Last week, Ken O’Grady, Divisional Sales Manager (Paint & Coatings) marked twenty-five years with Carbon Group.
We were delighted to speak to Ken about some of his stand-out memories since he joined the company.
Read on to find out more about how the industry has changed and developed over the last two and a half decades.
What are your memories of starting your role at Carbon Group?
I was part of the group of Auxiliary Chemicals Ltd people brought into Carbon Group after the acquisition of the Auxiliary Chemicals. At time, I was an Area Sales Manager at Auxiliary. I had been in my role there for only about a year, so was still finding my feet.
The announcement of the change was very sudden. In my case, a typical Auxiliary sales meeting in Dublin was ‘interrupted’ by the MD of Auxiliary with the announcement of the takeover.
Obviously, there was apprehension and some fear about the change – what it meant, who was staying / who was going, would our roles remain the same etc.
However, it became obvious to me, early on, that Carbon Group’s philosophy of Global Technology, Local Support was one that aligned very much with my own thoughts and ethos.
The new owners did their best to assure us that they were focused on ‘driving on’ with the business and providing supports for us all to achieve what we wanted. I settled into the new regime quickly; I enjoyed the new envirnoment and the business started to grow for all of us ‘Auxiliary’ salespeople.
I look back at those times with great fondness; I remember the strong learnings I gained during those early years.
Describe one of your proudest moments with the company?
Pride is not something I pay much heed to on an individual basis.
I take a lot of pride seeing the people I have brought into the business thrive and flourish. It’s always great to see someone go onto really exceed what they, themselves, thought they could do within business when they started out.
Our business only succeeds because of its people; without a strong team of people pulling in the same direction, the whole thing fails.
However, if I was to pick out one personal moment, it would be the opening of the Dublin ‘Paint Centre’ in Finglas.
For me, Carbon Paint Centre was the culmination of lots of things: an idea in my head to ‘unify’ the paint business into one central hub coming to fruition. It was a vehicle for putting full focus on paint and equipment as a core business unit and a chance to create a platform for the paint business to grow on its own merits.
How has the paint and coatings industry changed during your time with Carbon Group?
The paint industry is an extremely competitive one. It’s an environment where people, products, customers and suppliers ‘change’ on a very swift basis.
Keeping up is sometimes hard to do 😊!! I have been involved in ‘surface treatments’ – be they electroplating, wet painting, powder coating and pre-treatment chemistry – for over 30 years now in total.
If I was to pick out a major change over all my time in the industry, it would have to be the growth in powder coating as a technology, together with the advancement in powder coating application equipment.
It has been nothing short of staggering: in the mid-1990s it was almost a ‘novelty’ product range, whereas now, it’s the most important industrial coating technology. I’m delighted that through our superb partners at Akzo Nobel/Interpon, we continue to lead the way in the Irish powder coating marketplace.
Carbon Group would like to extend congratulations to Ken on his 25th work anniversary with the company. Many thanks, Ken, for your hard work and dedication over the years!
For the latest industry news as well as Ken’s own personal views on international business development, you can connect with/follow Ken O’Grady on LinkedIn.