News & Events

A New Chapter Begins: Wishing Ber a Happy Retirement

This week we say goodbye to Bernadette Mulvany after forty-seven years of service. Ber joined Provincial in March 1977 and has been the heart of the company ever since. We wish her the very best of luck in her well-deserved retirement.

Do you remember your first day with Provincial?

“I remember my first day very well. I cycled from my home in Athgarvan, Kildare to the office which was in their house in Great Connell just outside Newbridge. I actually got the bike on hire purchase when I was told I got the job. I parked the bike up against the end of the house and went into this tiny office. It was a filing cabinet, a typewriter, a phone, a desk and a chair.That was it.”

“I remember his wife Ronnie brought me out tea and biscuits for the morning break. I was using the typewriter and was just getting used to it. It was vibrating quite vigorously, so much so that the tray fell off the desk and the cup smashed. I had to go back into the kitchen with the broken cup. Mortified.”

Did you ever leave Provincial?

“I had promised my best friend that we would go to Amsterdam and try it out. So I actually left Provincial in 1980 to do that. I kept my promise to my friend but came home six months later. Karl spotted me in mass the Sunday I got home. He followed me out and asked me to come back to work with him. I was happy to and I’ve been there ever since.”

What were you doing in the early days?

“I was doing everything at that point; typing up letters, invoices and looking after the phone when he wasn’t there. The only thing I didn’t really do was payroll. Karl looked after that. I don’t think he trusted me yet to look after it and of course back then everything was cash. I’d go to the bank to get the money, he’d put it into envelopes and then go around to the lads and pay them every week.”

“Sometimes it was quiet enough and there were days where I could bring a book or even do some knitting. I got to know the family really well. Over the years, it got busier. By the time we moved to the office in Newbridge in 1987 there were one hundred security officers working for Provincial and I was doing payroll. There wasn’t much time for knitting then. ”

How has Provinical changed?

“When I joined, there were just sixteen security officers working for Provincial. Many of those early recruits came from the same military background as Karl. He was a captain in the Defence Forces. So there was a fair bit of banter back then. That’s quite different now. There is still fun but there is less of that banter.”

“It is much more professional now. I mean there was one time Karl did an interview with a candidate in a car park on Christmas Day. They had a chat, he gave him the job, took some uniforms out of the back of the car and told him to try them on there and then. But that was in the early days. As we grew, we adopted higher standards.”

You’re with Provincial over forty-five years now. Why have you stayed?

“I was totally committed to it from day one. I liked Karl. He was very good to me. Both he and Ronnie, his wife, were very kind to me. I became part of the family in a way. And I always made sure I did what I was supposed to do. I started at 9am and finished at 5pm and I never left until five on the button. I always felt part of the family and I suppose we were very loyal to each other really.”

That loyalty seems to be a big part of the culture here at Provincial.

“There is a lot of loyalty. There are people who have been with us for years. That has carried on with Rob. He’s very good to his team as was his father. He has a totally different manner but he is very good and kind to people. He puts back into his staff what he could have as profits. He shares with the team in lots of ways.”

How has security changed?

“It’s gone from being just a security officer lifting the barriers to let people in and out to something that is a much broader offering. There’s much more attention to detail now. A lot of it is computerised. It’s far more technical and there are more robust systems in place. It’s so much more professional and it’s much more secure as a result.”

Have you noticed changes around women in Security?

“There are a lot more women in security now and it’s great. I remember years ago we had a night out around Christmas one year and we had this big debate around why there weren’t more in the business. We couldn’t get women to work for us. We knew we needed to change something. So instead of changing women, Provincial has tried to change the industry. And because of that there are more women coming to work for us now. We no longer look for the male stereotype and because the duties are so different and broad, we can do that. There’s been a huge change in women coming into the industry.

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