Meet the Coherian: Helen McCarthy

For this month’s Cohere coworking member profile, we’re talking with Ireland native Helen McCarthy about Fort Collins’ best coworking space, Irish culture and her work in the beverage industry.

Helen McCarthy

Project Engineer • Orbis MES

Helen first came to Fort Collins from Ireland 10 years ago working on a project for New Belgium Brewery. A colleague of hers asked her to take the project because he decided he didn’t like America, so lucky us! Helen’s here today because she met her husband on the project.

“The project started in November, finished in the summertime and then I went back to Ireland,” she says. “My husband, we were friends, he said he’d come visit me. He came to Ireland and then we decided to get married. …

“I was delighted.”

As a project engineer supporting the food and beverage industry, Helen helps brewers, distillers and other companies improve the efficiency of their equipment and the quality of their products. The software she helps companies onboard, called MES (manufacturing execution systems), helps manufacturers track and monitor materials to help optimize the way they’re used. In dumbed-down terms, she kind of helps brewers get more beer — and better quality booze — out of each bag of barley.

“We kind of do the building blocks of all the different parts of the plants so they can trace their product as it moves through the plant,” Helen says.

Culchies, Townies and Castles

Helen is originally from Newcastle West, a small town in Southwest Ireland.

“When I lived in Dublin people would say I’m culchie, not a city person, but where I live I’d be a towny, a person that’s not from the farming community. So I’d be a towny, but outside of Dublin I’d be considered a country person. When you don’t live in Dublin, the capital, you’re called a culchie.”

The Newcastle West area has a lot of castles. Here’s Desmond Castle and nearby King John’s Castle:

Desmond Castle_Newcastle West_Ireland

Desmond Castle, Newcastle West, Ireland

King John's Castle_Limerick Ireland

King John’s Castle, Limerick Ireland

What’s something that has surprised you about the U.S.?

“As an immigrant, my vision of the U.S. is all based on the movies. So when I first came here I was continuously exhausted because everything looked familiar from seeing it all on TV and stuff like that. But it wasn’t personally familiar to me.”

Helen also says Americans are a lot more forthcoming with details about their family lives and interests outside of work. That openness is something she really appreciates about our culture.

“I was really surprised about really how open American people are.”

“I really learned that, working with Americans that family time is really important. And … you just get more out of people when you’re open. I wasn’t like that until I came here I think. I’m still a little bit cautious but I think I’m really more open because it’s just the right way to be. Americans do it really, really well. It’s cool like.”

Helen also enjoys going to plays, particularly at OpenStage.

What makes Cohere special to you?

“I don’t know how Angel is able to do it but people who join are just really, really nice people.”

“I work remotely and it’s so nice to come to a place and it’s really quiet. The facilities are so good here. If I have a meeting I never have to find a quiet spot because the layout is so good that you can always find a quiet place to have a teleconference. …

“And the people. I don’t know how Angel is able to do it but people who join are just really, really nice people.”

Favorite stuff:

  • Movie: Forest Gump
  • Band: The Cranberries

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John Garvey is a Cohere member, marketing copywriter, storyteller and Story Brand Certified Guide. Read his blog The Garvington Post for business communication and writing tips (and the occasional rant). Also stay posted for John’s GoFundMe campaign to buy a lifetime supply of sweet potato chips.

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