Recently, he has been embroiled in controversy. However, the embattled Mark Maloney is better known for his involvement in the construction industry, contributing to the building of hundreds of homes, offices and other buildings across the island through his various companies.
With approximately 27 years under his belt as a businessman, Maloney, 44, is the owner of a range of businesses spanning finance, construction, real estate and retail. The first company he started was Preconco Limited. That was almost three decades ago. He currently employs about 1,000 people among his ten plus businesses.
And, at the centre of the success of his operations so far is his ability to quickly overcome a challenge, and his willingness to see the glass as being half-full.
“It is interesting times. And there are lots of opportunities in the face of what people would see as adversity,” said Maloney.
The Rock Hard Cement boss, who is currently entangled in a legal battle with the Town and Country Planning Department, told Barbados TODAY in a recent interview that his success to date was also led by highly skilled employees with the “right values”, coupled with transparency.
“You can have a vision; but without having a good team that is committed, there is not much you can achieve. So I think our number one contribution has been more socially by working with our teams and creating values that help them in their lives,” he said.
This captain of industry has done work across the region, including in St Lucia, Jamaica, Trinidad, St Kitts, St Vincent, Grenada and Dominica, which a number of his employees have been privileged to be involved in.
This, Maloney said, had allowed him and his employees to understand different cultures; and he believes more Barbadians should visit other countries and see how they conduct business.
“One thing in Barbados that we don’t do. I don’t think we do enough exploration outside ourselves, our businesses, our families and our cultures. We have tried to engage a lot more and to get a lot more exposure,” he said.
“We are really fortunate in Barbados. We have a stable government, we have a civil society, we have good education, we have a good health care and sometimes I think we take a lot of those things for granted,” Maloney argued, adding that operating in other markets allowed his team to appreciate more of what they had at home.
As for competition, the businessman said he loved it. And he enjoys seeing the business of his competitors grow too.
“We love our competitors to succeed, because when they do, it opens opportunities for us; and competition is healthy. But there are a lot of monopolies in the region that I think need to be broken, because they don’t think competition is healthy; and a lack of competition doesn’t help any economy, because the consumers never benefit.
“If you have a consumer that is benefiting from healthy competition, then the economy will flourish,” Maloney insisted.
The St Joseph resident is a father of four –– two sons and two daughters.
Maloney, who is no stranger to pleading for permission to carry out a number of his projects, said his wish for Barbados was that every citizen would see themselves as business facilitators.
“It allows for growth and it allows for people to have confidence because there is unity. I would just love to see that there is a lot less negativity.”
He added: “I want the media to be positive; not just to sensationalize the negative because negative sells and that is on the front page of the paper every day; but to push the positive.
“When people don’t get through with something in life they complain, but when they get through they don’t say, ‘I got through’. So there are so many positive things that we can share; and the more positive that we share as a nation is the more that people outside Barbados will embrace us,” the Rock Hard Cement boss explained.
In his assessment of the island’s development over the years, compared with other places, Maloney said Barbados had made tremendous progress. However, he warned: “We can’t rest on our laurels and we can’t become complacent.”
And singling out the tourism sector, the businessman said it was a very competitive one and therefore Barbados had to do what it could to stand out.
“The more that we can keep crime at a low, and the more we can improve on the amenities and services and restaurants . . . , the more people will come here,” he said, adding that the island’s rich history could also play a major role in sustaining tourism.
“Certainly, when we get some of the brand-name hotels here that will help.”
The athletic-built Maloney, who preferred not to describe himself, is seen by some of his peers as being a “passionate and dynamic” leader. He said his greatest satisfaction came from “seeing people grow”.
The businessman believes his group of companies has been instrumental in “touching many lives” and has itself been “touched” by many lives over the years.
“We have been the beneficiaries of being able to have good relationships with good people. And hopefully the reciprocal side of it is that through the relationships we have with them, hopefully they felt the same way about us, and they can benefit from how we operate in a very positive, focused and determined environment that touches the lives of the people that we do business with [and] the people that work with us,” he explained.
As the country celebrates 50 years of political Independence this year, Maloney said his wish was that a better environment could be created for residents to work, play and have fun.
“It is our lifeline to have the workers want to do what is right, to allow the country to grow through the various sectors that they work in. The only industry we have in Barbados ultimately is a service industry. We don’t have oil and we don’t have other natural resources. Our only natural resources are our people,” Maloney said, adding that customer service was essential in every sector.
“The people of the country dictate the future of the country, and I would love to see that there is a great relationship between the unions, the public sector, the private sector, the Government, the workers –– and that comes through good communication, dialogue, trust!”
Asked if looking back he would change one thing if he could, Maloney simply said: “If I changed it then, with the knowledge that I had where I was, I might not have ended up the way that I am today.”