New Shape Senior Leadership Team


Robinson Manufacturing (RML) has seen significant growth over the last 5 years and its Senior Leadership Team (SLT) has developed with the business whilst driving the different elements of the company’s continued success. Throughout the process, through which RML has grown from a small regional player into one of the leading national players in the sector, the team have maintained the strong core values of the original family business.

CEO Simon Kidney leads the strategy, whilst allowing our SLT the freedom to lead their teams, innovating wherever improvements can be made. Managing Director Mark Smy operates an open-door policy with our values at the forefront of his mind and brings great value to the evolution of our physical manufacturing processes.

As a talented and collaborative team, our leaders are a mixture of experts who have either grown with the company or joined the business with skills that match our new status. In this article, we explore how the SLT are meeting today’s challenges and turning objectives into reality.

new shape senior leadership team

CEO Simon Kidney


Advocates for change

RML’s ambitions as a business are now based around continuous improvement rather than set goals. This requires strong people to lead the way, as well as developing processes wherever improvements can be made. So our leaders must be able to adapt to and embrace change, as CEO Simon Kidney comments:

“It is essential that our Senior Leaders are advocates of change to evolve and meet customers’ requirements. Although I oversee major business decisions, our leaders are given the freedom to innovate and encourage their teams to implement change at all levels.”

This year brought the important appointment of Matt Davies – Head of HSEQ – to encourage a change in the way our workforce view safety. The wellbeing of our employees continues to be a priority and Matt has applied his knowledge and external resources to educate teams around key safety principles.

As we continue to drive proactivity into the business, becoming a certified IOSH training provider this year has been an important step in teaching employees how to identify possible risks. Instilling this confidence and responsibility in production supervisors allows our message to be clearly communicated on the factory floor daily. Especially pertinent during the COVID-19 pandemic, Matt’s robust risk assessments and contingency plans have provided reassurance for our employees who are unable to work from home.

Matt also works closely with heads of production across our joist, truss and timber frame factories to ensure these safety critical processes are embedded on the factory floor alongside quality assurance procedures. Alongside this, the HSEQ team closely monitor and maintain our facilities with a dedicated maintenance team, to identify areas that may require upgrading for wellbeing and efficiency purposes.

Head of Truss Production Mat Harbour focuses on optimising productivity in the truss manufacturing operation. As we have grown revenues, innovation has been needed to make sure we continue to meet customer requirements, considering machinery, workflow around our premises or shift patterns. Monitoring call off volumes ensures the right size teams in the most appropriate location produce high quality products in a safe and timely manner.



Vast industry experience

As well as the expertise our senior team bring to their roles, our leaders also have decades of accumulated function and industry-specific experience. This allows us to constantly innovate, identify new market trends and equip employees with the training they need to meet not just today’s demands, but to plan for tomorrow’s as well.

Mat’s product knowledge, drawn from his experience as an estimator and designer is an attribute that allows him to quickly allocate work and judge timescales. In the years since moving into production management, Mat has collaborated with design to overcome technical challenges and ensure the vision from design is translated into the finished product.


With 20 years’ experience at RML, Matt Korny has progressed through various roles in production, logistics, sales and leading a large team of Truss Estimators and Designers. Noticing an opportunity to utilise Matt’s experience in the next stage for RML, CEO Simon Kidney recently moved Matt into a new Head of Strategy position.

This far-reaching role involves implementing our strategic goals and ensuring customer journey alignment throughout the business and between departments. He will be identifying opportunities for medium and long-term improvement and overseeing the expansion of our product offering. 


As Matt has moved into his new job, Sarah Horden has stepped up from her Head of Joist Design position in a new Head of Design role, leading the whole team of truss and joist designers. Sarah’s ability to take on managing an even larger team based across the UK was clearly demonstrated through her leadership of the Joist design team following RML’s acquisition of National Hickman’s ETFS business in 2019.

Sarah takes it upon herself to constantly build on her own education and passes on this technical knowledge to her team. She has overseen the introduction of various new processes and software over the past 18 months, ensuring our capabilities are constantly improving. Under her leadership, RML’s Design teams are also becoming stronger than ever with cross-training across products, allowing designers to reach their full potential and provide their expert advice to customers.


Making this smooth transition into a new company with different processes is a testament to a leader’s capabilities and Head of Joist Production Jamie Wilkins has also successfully made the transition from ETFS. Following a 6-year period of working in joist production himself, he has a strong grasp around all aspects of manufacturing processes and the importance of communicating with customers from quote through to delivery.

Jamie has recently taken the reins of all our joist production facilities across the country, centralising the management of these operations, whilst demonstrating his ability to build motivation amongst his teams and meet deadlines.


Appointments to match our ambition

For our CEO Simon Kidney, hiring leaders who understand our ambition and can further develop our capabilities is essential to making growth possible.

As we started our journey to develop the small family business Robinson Manufacturing was five years ago, Head of Marketing Eppie Anderson was brought in to develop the company’s name into a leading and recognisable brand. Refreshing the physical logo and the look and feel of all RML’s sales materials was only the start. Incorporating the company’s values into all internal and external processes allowed us to design the customer experience we wanted to offer and to effectively communicate about the business to customers and the housebuilding market.


This year also brought the important appointment of Sam Gartside as Finance Director. Sam’s experience gained from previously managing financial operations on a global scale proved an ideal match for RML’s now national presence. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sam has been instrumental in helping the business to navigate the financial and commercial challenges required to safeguard the business.

Sam ensures we have accurate and timely financial information, allowing Senior Leaders to make well supported decisions. Especially as RML explores new avenues, Sam can support by ensuring any opportunities are evaluated so there is a full understanding of the effect any investment may have on both the short and long-term finances of the business.


Headed by Mark Gibson, our Business Development team have been integral to RML’s growth as we have built the business from its regional roots into a national supplier to the housebuilding sector. Mark’s team take a pro-active approach to maintaining strong relationships with customers as well as to identifying new business opportunities.

Listening carefully to customer needs to ensure RML delivers to expectations, our Business Development team also gather extensive market intelligence and analyse industry trends. This knowledge reassures housebuilders that we understand their needs and further strengthens long-term relationships, driving repeat orders.



Department support and role development

Production environments are always challenging to manage, and with seven factories across the UK, RML has appointed Darren Cross as Head of Production Oversight. Darren leads on consistent application of processes and policies as well as development of staff across our manufacturing facilities.

In a business built on family values , Darren brings 25 years’ experience in people management, allowing him to build strong relationships and open communication across the business, identify opportunities for staff and team development and continue to improve productivity.


Our Head of Operations Andreya Ashwell has been a prime example of how opportunities within the business are identified to utilise skills in a new way. Although Andreya joined the business as Head of HR, her ability to support multiple departments led to her appointment as Head of Operations.

Andreya’s role is wide-reaching, from Logistics to managing our Customer Experience Team. Drawing on her HR background, Andreya connects with various areas of the business to identify areas of improvement and oversee strategic objectives.

As RML has grown, the Customer Experience Team (CET) has become a hub for all customer enquiries. It has been Andreya’s responsibility to centralise this function across all sites and make the customer journey as seamless as possible. With cross training an important next step for the team, Andreya empowers her team to understand the integral part they play in our customers’ experience and to efficiently handle every enquiry.


Head of HR Anna Kennedy also provides support for various departments and Senior Leaders in any challenges and decisions they make. In addition to providing guidance around the best methods to manage employee-related issues, Anna continually works on strategies to improve employee engagement across the company.

The success of RML relies on the dedication of our employees to provide high quality products and service. This begins with effective recruitment, as Anna aims to attract talent who provide value for RML. We then retain talent through recognising and rewarding achievements, embedding company values into everything we do.

Simon has been pro-active by introducing more women to the business, developing from no representation in the Senior Leadership Team to just under 50% in the last 5 years. Strong female leaders in the business such as Sarah, Eppie, Sam, Andreya and Anna are role models for women entering the construction industry.


Every employees’ efforts are essential to RML’s success and this begins with the inspiration from our leaders. More information around our individual leader’s background is available here.



If you have a development project you’d like to talk to our timber frame team about, email or call us on 01933 279597.