Intel Ireland's campus in Leixlip has a population of thousands - equivalent to a typical Irish town - and filled with a vibrant, diverse and dynamic collection of people. Through the People of Intel series, we share the stories of our employees.
Corporate Services Electrical technician
I’ve lived in Ireland now longer than I grew up in Ukraine. My children are Irish and I feel so connected to the nature of this country, it will always be my home.
Ukraine did give me two great loves that I’ve brought with me, and Ireland has really allowed me to nourish and explore those passions for photography and nature and marine life.
Growing up in Ukraine, after high school I attended the Marine College in Odessa on the Black Sea. I loved it for the three and a half years I was there.
I started photography at the age of eight, when my parents gave me a small camera for my birthday. My passion has never diminished, and my talent grew along with the upgrades in my cameras over the years! I was always intuitively trying to create a story in my images and I love that I can bring that to my hobby here at Intel. My dad also loved to snorkel and would often take me with him. We lived in Nikopol opposite the big power plant that we are all sadly seeing on the news at the moment. I could see the chimneys from our apartment. Then it was beautiful, and my dad and I would snorkel and catch crayfish. Crayfish are extremely sensitive to pollution and so we knew the artificial lake was so clean. I was four years old the first time I fished and I caught four fish and have been crazy about them ever since. It’s feels a little full circle that I now film and photograph the waters around Intel and once again find crayfish and other wonderful species.
When I left Ukraine to find work in Latvia, I didn’t realise I would never go back. I worked as a shift cargo ship loading manager in Latvia and loved the lakes and nature around me there. I then spent time in Lithuania which has the best nature and lakes anywhere. I’d moved to Spain but I really missed the greenness of nature and so I moved to Ireland in 1998. I’d seen a tourist ad for Ireland in a magazine and it looked like a dream. I arrived in April and I remember getting off the plane and being struck by how green everything was. The first thing I did was buy a bicycle and cycled all around Dublin. I got married and we’ve had three children here and they are full-blown Irish. While I loved the countryside and lakes of Latvia and Lithuania, they have very long winters which can last over five months. Ireland has a much more temperate climate and such a lush vibrancy.
The first time I went sea snorkeling here was in Howth with a thin surfer’s wetsuit. I was shocked by the coldness and the water looked so grey, it held me off snorkeling for another few years. However, when I was already working in Intel, my friend invited me to Hook Head and loaned me a proper diver’s warm wetsuit. The sea was crystal clear on the day and I felt so warm and comfortable in the wetsuit I ended up spending 3.5 hours exploring. I was really amazed with the underwater scenery. The bottom is like a stone platter with cracks that go wider and deeper and the seaweed is up to 1.5m tall and moving slowly with spider crabs and fish weaving throughout.
Over the years I’ve combined my love of nature and photography and have accumulated over 40 hard drives of photos and footage. Many of my days off - in 2000 I started working as a manufacturing technician in Intel - were dedicated to the exploration of the Irish waters and mastering the underwater photography which required much more than regular photography skills.
Four years ago, I started to explore the grounds and nature around Intel by bicycle and saw such an incredibly rich environment right on our doorstep that I started to take footage and share on our internal networking channel some of the treasures I’ve managed to capture. There are deer, foxes, badgers, and a rich array of freshwater marine life, including those crayfish. To know that technology and humans can co-exist so well with nature is really uplifting.
Most people don’t have a sense of how much is around Intel because of course, animals mostly hide, so I decided to use trail cameras, discovering locations to capture them in their most natural state. The Canal and River Rye are natural wild life corridors because animals use them so much to travel, feed and breed. I can film underwater, so I’ve mixed footage above and below the water, and those who have seen it have been really surprised with what is around them.
Intel’s ecosystems are so close to nature’s ecosystem. The cabin that I was based in while working on the commissioning in Fab 34 was located at the very end of the campus, closest to nature, the River Rye and trees. On my daily breaks I could see and hear buzzards, which are protected in Ireland under the Wildlife Act.
There are lovely walks around the Royal Canal, between the animals, birds, frogs and fish, including trout. It’s easy to think about our campus as just a place of work, but if you take the time to walk the grounds, you’ll discover what a rich environment it is for nature.