Trust and collaboration are key to industry recovery says the new Managing Director of Saint-Gobain Weber.
Paul Lake joined Weber during one of the most disruptive years for construction. Given the impact of coronavirus, the UK’s exit from the EU and a raft of regulatory changes to tackle issues such as fire safety and sustainability, the construction industry will continue to feel the winds of change for the foreseeable future. However, Paul is feeling optimistic about what lies ahead for building products. “The pandemic has forced people to look at things in a different way and the industry has responded very positively; the NHS Nightingale Hospitals were a fantastic example of that,” he says.
“The industry has collaborated brilliantly during this challenging time. It has been refreshing to see how open and honest everyone in the supply chain has been about which materials they need for each project and when they need them. This enabled continuity of supply to a huge number of live projects. We must not lose that spirit of collaboration when we are out the other side. There should be no going back.
“I’m also looking forward to seeing how the industry embraces initiatives like the Construction Innovation Hub’s Value Toolkit to help to keep the momentum of value-based decisions to drive better outcomes on all fronts.
“As it was impossible to predict the effects of COVID-19, it is equally as difficult to say how Brexit will impact construction over the coming weeks, months and longer-term. Obviously, there are uncertain times ahead. But for me and the wider Weber executive team, we’re preparing the business for what we’ve all come to know as the ‘new normal’.
“Yes, things are different now and that poses its own challenges. But is also presents us with huge opportunities and new avenues to explore: our interaction with our customers; driving further efficiencies into our manufacturing processes; enhancing the technical knowledge of our team; and developing exciting new products and systems to help our customers achieve all of their desired outcomes.”
Paul has worked within the Saint-Gobain Group for almost 20 years. He started at Saint-Gobain Ecophon, an acoustic system solutions manufacturer, where he held a number of senior roles including National Sales Director and more latterly Managing Director responsible for Saint-Gobain’s ceilings businesses in the UK, Ireland, Benelux and South Africa. Before his move to Weber, Paul also held the role of Sales Director at British Gypsum.
“Weber’s values are very closely aligned with my own,” says Paul. “The bedrock of my values is trust, so I’m looking forward to building on Weber’s customer-centric approach, ensuring Weber continue to be considered a truly trusted partner to all of its customers. I’m a strong advocate for putting yourself in the customer’s shoes; seeing everything from their perspective. We need to truly understand our customer’s biggest challenges and find solutions. If it is important to them, it is important to us.
“Weber’s company motto is ‘We Care’. The team at Weber live and breathe this. It means caring about people and the places that matter to them, and it applies as much to our colleagues as it does to our customers. There is a clear line of sight between Weber’s purpose and that of our parent company Saint-Gobain ‘Making the World a Better Home’. Our number one priority is the safety and wellbeing of our colleagues and customers. We’re focussing on creating a safe and supportive environment so that everyone can come to work with confidence, thrive and perform at their best.”