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PEOPLE


10 MINUTES WITH: KEVIN GATES


Managing Director, Neoperl UK


What is your current role and how long have you been doing it? Managing Director for Neoperl UK since 1st July 2016.


What does your role entail? Full P&L responsibility for the UK business with a strong focus on change management and continuous improvement. In the UK Neoperl largely manufacture flow regulators and produce over 90% of the world’s supply from our Malvern factory. Our flow regulators and aerators can be found in most showers, taps and boilers across the UK. Many Neoperl products can also be retro-fitted providing great water saving solutions


How did you get started in the industry?


I was previously the Sales & Marketing Director for Wirquin Limited with responsibility for sales and marketing in the Trade, Retail & OEM sectors.


What roles were you doing before and how did they prepare you for this one?


Previously I was a Sales & Marketing Director for 12 years and Managing Director for almost 10 years in other manufacturing businesses. During this time I gained great experience of developing and implementing sales & marketing and business strategies. It also gave me a grounding in change and continuous improvement initiatives.


What would you like to achieve in your role?


Neoperl UK has always been a successful business but I would like to leave it in a better position than when I joined. I would like to futureproof the business against the threat of cheap imports by improving quality and productivity and developing business in new market sectors.


What has been the highlight of your career so far?


Joining Neoperl UK as Managing Director 10


at such an important time in its evolution has to be the highlight but I also took great satisfaction from changing the fortunes of Storopack UK and giving the business longevity.


What do you see as the main issues for builders’ merchants and for the construction industry at the moment? COVID-19 and the on-going situation regarding BREXIT will continue to present significant challenges.


If you could go back to the start of your career, what piece of advice would you give yourself? The team is stronger than the individual so learn how to delegate.


Football, rugby, cycling, golf, gardening – which one’s more likely to keep you busy at weekends? All of them in different ways. In my younger days I used to play most sports, particularly football, but it’s now limited to golf, cycling and running. I still enjoy watching my team Middlesbrough play though. When I have the time I find gardening and, in particular, mowing the lawn very therapeutic.


If you’re at the bar – what are you drinking?


It depends how I’m feeling at the time but could be anything from a pint of lager, a nice NZ sauvignon blanc, a single malt whiskey or a gin & tonic.


What’s your favourite book? Favourite film?


Probably One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s nest. A brilliant storyline and Jack Nicholson as McMurphy.


If you could be a superhero, what superpower would you choose? It would be Mind Control. It doesn’t matter what superpower a hero has. If they have no control over what they’re doing, their power is useless to them.


ON THE MOVE • ARC Building


Solutions Ltd has promoted Clair Richardson, as


operations manager, and George Danzey- Smith, as commercial


manager; both will become members of ARC’s senior management team.


• Kate Tinsley has joined MKM as CEO from September 28th. Tinsely moves from Ibstock Plc where she was divisional managing director of Ibstock Clay; prior to this, she was with the Grafton Group for


seven years where she held senior finance and operational roles, most notably that of CEO of the Buildbase group of companies.


• Independent Builders Merchant Group, which includes Parkers and Chandlers Building, Stamco Timber and Fairalls. has appointed Allun Pittingale, to the new role of


managing director of the Builders Merchants Division. Pittingale has held several branch manager positions for Erith Building Supplies, Hall & Co and Builder Center. He joined the Travis Perkins Group in 2001 and was a regional managing director in the South East, for the last four years.


• Polypipe Civils & Green Urbanisation has appointed Clark McAllister as its new sales director. McAllister, who has been with Polypipe for 27 years, joins from sister company, Polypipe Building Products, where he


was divisional sales director.


• Mark Setchell has joined EH Smith as managing director, taking over from Phil Yates who retired in June after over 20 years. Setchell spent 19 years within the Saint-Gobain group – most recently as


commercial director at Gibbs & Dandy. Ian Grainger has also joined as the new head of finance. With many years’ experience in senior accountant roles in the construction and insurance sectors, he is ideally placed to lead the EH Smith finance team in the unprecedented economic landscape.


www.buildersmerchantsjournal.net August 2020


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