Awards 2020
Virtual Awards  |  Friday 14 May 2021


Representing all corners of the United Kingdom, here is our distinguished judging panel for the Builders' Merchants Awards 2020.

Robin Beal Chairman Independent Plumbing Group

Robin has 30 years’ experience in the industry, from Trading Director for invoice-clearing house United Merchants PLC to suppliers such as Hunter Plastics Ltd. Consequently, he acquired an insight into the merchant market that led him to eventually form The IPG. Robin founded The IPG in 2013 with the aim to support small independent plumbing, heating and bathroom specialists with growth and development. In 7 years, he has developed The IPG into the biggest and fastest-growing membership group in the sector, employing 17 staff, working with 100+ suppliers and has over 200-member outlets with a combined turnover in excess of £400m. Robin’s never-ending passion is for independent businesses, helping them to grow and develop. He lives on the south-coast with his wife and two daughters.

Ken Beney Managing Director Fayers Plumbing and Building Ltd

Ken is the Managing Director of London based Fayers Plumbing and Building Ltd and their Just Add Water showroom brand. He also supports the FORTIS Buying group as the Catergory Director for Showering. Ken has over 20+ years of experience in the industry and has held Senior Directors positions with the Marleton Cross Ltd (MX Group), Culligan International and Robert Lee Distribution.     

Brian Berry Chief Executive Federation of Master Builders

Brian Berry is Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders. Prior to his current position Brian was Director of External Affairs at the FMB with responsibility for UK and EU policy, public affairs and media relations. Before the FMB, he worked at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), where he was Head of UK Public Policy. Brian regularly provides commentary on construction issues for TV, Radio, national and trade press.

Allan Durning h&b Development Group

Allan Durning is an independent consultant on the Building Materials space and founder of the Timber Buying Group; previously he was the Chief Executive Officer of the Independent UK Building Material Supplier, National Buying Group. Previously Mr. Durning was the Director of Sales and Marketing of British Gypsum Isover, a UK based firm owned by Saint Gobain, providing Glasswool Insulation. Prior, he was the Director of Builder Center Bulk, the major contractor and house builder division of Wolseley. He has over 30 years of experience in distribution and manufacturing of building materials. He has extensive experience in operations, marketing and sales. Mr Durning is a Chartered Marketer of the Institute of Marketing, Fellow of both CIM and CMI. He was President of the Institute of Builders Merchants and is a Freeman of the City of London and Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Builders Merchants (WCBM).

Kishor Harsiani Finance and Strategy Director IBC Buying Group

Kishor, a qualified chartered accountant, has held senior executive leadership roles in global multinational organisations and has lived and worked in a variety of different countries and cultures. He has successfully led teams and delivered business results across multiple disciplines including Business Development & Commercial, Finance & Systems, Business Improvement, IT, Safety, Divestments and Programme Management Offices. Currently a finance and strategy director at IBC Buying Group.

Chris Hayward Managing Director NMBS

Chris Hayward has been Managing Director of NMBS for over 17 years, in which time it has grown to be the largest buying society for Independent Building, Plumbing, Hardware & Timber Merchants in the UK, with an annual turnover of over £1.7bn, with over 1100 members and 3400 branches. In addition, he was elected President of EURO-MAT, the leading European cooperation of independent builders merchants in 2015.

John Newcomb CEO Builders Merchants Federation

John has led the BMF, the trade association for the building materials supply chain, since 2012.  During his tenure he has overseen the introduction of initiatives that have broadened its relevance and appeal and the BMF has grown in member numbers and influence to become the voice of the merchant industry. John is the current President of UFEMAT, the European trade body for the merchant industry, and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Builders Merchants. He received the Trade Association Forum’s prestigious Leadership Award in 2019.

Stewart Pierce Master Worshipful Company of Builders Merchants

Stewart Pierce has spent over 30 years in the Merchant sector. As the former Commercial and Finance Director of Parker Building Supplies, a 16 branch mixed merchant in south east England, led it to become a £70m turnover business employing over 300 team members. For the past 2 years he has been Managing Director of the 10 branch fencing and hard landscaping business AVS which which is based across the South and East of England taking it to sale in March 2020 and remains as a consultant to that business. For six years 2011 - 2017 he was vice chair of the BMF leading on its modernisation and image as well as its relocation from London to Coventry - helping transform it into a thriving respected industry body. In October 2020 he became Master of the Worshipful Company of Builders’ Merchants. Passionate about the industry and specifically about the education and development of younger members and how their skills can and should be utilised in future business enhancement so that we really can truly offer ‘a career without limits’.

Tom Reynolds Chief Executive BMA

Tom leads the association and is its principal spokesperson. He also spearheads the BMA’s policy advocacy on behalf of members. Before joining the BMA in 2019 Tom was Commercial Director at the British Ceramic Confederation, where he led on international trade and employment policy. Prior to entering the trade association world, Tom worked as a journalist and producer in the public sector trade media.

Mike Rigby CEO MRA Marketing

Mike Rigby has played a major role in launching the Awards judging process 19 years ago and has made MRA Marketing a strategic PR, creative marketing & insights agency, specialising for 25+ years in construction, building materials and home improvements. No.1 in the Construction Marketing Award agency league for helping its customers grow, MRA devises winning strategies and builds brands, so customers grow much faster than their competitors.

David Szymanski Chairman National Buying Group

David trained as a mechanical engineer with London Brick, and then moved into general management under Hanson. In his early career he worked in Iran and Swaziland, project managing the construction of new brick plants. David spent a short period with ARC in both concrete pipes and aggregates, before becoming MD of Desimpel in Belgium. He then moved back to the UK as MD of Hanson Brick, and then Hanson Building Products. Builders merchants formed a large proportion of his customer base and consequently he has a good knowledge of the sector. David retired from full time employment in 2009, but retains an involvement with the sector as Chairman of NBG.  

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