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20 Years at Stancold: Interview with Kevin Gillham, CEO

Our CEO Kevin Gillham joined Stancold 20 years ago this month. We thought it would be a good opportunity to ask him a few questions about his experiences here and more importantly, where he sees the business going in the future.

How has the business changed in the last 20 years?

When I joined Stancold we were primarily involved in Supermarket coldroom projects. We had one major client and they made up around 60% of our business. Back then, we were producing and providing injected Polyurethane rooms for supermarkets and for the larger projects we were primarily producing Polystyrene cored panels with a Fire Retardant Additive. Fire protection was not much of a consideration in the marketplace and was not a consideration on many projects.

Working relationships were based on how well you were liked and then price. Specification was not a key driver.

Over the last 20 years, this business and this approach has been turned on its head. We have consciously made the decision to drive projects through product and specification and the market has demanded exactly this. Now, most projects are designed and specified with risk in mind, with the devil being in the detail. Smaller contractors who don’t have the correct capabilities, insurances, approvals and eye for detail have all but been pushed out of the market.

Though the new market is a lot more demanding, it can only be a good thing for our industry. We are happy that we can call ourselves market leaders still.

What do you think is Stancold’s key strength?

I feel our key strength is our desire to do right. Whether at the front end, project delivery or indeed in how we conduct ourselves in our marketplace and beyond. We believe that what we give out, will come back to us. This has served us well and we enjoy mostly repeat business from a wide, loyal and happy client base.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learnt?

Never stop learning and never think you have reached the end of your journey.

What are your plans for the business over the next five years?

We have an exciting management team and indeed, significantly, a great team with some very wide ranging skill sets. We have consciously recruited with an eye to the future. We have ambitious plans throughout the group and have divided the different parts of our business: Food, Fire and Cleanroom.

We are investing heavily in front end specification and design/drawing in order to limit risk and improve the experience for the customer in terms of understanding the offering in a clear fashion.

We plan to continue and expand our presence in the food sector through quality and service, to become a leader in the UK and beyond in our Fire division and to continue to develop our cleanroom division to become a leader in this meticulous market.

Staying still is not an option!

Do you have any favourite projects we’ve worked on?

There have been so many. My favourite projects are those where we work closely with clients at the very front end. The ones when we are collaborative and able to really use our experience to help people remove risk and to get a sensible, logical and well thought out project for the best value. This leads to repeat and long-term business!