Richard Kinloch (pictured) is a key player within the Keystone Group. He has been pivotal to the group’s success story to date and underpins its ambition for the future. Richard has strategic vision borne out by on-going product innovation, use of new technology and a hunger to contribute to the company’s growth. He is an advocate for necessary change. Richard explains here how his career has progressed from his graduation to present:
“Before beginning my career, I finished my education at the University of Ulster getting a 1st class BSc Honours degree in Construction Engineering & Management and a Diploma in Industrial Studies with commendation. Graduating at the beginning of the economic downturn was a key challenge for me. Persistence and determination helped me get my career off to a start, and when most companies were freezing recruitment or making redundancies I was able to secure employment within the Keystone Group as a technical engineer”.
SEE ALSO: Building a Career in Construction (Part I)
2011-2012: Research & Development Engineer, Keystone Lintels
“In 2011, quite soon after joining the Keystone Group, I was given the opportunity to prove my ability to handle more responsibility. I used this opportunity to make myself an invaluable member of the Keystone team as an R&D engineer. When developing products from concept, each day presented challenges and I utilised my creative problem solving ability to overcome these challenges.”
2012 – 2014: Research & Development Manager, Keystone Group
“One of the biggest highlights of my career to date was progressing to this role within 3 years of joining the Keystone Group. As R&D manager I was tasked with developing innovative construction products to meet changing building regulations and to enhance the existing product ranges. This role requires me to seek opportunities within our markets, manage various product improvement projects, carry out problem solving tasks, and communicate effectively with the CEO, co-workers and customers.
A pivotal part of this job involves developing new products, which includes designing, sourcing materials and components, testing and certifying the finished products, then getting the product to market. The business is extremely fast paced which required me to a great deal of be motivation, organisation and commercial awareness. Additionally, I also train colleagues within the technical and sales departments on how to use, sell, promote these products focusing on improving health & safety, meeting building regulations & build ability. Regular training on all new aspects of the product and product range takes place with all employees every quarter.
In 2012, I was successful in obtaining grant funding to develop the world’s first thermally broken ‘one piece’ Lintel: The Hi-Therm Sustainability Lintel. This lintel assists house builders to meet current and future building regulations by reducing thermal bridging. Thermal bridging is a well-known issue regarding heat loss within buildings, so when the Hi-Therm lintel won four awards including best ‘Product of the Year’ at the House builder awards in 2013, it was a great achievement in my career.
The Hi-Therm lintel project involved designing, trialling & testing, product development, BBA certifying, lean manufacturing, marketing, literature, costing and everything else involved in bringing a concept product to market. All of these tasks were new to me so they posed daily challenges and a steep learning curve. I now champion this product, involving promotion by giving presentations and organising meetings with the NHBC, LABC and national house builders to raise awareness.
Determination, persistence and going that extra mile when applying yourself to any situation pays off in my experience. Many times when developing the Hi-Therm lintel we met obstacles, or problems occurred or someone said that it wasn’t possible. I have learnt that the ability to overcome these obstacles is vital in any role. There will always be challenges, it’s just a matter of problem solving, remaining determined, and pushing your boundaries”.
2014 – Present: Divisional Sales Manager, Keystone Group
“Since then I have taken up the role as Divisional Sales Manager for the Northern region and relocated to the Midlands from Ireland. This was a huge step for me, both in responsibility and learning the commercial element of the business. I was new to line management, which is a skill on its own. I had mentoring and coaching from key people who work with our directors and I believe this support has fast-tracked my learning. I’ve grown a lot within this role over the past two years. I’m now not only managing a large area geographically but a team of six area sales managers with a value of circa £20 million, and dealing with customers from all levels including branch managers, builders, Architects and company directors.
I continue to work closely with the CEO developing innovative products for the construction industry. I have a big appetite to take on new challenges and the drive and determination to achieve and keep progressing in my career. I believe the construction industry is a fantastic industry to be involved in and I look forward to more exciting challenges in the years to come.”