Building a Career in Construction (Part I)

Construction is one of those careers that rewards the effort you put in, so taking the time to think about how you’ll develop your career is a smart move. How do you get to that senior position within a construction company? Is it possible to work your way up? Kris (pictured below) is currently the National Sales Manager in Ireland for the Keystone Group, but his career started out very differently, as he explains…

Keystone Lintels Marketing

2005-2006: Dispatch Co-ordinator, Keystone Lintels

“Throughout my career in Keystone I have been involved in various different roles and projects. I first started my career in 2005 as a dispatch Co-ordinator for Keystone Lintels. My key responsibility was to liaise with the production team, yard team and external logistics companies to ensure that our lintel products were manufactured and delivered on time to the end user.

It was an excellent introduction for me to the company as it gave me a thorough understanding of the work ethic that is found throughout the Keystone Group. I found out quite quickly that the work ethos for Keystone was to ‘Go through the Wall’ for the customer; to do whatever it takes to offer an unrivalled product and service.
This role was also a great introduction to the larger Keystone product range, technical performance and the various stages of the design and manufacturing process.”

2006- 2009: Dispatch Manager, Keylite Roof Windows

“In 2006, I then was then presented with the opportunity to move to the Keylite Roof Windows brand within the Group: to take on a bit more responsibility within the dispatch process in a managerial role.
I was able to learn about the Keylite product range and manufacturing process with this role, as I had done with keystone previously. Due to me now being Dispatch Manager, I was taking on more responsibilities in terms of people management with lorry and yard staff as well as responsibility for the internal and external dispatch costs; such as company vehicles and negotiating rates with external logistics companies.”

2009-2011: Operations Co-ordinator, Keylite Roof Windows

“Due to the rate of growth and expansion within the Keylite brand, my role further changed in 2011, with me taking on the extra responsibility of the Keylite operations for the Keystone factory. In addition to the duties that I had in the Dispatch role, I took on extra responsibilities such as the factory health and safety, creation of production schedules for the Cookstown and Poland factories, purchasing of external materials for window production and timber certification for the window range.”

2011-2014: Northern Ireland Sales Manager, Keylite Roof Windows

careers in construction keystone lintels

“Although I had really enjoyed all my previous roles, the opportunity arose for in 2011 to take a different direction and get involved in the exciting area of sales for the Keylite range.

During my other roles in Keylite, I had accumulated a lot of knowledge about company innovation, the performance of the products and the service that was offered to customers. With that in mind, I made the decision to get involved in sales and add to the company’s growth as well as to my own skillset.

My main responsibilities in this role was to achieve and exceed the set yearly sales target for Northern Ireland, account manage a set list of builder’s merchants, attend trade shows, offer sales and service experience to my customers and regularly visit, educate and enhance relationships with various different industry stakeholders such as builder’s merchants, contractors and architects etc.”

2014-Present: Ireland National Sales Manager, Keystone Group

“In 2014 I was lucky enough to be offered the chance to get involved with all of the Keystone Group Brands in terms of sales and also expand the customer base from outside of Northern Ireland to all of Ireland.

This new role involves me once again returning to line management by Supporting, encouraging and nurturing the external sales team and also the contracts department. I also liaise with key customers on a sales deal aspect in terms of securing long term stock sales among merchant groups.

kris willis careers in construction

Throughout my career to date in Keystone, I have been very fortunate to be able to grow and develop my skills and career at a rate that is in line with my own personal goals. I believe for anyone that wants to make a career in a company that is constantly evolving and striving to be the best while maintaining its family values and ‘open door’ management policy, well then the Keystone Group is the place to be.

The opportunities within the company are there if you want them. If you have a good attitude and work hard the sky really is the limit. I can vouch for that.”

 
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