Interview: Paschal McCloskey, Founder, President and CEO of McCloskey International

FocusOn – Global Insights. Interviews with the top executives of manufacturers and end-users of equipment for the Mining, Aggregates and Construction industries. In this edition, Roger Murrow speaks with Paschal McCloskey, Founder, President and CEO of McCloskey International.

From relatively humble origins McCloskey International is now considered to be one of the most innovative and dynamic manufacturers of mobile crushing and screening equipment in the world.

Paschal McCloskey, the man behind the brand and still leading from the front, came to Canada in the 1980’s from Northern Ireland. It has been his expertise and drive that has seen the company that still bears his name become the force it is today.

In the early years of your life, what did you want to be when you grew up?

PM: From my earliest memories, I knew I wanted to work for myself, to run my own business.

Is there one person in particular that has had a major impact on the direction you took professionally?

PM: My first boss back, right after I left school, made a big impact. I admired his attitude when it came to business – don’t talk about it, get it done.

Can you briefly describe your career and how you came to establish McCloskey International?

PM: I came to Canada from my family farm in Northern Ireland, looking for opportunities. The timing was tough, as I arrived in the 1980s at the height of the recession. I had skills though that earned me a position building conveyors. So, in 1985 you could say I began the career that would become my life’s passion.

The company I worked for started to look into building trommel screeners, at the request of a customer. When the deal fell through, I looked at manufacturing them myself and the first the McCloskey machine hit the market. We did a lot of our own fabrication and assembly in the early days and that hasn’t changed. We added a U5 Machining Center to our facility to allow us to provide authentic McCloskey components in our equipment.

As we outgrew our production capacity in Ajax, I started to look for more space. The Peterborough location, purchased in 1998, gave us the room to grow, but we didn’t finish moving in until 2000. We were too busy to slow down.

In 2002 our international export market was growing. On a visit to Northern Ireland, I found a screening company named Viper that was ready for acquisition and bought it. They had not only good assets but good people, many of whom are still at McCloskey today.

We continue to grow, adding a 120,000 sq.ft. manufacturing facility last year in Granville Industrial Estates, NI, as well as two new parts depots to service the North American and international markets.

What have been your personal highlights?

PM: One of the greatest highlights for me is the success we have had in an extremely competitive, and tough, industry. To have moved into the second position across multiple markets as an independent company, surrounded by the large multinationals; it is a great position to be in.

The growth of our dealer network has also been a true highlight for me as well. Our products are represented by close to 100 dealers worldwide, and we continue to grow our presence through them around the globe.

What lessons have you learnt from your time growing McCloskey International into one of the most dynamic mobile crushing and screening businesses in the world? Is there anything you would have changed?


PM: I think every business person has a list of what they would change, but it’s not always good to second guess. For me, I think the only thing I would have changed would be the number of acquisitions we’ve done. The two we did were highly successful, and we certainly could have done more.

McCloskey’s has a reputation for rapidly bring new products to market. Can you illustrate some products that have been developed and launched which have particularly made you proud?

PM: It’s almost impossible to pull out individual products that made me proud. Each one has had so much innovation, design, and development invested in it, by me as well as the talented teams behind them, that to call out one over the other would be difficult.

In layman’s terms, can you please describe what makes the McCloskey product offering so well respected?

PM: I believe we are known and respected for two key things: innovation and responsiveness. I spent a lot of time with our customers out in the quarries, mining operations, recycling and waste sites, and landscape projects. The feedback I gain from them drives many of the new products, but also the adaption and improvement of existing products in our range.

You’ve recently launched a washing plant range. Whilst many of your competitors stay away from this area of screening, why have you taken this route?

PM: We heard from our customers that they wanted a complete end-to-end solution from McCloskey. They were already using our crushers, screeners, and stackers. To classify and wash the final product to spec was the last piece of a fully modular solution for their production requirements.

Which parts of the world are McCloskey International strongest in, and conversely, weakest?

PM: North America will always be a stronghold for us, as it was the first and of course because of proximity and the size of the market. We don’t generally look at any market as weak – they may be in a different level of development or maturity - but that can change so quickly we don’t rule anyone out.

What business segments have delivered the most growth in recent years?

PM: Growth really is reflected in the regions we deliver machines to. In the developing countries, infrastructure continues to grow at an exponential rate. In the mature economies looking at solutions for ageing infrastructure or waste management solutions in the face of expanding populations, and the ongoing demand around construction and demolition keep demand high for us. Resource extraction is always steady – mining will have its ups and downs but it always continues. At the end of the day, material will always need to crush, screened and handled – so demand is generally consistent across industries.

You have some very impressive equipment which is ideal for surface mining and quarrying; is there untapped potential in these segments, and if so, where?

PM: There are a number of regions that are discovering new mineral deposits. As technology evolves, there is always potential. There is also geographic potential in areas like the ‘Ring of Fire’ here in Ontario.

What is the most successful product that you have in your armoury?

PM: Conveyors will always be one of our strongest performers out in the market. I would also add the R155 scalping screener – it’s up for any challenge, and that has been proven over and over again in the toughest applications and climates around the world.

What other market segments (besides quarrying and surface mining) do the McCloskey products specifically cater for?

PM: McCloskey products are produced and field tested to perform across a number of industries, including quarrying, mining, construction and demolition recycling, waste management and recycling, composting, biomass and landscaping. Any industry that requires an end product that is crushed, screened or stockpiled can use our equipment.

Is there any particular McCloskey product that really ‘excites’ you? If so, please can you tell me why?

PM: The track mobility of our products is what I find exciting. The ability to move equipment to the material, rather than the other way around, makes large production numbers reachable. That makes a customer’s business more profitable. That is what really excites me.

Briefly, how does McCloskey International go about introducing new and innovative products?

PM: Many of our product innovations come from the customer. We are out on the field constantly, listening to what challenges them and their business, and the opportunities they would like to pursue. They drive our product design and improvements. When we incorporate their feedback into a design we introduce the new model to the market, but really it is driven by the need for the best production values - not by a schedule of new product introductions.

When we ask manufacturers, what is the number one request from the end user, we hear a variety of responses from better fuel efficiency, lower maintenance costs, higher productivity, immediate availability of parts and service. What do customers most commonly ask you?

PM: At the end of the day, everyone wants higher production values. The more high-quality product delivers more revenue, and fuels growth and success. If you take it back to the basics, a good machine should deliver not only low maintenance cost, better fuel efficiency, and a strong after sales component. We take these as standards, not as something we should strive for.

Looking forward, what are the major customer operating trends that will affect McCloskey product development in the coming years?

PM: Government regulations around emissions, product specifications, and recycling are going to be major factors in the coming years. In order to meet the stringent regulations required for government tenders and regulations, equipment design and development will need to stay ahead of the curve. Our customers will need to have access to equipment that allows them to operate within specific regulatory environments.

When the workday ends for you, what makes it a ‘good’ day?

PM: A good day is when I can look at our products, and see the progress we are making on better productivity, and delivering innovations. We don’t relax on our equipment designs, we look for continuous improvements, and every day marks a new opportunity to see these input in place.

If you could give one piece of advice to the younger you, what would it be?

PM: Always surround yourself with people who offer expertise outside of your own. The right resources are what build the strongest foundations, from fabrication to finance, for your business.

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