How did you begin your career with Kingspan?
I was originally hired as a product manager for Tate at a time when the market for access flooring was becoming more challenging, and the demand for data centres was growing. Tate is unusual in that it doesn’t just look at manufacturing standard products for the established market, it looks beyond at what’s next, which is also very much the Kingspan way. I was brought in to help design the next product, and my work now varies from improving existing products to creating something completely new and different.
Describe a typical day in your current role?
Pre-Covid, I was responsible for one vertical – Data Centres. In this field you tend to find the same customers world-wide, and I used to travel a lot to understand precisely what each customer’s design needs were in each region and for each project. It is a combination of project management and product development.
Now, there are few on site meetings, which is strange in a good way, but I do miss that face to face interaction. I used to go to a lot of trade shows and conferences, which are useful to understand where the industry is going. Of course, we still get some of that content virtually but eventually I think that some live events will resume – probably not as many as before. I think that there will be a desire to do them but that the value is less than we previously thought.
There will also be less travel with the commercial team. One thing that Covid has shown us is where our strengths and weaknesses are, allowing us to develop people to become more autonomous and also more efficient.
What has been your career highlight to-date?
It is very satisfying to deliver exactly what the customer wants, especially when it leads to further orders. Kingspan Tate has a unique approach in that we directly interact with end users, which is something that I helped to introduce. I have a history of championing direct customer activity, and when I first joined Tate I pointed out that we didn’t really know what our customers wanted. Furthermore, our customers didn’t really know what they wanted until we asked the right questions, so we started to involve them from an early stage. Since then customers have also changed in their approach – they want to be more hands on, and we work directly with them to develop bespoke solutions for their projects.
A few years ago, I was working with just one other engineer on a single project for a major cloud computing corporation. We worked with their engineering group to build a solution from scratch which was exactly what they were looking for, and off the back of that we were awarded a multi-million dollar project, rolling our solution out worldwide, and created a whole new product line in the process.
What inspires you about Kingspan’s future impact in the industry?
The next big thing on the global scene is going to be carbon sequestration, and this is something that Kingspan is already actively doing. We are already getting requests from customers to deliver that, in fact one major client wants all new buildings to not just be carbon neutral, but to be carbon negative and actively compensate for their existing building stock. Kingspan is well placed to deliver on this type of request, and meet the challenge of how the world is starting to approach construction.
What words would sum up Kingspan’s culture to someone considering joining?
- Very ambitious
- Always willing to invest