The fortunes of a Dublin businessman – who failed in a muffin business here – are now soaring following his firm securing a $14 million (€11m) contract with Etihad Airlines.

Swords native Joseph McKeever, of Spatial Composite Solutions (SCS), said yesterday that the contract with Etihad “is very much a game changer for Spatial in that it has propelled the company to the forefront of the industry within the space of only a few short months”.

Under the contract, SCS will design and manufacture a total of 14 cabin crew training devices and install these at the new Etihad innovation training academy in Abu Dhabi.

Mr McKeever’s firm today employs 90 people in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) having emigrated to Dubai in 1996.

Mr McKeever’s muffin company, The American Cake and Muffin Business, crashed in Dublin 20 years ago. He joked yesterday: “Don’t talk to me about muffins.”

Reflecting on the muffin enterprise that failed to rise, Mr McKeever said: “I lost just about everything at that time but managed to survive and to learn from the experience. It did me no harm in the long run and taught me a good lesson that there is more to life than chasing the dollar.”

Mr McKeever’s SCS is projecting to record $8 million in revenues this year.

He stressed: “My business career has not always been a smooth ride and I know what it feels like to lose.”

Mr McKeever was chief executive of the Middle East arm of UK resin manufacturer, Scott Bader for 10 years before establishing SCS in 2007 with Mr McKeever recalling telling his only employee, Alma Malata at the time: “Alma, you and I – we are going to build a business”.

Mr McKeever said: “We are very pleased to be involved in this ground-breaking project with Etihad.”

Irish Independent