Stuart Mawhinney is Duct Products' new MD
Based in Northern Ireland, Des’ journey in the industry started in the late 1960’s, when at the age of 15 he worked as an apprentice draughtsman at McFarlane Sheet Metal. It was there he met Ronnie Grant, with whom he went on to co-found Duct Products.
Since then the company has become a ventilation market-leader in Northern Ireland, continuing to grow even after Ronnie’s retirement in 1998, eventually culminating in its acquisition in 2011 by Elta Group. Des remained as managing director, working alongside Elta Group to manoeuvre Duct Products into the prominent position it now occupies.
Mark Rickard, chief executive of Elta Group said: “As all who have met Des will attest, he is a force of nature and a true icon of the industry in Northern Ireland. It’s been a pleasure to work with him, and he’s certainly leaving a huge gap for others to fill.”
Stepping up to that challenge is Stuart Mawhinney, who brings a wealth of experience to the role having worked as sales director at Duct Products for over 15 years. He has been integral in securing a number of high value contracts, and hopes to continue where his predecessor left off.
Stuart said: “The growth of Duct Products can be directly attributed to Des’ determination, alongside his ability to spot opportunity and act decisively when it matters. I’ve learnt a great deal from him and while he will be hugely missed on both a professional and a personal level, we’re excited about what the future holds.”
It is this enthusiasm that has enabled Duct Products to continue operating under the spectre of COVID-19, as Stuart worked tirelessly during lockdown to ensure its impact on sales was minimised. With a number of customers in the healthcare market, it was critical that operational capacity was maintained.
Stuart concluded: “We supply a lot of our equipment to schools and hospitals, so while 2020 has been a challenging time for all businesses, we’ve been able to continue working throughout the last few months. This has put us in a position of relative strength within the Northern Irish ventilation market, and when this is combined with the support of a global company like Elta Group, the future looks extremely positive for Duct Products.”