Also online at: www.dijonline.co.uk 22 THE door industry journal summer 2021 Industry News Kevin Lindeque and his 20 Years with SWS UK – The Interview SWS UK will shortly be hanging up its celebratory bunting, as Managing Director, Kevin Lindeque approaches his 20th anniversary with the business. Kevin will be the 10th member of staff to reach this prestigious milestone with SWS UK, perhaps demonstrating the manufacturer’s commitment to not only its products and customers, but also the professional development of its employees. Having spent almost the whole of this millennium with SWS UK, Kevin has seen and undoubtedly played a fundamental role in many of the exciting changes within SWS UK’s millennial years. To mark his upcoming anniversary, we’ve interviewed Kevin to learn more about his time so far, both with SWS UK and within the shutter and garage door industry… When did you join SWS UK? Back in August 2001 and I’ve never looked back! What was your first role with SWS UK? To begin with, I was Regional Sales Manager, covering the Southwest of England. Before this, and having recently relocated from Zimbabwe, I worked alongside a distributor for Xpanda who put me in touch with Andrew Dootson (former SWS UK Managing Director). After accepting the RSM position, my family and I settled in Worcester and stayed there for the next 4 years. Tell us about your different roles at SWS UK and your progression to Managing Director. In 2005, we relocated to Lancaster so that I could be closer to SWS UK’s head office for my new role as Office Manager. Shortly after, I was promoted to National Sales Manager and a few years later, Commercial Manager. My time as Commercial Manager provided wider exposure to the rest of the business and allowed me to understand the different markets within the UK. This experience was a great foundation for my current role as Managing Director, which I accepted in 2018. What three words would you use to describe your current role? Challenging, rewarding, fulfilling How do you feel the industry has changed during the last 20 years? SWS has always been incredibly customer focused. It’s this focus, plus our drive to be the best that has protected us against all the new entrants into the market, where the price is often the only thing they have to offer. SWS UK has over 120 employees, many of whom hold their own impressive service record with the business. Tell us about SWS UK’s investment in people. Whilst it’s such a cliché, staff really are the lifeblood of any business. Andrew Dootson and later Colin Reoch (former Managing Director) created a culture that appreciated the value of SWS UK’s employees. As a business, this culture is something we are particularly proud of and it’s certainly reflected in the long service of many of our team. And our team are one of the reasons so many of our customers have stayed with us over the years, which we’re extremely grateful for. SWS UK has retained its position as the market leader for over 35-years. What three things would you say has contributed to this? Integrity - to both the employees and our customers. Innovation - in both our products and the way we support our customers. We’ve missed our SeceuroSchool training days and are eager to get them up and running as soon as we can. Customer-centric - customers are at the centre of everything we do. What is your fondest memory of working at SWS UK? Most definitely the customer event days we’ve held in the past. Last year was SWS UK’s 35th year in business, however, we were unable to celebrate in the way we’d hoped because of the pandemic. As soon as we’re able, we plan to host a big event to celebrate this major milestone. It will be a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with our customers and one that I’m very much looking forward to. Where do you see yourself / SWS UK in the next 20-years? Covid has put the brakes on our plans, but we have some exciting product developments in the pipeline which will further cement our position in both the security shutter and garage door sector. We’re gratified by the commitment and loyalty of SWS UK’s employees and that of our distributors. Covid presented us with a challenging 18 months and the disruptions to our supply chain means our sector is still experiencing turbulent times. Despite this, we continue to be in a strong position and would like to thank our distributors for sticking with us. And finally, What’s your guilty pleasure outside of work? When I’m not road cycling, I’m a bit of a twitcher and you’ll often find me birdwatching in the beautiful local countryside.