The early months of a new year always bring a lot of hope. And lately for me some much needed time off to reflect and plan for another year ahead.

The problems that faced Ireland over the last few years are far from over. The international outlook has deteriorated again. Nobody I meet in this country is 100% positive about our future prospects. Questions appear, not all of them easily answered. I think we need to be positive but are still left wondering what comes next for me? When do things improve for people? How can I best handle the year ahead? These must be questions we are all asking in life and in business?

But a new year gives up the possibilities of change and the opportunities that last year can’t.

Being positive in business we do have some things I for one am looking forward too. For TPI we have challenges but we also have all sorts of positive things to focus on. We continue to grow our range and are focused on growing outside the pale. Even our UK business is showing serious growth and that makes for a busy year. We have some great people here and I look forward to what we can achive working hard together in 2012. The nomination, and then the short listing of TPI for the upcoming Deloitte Best Managed Business Awards is very exciting for the company. Being an SME we are not used to that sort of thing. I hope we can win it but we are in amazingly strong company on that short list. Fingers crossed for 2/3/2012.

Looking ahead in sport the upcoming Heineken Cup Quarters, Semis and then the Grand Final is another thing I always look at and enjoy. That competition is a wonderful thing to watch and something we help to promote year after year. The ERC do a great job as do the sponsors. With 3 out of 8 teams remaining Irish and all 3 playing out of their skins it will be the focus of the nation. We might even have an all Ireland final in London which would be fun. Before that series of finals even starts we have the start of the 6 Nations Rugby and we start a crunch clash against Wales in Dublin. Then in football the Euro Championship in June will be fantastic excitement. I have my short trip to Poland with 5 mates booked already. The Summer 2012 Olympics in London are as close as they might ever be to this country. Irelands Katie Taylor and a handful of others seem to have a great chance of a medal, maybe even gold. Then TPI’s Alan Brogan tries to retain the GAA All Ireland Football crown. Equally importantly TPI’s Paul Ryan lines up for Dublin Hurlers in their push to build on a amazing year for them in 2011. Another year of getting a team member into a GAA final, now that would be something special. Later in the year we have the Ryder Cup in the States I think which will please our chairman Alex. He is a semi pro and will be glued to it come the autumn. I am sure there is more, that is all the sport I can think of now.

In my own personal life this year promises much. In life I am blessed and lucky to have a fairly large and fairly loving family.  Whatever comes our way at home will surely come out of the blue and at a faster pace than in years past. Like all families we do have some serious challenges to face in 2012. But in general so far I think we are all a fairly  happy and looking forward sort of group.  I feel that is all anyone can expect or even hope for.

In business, in sport and in life despite the threats and the worries we all must have, things look quite positive to me. We can’t be sure it will be good of course but we can be sure it will be surprising. Like every year I can think of it will be a completely different year to the previous one and a different one to the one we have planned out. Our Premia team here in Font House tell me 2012 is the year of the Dragon. Maybe the Dragon, the  most important of all the Chinese characters, might well be able to give us a better year in Ireland.

Hope so.

Colin Culliton.

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