Ireland’s diaspora is far flung, with Irish workers cropping up in businesses around the world. But what happens when they want to come home?
Eamonn Clarke, director of international treasury and MD of Ireland at PTC, left his home country for opportunities in the US. When he wanted to be back near his family and friends, PTC made it possible.
Where are you from?
Greystones, Co Wicklow.
When did you decide to emigrate and why?
I originally started as an accountant with a small software company based in Sandyford. After about four years, I was looking for a change and the company was looking to open a US operation. I was asked to go out for six months to set up. At the time, it was a great opportunity to try something new, but to also stay within a company where I enjoyed working.
Where did you emigrate to and for how long were you gone?
I moved to just outside Washington DC and was there for about five years, with some additional time in Ann Arbor, Michigan and then about a year in the UK.
What made you want to/decide to come back?
Initially, while in Washington, I was thinking about returning home as the economy was still thriving in Ireland. I was typically back over about twice a year to our Dublin, German and UK offices, so was quite aware there were still good opportunities back home, and I wanted to be nearer to my family.
How did your current role come about?
About a month before I was going to tell my manager about my decision, our company was acquired by Arbortext. Following meetings with Arbortext’s CFO, we agreed I would move to their head office in Ann Arbor in the short term, and ultimately to the UK to take up a European finance role.
Once in the UK, I would be based in Swindon, which is where my original company had its head office, so I knew plenty of people there and only had a 45-minute flight back to Dublin from Bristol.
About six months later, just as I was relocating to the UK, PTC acquired Arbortext. As my role in the UK was no longer required, PTC offered me a role as finance director for Ireland. After integration of the companies was completed following the acquisition, I relocated to Dublin to take up my new role.
What work do you do?
I have been back in Dublin for about 11 years now. Initially, I was responsible for finance/accounting in Ireland, as well as treasury for Europe.
Over the years, my role has changed and grown. Now, my main duties – in addition to finance director for Ireland – include international treasury and banking for all PTC entities outside of the USA, indirect taxes for Europe, and working as part of the global tax planning and treasury team within PTC.
In more recent years, as well as being on the board of directors in Ireland, I have been appointed managing director in Ireland with a view to building and leading our presence here.
What do you like most about your job?
The variety within my role and the people I work with. Although a lot of the people I work with are remote, we all pitch in and work as a team.
As a company, PTC has been great to work for. The drive and leadership – all the way from our CEO through to the rest of the executive team – is a great motivator.
There are also considerable efforts made to keep employees informed about the company and the technology we are delivering to customers.
How did PTC make it easier for you to move back?
Once I agreed to take up the role in Ireland, PTC’s HR team organised everything and got involved as much or little as I wanted. They were very accommodating on the timelines I wanted to work to in terms of a move date.
As I had somewhere to stay back home, it was really about moving my stuff over. PTC took care of all of that and arranged storage until I found somewhere permanent.
How did your time working abroad make you better suited for your job, if at all?
I think the time I spent in the USA has been a great benefit to my role. I understand the differences in my role as it relates to a company based in Europe or USA, or other regions I look after.
The accounting side has some differences, but it’s in treasury where this knowledge is particularly useful – it is very relevant for dealing with banks and local nuances, as well as informing me of the differences in indirect taxes, and the impacts they have on contracts and customers.
What is the best thing about being back in Ireland?
Being close to my family and the friends I grew up with, and just the culture in general.