Catherine McMullen – Technical Product Specialist

Catherine McMullen – Technical Product Specialist

Catherine McMullen – Technical Product Specialist

03 Oct 2023

Catherine McMullen – Technical Product Specialist

Specialist Area:

Mechanical Seals – a type of seal used in rotating pumps, designed to prevent leakage.

Hailing from Richards Bay in South Africa and a huge Rugby fan, Catherine began her career in 2001 through a family connection, with a company called Chesterton Industries near Durban.

Challenged by her then manager to last 6 months in the industry, Catherine proved many people wrong and was a natural in the role, dealing with industrial plant enquiries and working primarily with fitters in the supply of seal solutions across pump and valve applications.

“When I started out back in South Africa, I was dealing with fitters and suppliers most days and I learned the trade by immersing myself in the work”.

After several years with Chesterton’s and with a firm foundation in the seal industry, Catherine moved to another seal company – a specialist in the design and manufacture of mechanical seals, also located in South Africa. More industry experience was to follow and then a sequence of life events within the family, led Catherine and her family having the opportunity of moving to either New Zealand, or to Ireland. The rest as they say, is history!

Catherine McMullen - Technical Product Specialist

Now three years with Abbey Seals International, Catherine is a key member of our Irish field sales team, reporting industry trends at monthly management meetings, visiting and consulting with customers, and also attending numerous manufacturing Expos and Events.

Working across a range of industries in Ireland including:-

  • Agricultural
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Dairy
  • Distilleries

No two days are the same for Catherine when visiting on site at one of our many customers Nationwide.

“I work with pumps and rotating equipment, and I could be anywhere on the island of Ireland. Customers who need help might supply us with an older seal, or others might only give us a sketch or drawing of what they had or need. Using a combination of pump specification, housing dimensions and industry knowledge, I’ll then supply a replacement mechanical seal that helps get the customer operational again”.

Catherine has experienced a fair share of raised eyebrows at this career choice.

“As a product specialist from Abbey Seals International, they often don’t expect ‘Catherine’ to arrive on site. You’re unlikely to meet other female reps in this business which is a real pity. We don’t see much diversity in the sector. This work is rewarding – we’re solving problems every day in real world applications and our efforts have a big impact on production runs, downtime and productivity. Often, we’re not talking about small operators, these are large industry names with even larger production quotas. Solving problems at this level, results in massive cost savings along the customer production and supply chain”.

Catherine has also assisted customers with stock takes and product identification, as well as catalogue inventory, product sorting and right down to naming convention and labelling. It’s part of the service that Abbey Seals offer in this industry – on site consultation and inventory management!

So what’s next for Catherine?

“Early in 2024, I’ll be running training workshops with our team here at Abbey Seals to help upskill other Reps and staff in some of our key product areas. I’ll also be working with our Marketing department on the design of new B2B campaigns for my industry sectors …..and then you might even see me pop up in our new Corporate video!”

South Africa v Ireland rugby-world-cup

There was of course a recent Rugby game played in Paris, between South Africa and Ireland. When we asked who she was shouting for in that game last Saturday, Catherine smiled and said “I’m from South Africa but I live in Ireland now. I was always going to win!😊”.

Links / Contact

Visit Abbey Seals International Ltd. at Expos:

  • Hannover Messe, Germany (April 2024)
  • Achema Frankfurt, Germany (June 2024)
  • Ploughing Championships, Co. Laois, Ireland (Sept. 2024)

Abbey Seals Dublin Ph: +353 1 427 7900 |

Abbey Seals Cork Ph: +353 21 500 3555 |


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