The Value of 5 Minutes with the Building Products Sector

When you work at a senior level of recruitment within a particular sector you build a strong network of contacts - clients and candidates alike. Both parties are obviously of equal importance to a search consultant (and each other, let’s not forget!) but they’re not only important just in terms of completing a joined-up recruitment process and filling vacancies.

The value of a strong network is the knowledge and understanding those within it provide in terms of; what’s happening in the sector currently, their predictions for the future, the experience they bring from past roles and employers as well as information regarding their particular niche or role.

18 months ago, rather than just keep these insights to myself, I decided to document them in the form of Q&A interviews so that I could share this knowledge with a wider sector audience and, I’ll be honest, try to prove to a cynical crowd that not all recruitment professionals are driven by targets and fees, some actually are looking to add value and benefit the sectors they serve.

Now called 5 minutes with… Here is a round-up of the insights shared so far:

David Johnson, Managing Director at Offsite Construction Advice Ltd

During a recent Steel Frame System plant tour, Mark talked to independent offsite consultant David Johnson. David has more than 25 years directing businesses within offsite technologies, including managing Portakabin's subsidiary Yorkon, so Mark was intrigued to understand his views on the industries reluctance to embrace offsite and what needed to be done to educate the sector (something that David now does on a full-time basis as MD of Off-Site Construction Advice Ltd).

Gary Carter, Fermacell's GB General Manager

Always interested in sitting down with influencers within the building products space (especially having worked heavily within the interior finishing market) our Head of Building Products, Mark Goldsmith, jumped at the chance to sit down with Fermacell's GB General Manager (MD), Gary Carter, to discuss various topics affecting the industry.

Stephen Acheson, Acheson & Glover's Commercial Director

During their recent National Sales Conference our head of Building Products, Mark Goldsmith, took the opportunity to meet with Acheson & Glover's Commercial Director, Stephen Acheson. Stephen has fronted the restructure of the company’s sales department, so there was plenty to talk about. We felt Stephen’s views would resonate with the wider building products market. 

Stephen Haigh, CEO of Live Verde

During their recent National Sales Conference our head of Building Products, Mark Goldsmith, took the opportunity to meet with Acheson & Glover's Commercial Director, Stephen Acheson. Stephen has fronted the restructure of the company’s sales department, so there was plenty to talk about. We felt Stephen’s views would resonate with the wider building products market. 

John Ogden, Managing Director of CBRE (North)

We recently met up with John Ogden, John has been at CBRE for 11 years and is currently the MD for the Northern region, with offices located in Liverpool and Leeds. Prior to CBRE, John worked for Edwards & Co, a niche, predominantly agency based business, where he spent a very enjoyable 7/8 years, prior to that he was with Savills. 

Chris Maityard, Previous Chief Operating Officer for Plumbase

Mark Goldsmith sat down with previous Chief Operating Officer for Plumbase, Chris Maityard. Discussion topics included manufacturers trends and strategies, implementation and benefits of preferred supplier strategies and the evolving role of the building product merchant

Andrew Carpenter, CEO of Structural Timber Association

Q&A with the CEO of both The Structural Timber Association and Constructing Excellence South West, Andrew Carpenter. Andrew is a major influence in both offsite construction advancements and improvements to the construction supply chain so there was plenty to discuss in terms of where the industry is heading and improvements he feels need to be made.

Dave Jones, Managing Director Managing Director at VEKA

Having partnered Veka on three senior recruits over the past couple of years, Collingwood’s Head of Building Products took the opportunity to sit down with longstanding MD Dave Jones. Mark was particularly interested in understanding what qualities an ex Ops Director can bring to the wider MD role and was keen to not highlight how Dave has carried him during several golf four-balls!

Michael Connor, Managing Director of Clearesult

A couple of months ago Collingwood’s Head of Building Products, Mark Goldsmith, sat down with Dave Jones, MD of uPVC extrusion business Veka UK. What better way of expanding on this window and doors theme than to get an MD’s view on the market from the fabricator perspective, in the shape of Quickslide’s Michael Connor.

DARREN RICHARDS, MD OF RADAR COMMUNICATIONS, THE PUBLISHERS OF OFFSITE, AND STRUCTURAL TIMBER MAGAZINE

With 20+ years in senior manufacturing roles, predominantly in offsite manufacturing sector, Darren now runs Radar Communications (Offsite Magazine, Offsite Hub, Offsite Awards, Built Environment Hub, Structural Timber Magazine and Structural Timber Awards). He also advises on business and manufacturing process improvement within the building technologies arena. 

SUE WILLCOCK, CITB CONSTRUCTION AMBASSADOR AND AUTHOR OF 'HELP I'M A MANAGER'

Sue's worked in the construction and property sector for over 20 years.  In 2009 set up her own people development consultancy working with clients such as Faithful & Gould, Arcadis, European Land & Property and The Design Council CABE.  Sue wrote her first book in 2016, ‘Help, I’m A Manager’ for those moving from a technical role to a management role for the first time.

SUSAN SHARDLOW DIRECTOR WITH HEWDEN

During her 15 years at Hewden Susan has managed the finance, commercial and new business introduction areas of the business. With Hewden making the headlines recently she shared an overview of her time with the company.

PETER ROBERTS EX UPONOR MANAGING DIRECTOR

Ex Uponor Managing Director Peter Roberts has had a 30+ year career within the somewhat turbulent building products sector. He shared his experience and what lies ahead for him as he looks to impart his experiences to help others. 

PAUL SIMPSON, PREVIOUSLY OPERATIONS DIRECTOR AT CRENDON TIMBER NOW WITH IBSTOCK BRICK

Paul shared with us his thoughts on lean, leadership and innovative approaches to manufacturing. Again touching on the value of a strong network, we'd like to think Paul’s Q&A played a part in him securing a new role within Ibstock brick.

ADAM RICHOLD, BRISTAN GROUPS STRATEGIC & MARKETING DIRECTOR

Adam Richold, Bristan Group's Strategic & Marketing Director provided some advice and thoughts around how big manufacturers in the Building Products industry implement a change in strategy.

IAN BRADSHAW, PREVIOUS HEAD OF INTERNATIONAL MARKETING FOR AKZONOBEL

Meeting with Head of International Marketing for AkzoNobel Ian Bradshaw, we disused topics including researching new markets, ROI of a digital marketing plan and the increased importance of sustainability.

IAN LICHFIELD TARMAC BUILDING PRODUCTS CEO

Having been promoted from CFO to CEO whilst at Tarmac building products, Ian provides insights into how the role of CFO has evolved over the last 10years and why he took on the challenge of the CEO role during tough times.

I’d like to say a big thank you to all the people named above who have taken the time to share their thoughts and experiences with me, it really is appreciated. I’d also love an opportunity to add to this whether that’s through meetings with candidates and clients or in response to a request for more information about a particular topic. So if there are thoughts you’d like to share or something particular to the building products industry you’d like to know please get in touch, mark.goldsmith@collingwoodsearch.co.uk.

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