the opportunity with Portakabin came up, I saw a huge chance to take a market leading brand and develop it to the next level. Being based in Donabate also meant I could spend more quality family time with my daughter. It was a win, win.”

Chris joined the Portakabin team mid-June and has been spending time acclimatising to the new pace and structure of construction.

“What blew me away about the team at Portakabin from day one, was the professionalism, the size and scale of the brand, the culture, the ethos, the values. Everyone I have met so far, both in the Irish and UK businesses, put their people first, over and above green and red dots, which is fantastic to see. And we deliver. We keep our promise, and our customers appreciate that standard of service. I believe in being an empathetic leader and putting my people first, results will follow if you have teams who are happy and supported in their roles.”

Chris has already identified the huge opportunity within the Irish market for the Portakabin team and with some of the best people in the sector is confident of what they have to offer.

“The complexity and detail of what goes into our buildings is unrivalled and unchallenged. I’m really looking forward to working with some of the emerging markets in the country right now; supporting growing grassroots sports with changing and training facilities, helping with the current housing crisis by supplying top quality site accommodation, and recognising the growing population and demand for school places with excellent educational facilities. We have the opportunity to get ahead of the market and stay ahead.”

Portakabin (Ireland) employs over 100 specialists and has a presence in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast.

Robert Snook , Managing Director for UK and Ireland Hire at Portakabin added: “Chris is joining an incredibly successful team in Ireland and will bring a determined attitude to success to the table. The breadth of experience he will provide can open up new opportunities and ways of thinking, something I know we’re excited to see.”

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