Mike Goodspeed and Iain Robertson joined what is now Lindab in 1991 and their careers have developed with the company. As they take over as joint managing directors, HVR talks to them about their path to success.
IT'S good to have friends - never more so than at those turning moments that define life and career.
Certainly, when you are on the point of assuming responsibility for an organisation with a £60M turnover, it is good to have a friend with shared background and experience standing at your shoulder.
Mike Goodspeed and Iain Robertson share friendship as they share the running of Lindab, one of Britain's leading ventilation and air movement specialists.
As the clock ticked past midnight on New Year's Eve, the two men became joint managing directors of the ventilation division of Lindab UK. It was a moment 17 years in the making.
Mike Goodspeed joined CCL in May 1991. On the principle established by Stanley Baker and Michael Caine in that famous scene in Zulu, that gives him a couple of months' seniority over Iain Robertson. He did not arrive until December of that year.
In reality, their careers have marched side by side, pace for pace, up from branch manager, through regional sales manager to the regional directorships they achieved in 2003.
'We've grown with the company,' says Goodspeed. 'When I joined, CCL had just four branches.'
'And I opened the fifth as manager in Southampton,' adds his colleague. 'As we progressed through the company, Mike assumed special responsibility for the North of England and Scotland, while I focused on the South.'
'That's pretty much how it is today,' Goodspeed confirms, 'except that in addition to our regional interests, we're now jointly responsible for development of Lindab Ventilation products throughout the UK.'
That maybe a heavy responsibility to carry, but both men have earned their stripes from the ground up. Both Goodspeed and Robertson share a background in ductwork manufacture and mechanical services contracting.
That experience gives them a real insight into customers' needs. As Goodspeed puts it: 'We've been involved in the industry in all its aspects - as manufacturers and as contractors, as salesmen and as customers. We know what makes the ventilation business tick.'
Both men played key roles in the £27M integration of CCL into the Lindab organisation.
That process moved forwards more quickly than anyone had dared hope - with customer awareness and approval boosted by the presence of so many familiar faces at branch level.
Robertson and Goodspeed become joint managing directors at an exciting time in Lindab's history. The UK expansion programme is in full swing and new products that are set to revolutionise the ductwork industry are already in the pipeline.
A Lindab superstore for ventilation and air movement products was recently opened at Kinning Park in Glasgow. This 30,000ft2 unit is one of the largest facilities of its kind anywhere in the UK. Last year, Lindab's Bristol and Stockton branches expand into new, larger premises and similar moves are already planned for the Exeter and Sheffield branches.
'The branch expansion programme has created an unrivalled network that can deliver a huge range of products where they're needed anywhere in the country,' says Robertson. 'Lindab's Southampton branch is now six times the size of the one I managed.
'We've also brought manufacture of spiral ductwork to local centres throughout the country - with obvious benefits in terms of competitive pricing and continuity of supply. New production machinery is being installed even as we speak,' adds Robertson.
Lindab has a reputation for developing products, and looks set to extend its lead, as Goodspeed explains.
'Delegates at the recent joint ADCAS/HVCA seminar on ductwork in the 21st century heard just how vital energy-saving has become. At Lindab, we have weapons ready for the fight against energy excess - and we're building new ones. The surge in demand for our LindabSafe duct connection system reflects how the industry realises that it has to minimise air leakage.'
The spring Lindab will launch its SafeClick self-locking ductwork system. The pair both believe it will set a new benchmark for air-tight efficiency, while also speeding installation and boosting on site safety.
An exciting prospect that can only be turned into reality by experience, skill and enthusiasm, says Robertson, quick to point out modestly that Lindab's success is the result of teamwork.
'We've taken over from Geoff Lee and David Barker at a key moment in the company's history, and they're a tough act to follow. That Mike and I can look to the future with confidence is a tribute to them, to our colleagues in Sweden and above all to the men and women across the UK who bring Lindab service to the customer,' says Robertson
'It's a team we're proud to lead.'
T: 01604 788 350