Q&A with ESP’s Mike O’Connell

After over 20 years in Golf Operations, Mike O’Connell joined ESP Leisure in January 2017, just over a year from starting this new role we caught up with Mike to find out more about him, his relationship with CMAE and his role at ESP Leisure.

After over 20 years in Golf Operations, Mike O’Connell joined ESP Leisure in January 2017, just over a year from starting this new role we caught up with Mike to find out more about him, his relationship with CMAE and his role at ESP Leisure.

How’s it going at ESP? It’s going great, I joined at a very business time, but I am enjoying working with both existing customer projects and new installations.

What attracted you to join ESP? I have always had an great relationship with ESP, even from the early years, I used the software when I was at American Golf (Now Crown Golf) and BGL, I always kept in regular contact with the Sales Director, Lee Turner-Jefferies and over the years formed an excellent working relationship.

What made you decide to work towards achieving the CCM accreditation? I use to work with David Cook (who at the time had already received the accreditation) David was always a promoter of the CMAE and the benefits of being a member, So I started my educational journey with CMAE, this Journey took me to various locations including St Andrews for which I attended seminars, along with being lucky enough to attend the world conference in Orlando in 2011.

Was it hard work to achieve the accreditation? Yes, you really had to spend the time to study and revise, I was very fortunate to have Marc Newey from Roehampton Club as my mentor, Marc’s support was invaluable in helping me reach my goal, but it was well worth all the effort made in order to receive my accreditation. As both Marc at Roehampton and David at Moor Park are ESP customers, this has enabled me to maintain my working relationship.

Was it difficult moving over from operations into this role? One of the biggest things to get use to was having weekends and bank holidays off, in all my years in Operations these were staple days to work. I used to manage to get a Sunday off, but Bank Holidays and Saturdays were always the days you needed to be on duty, now I can clear down my desk on Friday, ready for the weekend which is starting now to feel more natural, which really improves my work home life balance.

Do you miss the buzz of Operations? Don’t get me wrong, running one of the busiest golf centres in the UK certainly gives you a certain buzz, but it was exhausting as it was nonstop 24 /7, always looking at the weather, my role now gives me the opportunity to organise projects and develop initiatives still with timelines, but not constantly looking out of the window to see if it’s raining.

Tell us about your role now? I am the Operations Director, so I have a team that complete the installation, training and testing of all software solutions, I also look after the administration and finance teams ensuring our operation runs smoothly. We have a talented team at ESP with really committed long serving staff members.

Away from ESP, What do you do to relax? When I am not acting as referee between by 10yr old son and 15yr old daughter, I spend my time riding my bike, not a road bike, not a mountain bike, but a BMX, its normal for people that don’t know me to say “that’s strange why is he riding a kid’s bike?” but when they see some of my YouTube videos, they quickly realise why. This passion takes me on many road trips on both sides of the pond and I can’t see myself stopping anytime soon.

What is ESP working on now? We are busy rolling out our latest version of our software v6. Elite v6 gives users the functionality and flexibility required to tailor the software around their own business needs.

Elite v6 offers a variety of enhancements. The new background display visually gives greater depth and navigation within the application which is quicker and even more intuitive. Greater management controls are available to give you more access and a variety of system enhancements making the software even more user friendly and efficient.

Improvements have also been made to our report generators and financial analysis on how you view and manage financial details, review information and statistics relating to your operation.
We have worked hard on colour schemes throughout the application enhancing the users journey across the application.

We will be working with our customers to assist them in meeting the GDPR requirements, Whilst the overall responsibility for GDPR compliance will sit with our customers, Development work has already commenced in making amendments to the Elite and Elite Live software.

In conjunction with GDPR, we have also developed our communication module ‘Elite Engage’ which will provide users a platform to communicate.

We see this as a major step forward and of great benefit to our customers.

It’s going to be a busy year at ESP, with lots happening over the coming months.

For Further information, contact ESP Leisure on 020 8251 5100 or visit their website www.e-s-p.com