Dundalk and Newry SME Resonate Testing’s investment in innovation stood the company well through the pandemic.

An SME based in Newry and Dundalk, Resonate Testing conducts world class testing services across a range of sectors, including space, globally.

Resonate Testing invested heavily in high quality technological processes prior to the pandemic, which included live stream testing.

“We are the only commercial testing laboratory for aircraft interiors and their components on the island of Ireland”

This innovation ensured that the company avoided any effects of the pandemic and continued to provide its testing processes remotely to countries globally, including the US, Brazil, Canada, Russia and Japan, as well as closer to home throughout the Island of Ireland and the UK.

This is something that the company sees as an integral part of business, going forward, said founder and managing director Tom Mallon.

Innovation is the wind beneath its wings

Seat burn test at Resonate Testing.

“Working in business is not easy, it’s hard work. Motivated people with a common goal are who I admire”

The company was awarded a Platinum Innovation Accreditation in the Innovate NI Innovation Accreditation programme for their cutting-edge processes

It operates the only commercial testing laboratory for aircraft interiors and their components on the island of Ireland. The facility was declared a Centre of Excellence for Space in 2020.

Resonate Testing provides world class testing services to UK and Ireland space engineering companies on products that are being sent to outer space.

Through investment in high quality technological processes, including live stream testing to global customers, the company managed to avoid any impact to its business during the Covid-19 pandemic

Resonate Testing’s capabilities include propulsion level fire testing, aircraft interiors, vibration and shock, vibration and shock measurement in the field, combined environmental testing, altitude testing, temperature and humidity environmental chambers, pressure and load testing

Aces high

“My first ever real job was in Shorts Brothers (now Spirit AeroSystems) in Belfast,” recalled Mallon. “I loved my time there and had the opportunity to work in various roles within the company, gaining lots of experience. Subsequently, I spent many years travelling across the world, offering consultancy services to prestigious aerospace companies, once again strengthening my experience, before starting Nacelle Systems Consultancy Ltd. Nacelle transitioned into Resonate Testing Ltd and shortly after establishing that entity, we established Resonate Testing Ireland.”

Mallon’s enthusiasm is inspiring. “Much of what I do is born from the necessity of not wanting to be bored. I want to enjoy what I’m doing, face new challenges and most importantly, succeed. With Resonate Testing, we offer a niche high quality testing and certification service to organisations across a range of sectors including space, medical devices, aerospace, telecommunications, automotive, oil and gas and consumer goods. 

“Our USP (unique selling point) sits in two areas; our fire testing capability for aircraft, but also the absolute understanding that we must add value to our clients. We demonstrate this with a willingness to help and participate in our customers test and product validation requirements. Whether that is to support product development or specification compliance, by becoming an integral part of their ‘team’ we jointly succeed.

“We are the only commercial testing laboratory for aircraft interiors and their components on the island of Ireland, our facility has been declared a Centre of Excellence for Space and we’re providing world class testing services to UK and Ireland Space Engineering companies on products that are being sent to space.

“Thanks to previous investment in state-of-the-art technology, we avoided any negative impact as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, continuing to deliver high-quality live stream testing to customers globally.”

Beyond the horizon

Mallon said that as a family run SME, when planning and executing the creation of Resonate Testing, it was, and still is, naturally very cautious of exposure to external debt.

“We tended to err on the side of caution largely due to the fact that we understood the fundamentals of the aerospace industry and its cyclic nature. We consolidated and planned for an expansion; it was unavoidable and necessary, but we continue to invest in the company, targeting new markets and acquiring the latest technology to meet our customers’ needs, futureproofing the company.”

Mallon said that as an engineer he found the challenges of running a business a real learning experience. “From trying to grow the business, managing people and understanding motivations and practicalities, it was difficult for me. There are days of frustrations and strife, and anyone who has started a business knows that it’s not an easy feat – it is multi-faceted and complicated.

“Personally, my working week consists of six or seven days of ‘however many hours it takes to get done’ and ultimately, it is about taking risks, but if you still have faith in your business idea at the end of the day, then it’s all worth it as you start to realise the rewards and start to see results.”

Asked if there’s anything he would have done differently, Mallon said: “I would start earlier and actively challenge much more aggressively some of the decisions and assertions that I had made through the exuberance or drive to build a company. I would recognise that not all my ideas were good ideas and that I need people with the ability to point out the bad ideas. Then, of course, listen to and take their advice.”

An aptitude for innovation

He admires anyone in any business that gets up every morning and tries to improve, be positive and add to their business, “whether they are the owner, a manager or an employee. Working in business is not easy, it’s hard work. Motivated people with a common goal are who I admire.”

When it comes to nurturing talent it boils down to attitude, aptitude and work ethic.

“I firmly believe that whilst qualifications are important, hard work and an aptitude to learn are beneficial, far in-excess-of any qualification. Come to me with these attributes and I will offer you the practical experience, which in my opinion, can make the difference between a good and a great career!

“We are passionate about developing young people here at Resonate Testing and offer lots of opportunities with our intern and graduate opportunities, to help teach them ‘the tricks of the trade’. Also, we are constantly learning from this experience; it’s often a two-way street we are open to be taught lessons as well! We’re confident that this investment will benefit our business and the next generation of engineers for years to come.

“I bought a book many years ago, which I keep on my desk, and hope to read it soon – it’s called ‘Hope is Not a Strategy’– the irony! That aside, personally, I believe that every person setting out to start a new business should read and understand the lessons within The Millionaire Mind by Thomas J Stanley. It’s about an unconventional path to a successful business and a great read.”

When it comes to technology and productivity, Mallon says business owners need to find a balance between speaking directly with staff and customers and not relying on emails. “The most difficult task for human beings is to communicate with each other. Anything that improves this, makes it more reliable and more efficient, is often an immeasurable benefit to the company, but more importantly your customers.”

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 14 April 2021