Hailing from near Virginia in Co. Cavan, James Conway ended up following in his father’s footsteps by getting into the haulage industry. Now between himself and his brother, they have been running the family business for six years this year, continuing with the proud family tradition.
At home, James’s brother Niall is running the farming operations at home, with James’s truck sign business, Truck Boards Ireland, taking up the majority of his time. They run a small suckler operation, on approximately 70-acres, with 17 cows and a high number of replacement heifers in stock. All cattle on the farm are Limousine, with Niall setting up his own Purebred herd, Corradooa Limousines, recently.
“I haven’t got the time to invest in it (the farm) and there is not enough work in it for the two of us (me and my brother),”, James said.
The plan is to increase their numbers to 35 cows for calving by this time next year and the pair of brothers have also updated some of the on-farm housing facilities to enable them to increase in size.
“We are building a machinery shed at the minute…And we are also taking down other buildings to make space for new slatted sheds”, James said.
The brothers took on the running of the farm and the haulage business, upon the sudden loss of their father James senior to suicide over five years ago. This is something which drove the brothers on to continue their father’s legacy, keep the family name going and fly the Conway flag proudly.
How he got into Haulage:
James career in haulage is not your typical journey into the industry, having studied at the University of Limerick and taught in schools in previous years. The Cavan man took the decision to get into haulage, having decided that teaching may not be for him.
His father and grandfather before him had been in the industry for many years, collecting milk for Lakelands, meaning his progression into haulage is not all that surprising.
He started off by making signs for trucks, which he then got into on a fulltime basis, setting up his own site in the process, which you can visit here. He says business on this end is booming at the moment, but the ever-honest James admits, that nobody knows how long the trend will last.
His first foray into driving lorries, came at the age of 20 when James obtained his rigid licence in early 2012. His younger brother Niall then gained the licence himself later the same year, which just so happened to be the same year they tragically lost their father. Making their father proud is what drives the boys on, that and providing for James’s young four-year-old daughter.
“We started with the rigid and we both then got the artic licence as a precaution as we knew the co-op might suggest us getting an artic in the future. It was actually ourselves that asked will we progress and get an artic and bigger tank…We were actually the only rigid left for Lakeland Dairies in the South of Ireland,”, he added.
As mentioned, most of James time is taken up with his signs, while his brother carries out the vast majority of all driving duties. They do though, have another man who gets behind the wheel on a regular basis as well.
“In the Summertime, I do the night runs and evening shifts to try and give the lads a bit of time off,”, James explained.
The team operate with one artic lorry at present and carry out the same service their father offered, before his passing in 2012. They transport milk for the nearby Lakeland dairies, using a recycled tanker once used by his father.
“There is a good story behind the tanker…my father, when he worked with Lakelands, used this tanker on his rigid. Then when he passed away and we bought a new artic, the tank that was on it (his father’s rigid) was taken off and they (Lakelands) made it into an artic tanker.”, James said.
“It has a bit of sentimental value, even though it is a different lorry than he was using, it is still half of what he used originally…It is just nice to have. We actually had it ready for the road for his anniversary this year and we put it out on his anniversary in his honour. We are sentimental people here,”, James added.
As mentioned, the brother team run with one truck at the moment, A 131 Volvo Fm13.
Truck: Volvo Fm13
Tanker: 6,000-gallon litre.
Charity work and other ventures:
So strongly does James and his family feel about suicide and those who suffer from the aftermath of such, that he and his brother are constantly exploring ways to raise money and help raise awareness for charities such as SOSAD, which deals with suicide prevention and offer services to help with such.
He recently helped raised enough money for charity SOSAD, almost €8,000.
“I would like to see if other families could get across the bump, like us,”, James said.
If having a career in haulage, helping run the family farm, running his own truck sign business and fundraising for charity was not enough, James also recently joined his local Ramor Macra na Feirme club.
After only being with the club for less than six months, a promotion came his way and he now holds the position of club secretary.
“I was made secretary not long after joining. Whether they were in short supply or had great confidence in me, I don’t know which it is,”, James joked.
James was also chosen by his club to take part in the upcoming Macra-run event, Mr. Personality in the Springhill Court Hotel in Kilkenny. This is where he decided to use the opportunity to raise further much-needed cash for the SOSAD suicide prevention charity, which is so close to his heart.
The plan is to have five brand-new tractors driving the whole journey to Kilkenny for the event on April 20th, with all money earned going to charity. If you would like to help out, you can do so here.
The plan for the coming years is to keep going as they are, for now! James admits that you never know what is on the horizon, but he is certain that the two brothers will increase the number of cows for calving next year, while he also plans to keep at his beloved truck signs.
"Increasing numbers is the only way to go from what we can see, especially with purebred stock,", James said.
Having studied to become a teacher before seeking pastures new, James has firmly settled on his haulage career, with his sign business going hand in hand. A true gentleman who has taken on a lot with his family already in his 26 years on this planet, James will continue to try and helps those less fortunate around and prevent what happened to him and his family, from happening to others.
"Family pride keeps us going. We are the third-generation collecting milk in the area now. We went from a Ford 3000 to a Volvo FM13...It has grown from nothing to what it is now. ", James said.
Flying his father’s flag ever so proudly, the Cavan man has a heart full of gold and a heart dedicated to All things Haulage.