Jason Doherty is a Programme Executive with Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Since joining SEAI in 2014, he has worked with the Energy Demand Management team, helping to deliver a range of supports to the public and private sector and more recently is working with the Development team focusing primarily on the EXEED Certified Programme and the implementation of SEAI’s ISO 50001 Energy management system standard. He is also a Mayo GAA Senior player.
You are a successful GAA player with Mayo and also an Engineer? How do you marry the two roles?
There are 3 or 4 engineers on the team and I’m lucky that I have an understanding employer. Being based in Dublin but playing with Mayo requires a lot of travel but as I’m an engineer it’s all about problem solving and coming up with solutions. It’s about managing my time mid-week; time management and task management become hugely important which are very suited to the Engineer’s skills.
Do you think you fit the stereotypical bill of an engineer?
I always thought of an engineer as wearing a high vis jacket, with the hard hat and boots on, out on site building roads and bridges. I’m 90% office based and majority of my work tasks is project management and people management so my perception of a career in engineering has definitely changed over the years and opened my eyes to the variety of options and pathways it can offer.
Why did you choose STEM subjects in secondary school?
I did French, Construction studies, Technical Drawing and Physics for the Leaving Certificate. I come from a rural background, my father has a farm and I grew up in an outdoors environment where I spent a lot of time carrying out jobs on the farm that often required practical solutions to a variety of problems or tasks. I always had a love of Maths, which probably started in national school when I used to get very competitive during the times tables exercises in front of my class. Finding practical solutions to problems always appealed. The career guidance coach pointed me towards Engineering, and I ended up doing Civil Engineering.
Has your opinion of what STEM is changed from when you were a teen?
I didn’t have that much exposure to it as a teenager but my opinion of it probably has changed. I wasn’t familiar with how they link together or how they can operate on their own so doing Maths doesn’t mean you will end up being a Maths lecturer; it applies to all sorts of jobs in finance and engineering.
What do you love about your job?
I get to solve problems that help people, businesses, communities and the environment which is very rewarding. I enjoy the analysis and communication of data and I have a passion for efficiency, not just energy efficiency but I also like to be efficient with my own time. We’re trying to make people and businesses more energy efficient, from driving clean energy to having a positive effect on climate change and a reduction in energy bills.
You are also helping people and the world, is that rewarding?
This is something I’ve become more aware of from a personal development side of things, in terms of my own passions. I love helping others, whether that be coaching kids or doing something with SFI to give younger people a better idea of what a certain career might entail. When I look back I wish I had had that. It’s also about helping to create a cleaner environment for future generations, including my kids.
Is there anything from the football pitch that you have taken into your career and vice versa?
I have taken the problem solving elements from the job into the pitch. To succeed and play at the highest level you have got to be able to constantly improve, to look in the mirror and review your own performance and take action. If you get any type of feedback from a GAA manager, you have to come up with a solution to address it. That’s no different to a manager at work handing you a problem or task to complete within a certain timeframe or to a certain quality.
The two definitely compliment each other. Teamwork and communication skills are massive- being able to deal with different personalities and the ability to deal with conflict and tackle your fears are all skills that apply equally in the office as they do on the pitch. You need to be able to manage your energy and organise your physical and mental state so that you can deal with pressure, realise your goals and ultimately perform to your optimum level.
Do you like being a role model?
I love it and being able to have a positive influence on kids is great. I love going out to my old local national school and delivering presentations on leadership, health and wellbeing, engineering and any other topics I feel might help with their development. It’s important to use my profile to help others as the younger generation in particular look up to you and really value the advice and actions of their role models which can often have a significant effect on their childhood and life decisions.