Meet Raymond: the man behind Kendra’s growth in Scotland

For four years, our Regional Manager, Raymond, has worked tirelessly to get our Scottish division up and running – and what he’s achieved is nothing short of commendable.

In this Q&A, Raymond talks about his 40-year career in BEMS – which stretches back to 1984 – and what he’s up to now. From career-transforming cartwheels to a spot of sumo wrestling and everything in-between! Here’s what Raymond had to say.

When did you join Kendra?

On 5th October 2020 – the day the Scottish region came to fruition. There were two of us then. Now, three years later, there’s 14 – and we’re still onboarding!

Between Paul Tonge (Northern Divisional Director) and I, we’ve seen sizable changes. Paul and I have known each other for over 30 years and I’ve known Gary (one of Kendra’s owners) just as long, if not longer. The guys wanted to branch out into Scotland and make Kendra a nationwide business. So, Paul got in touch and we started chatting.

Halfway through lockdown, the Scottish division was launched – and we haven’t come up for air since! I’ve never worked so hard in my life, but I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been a fantastic journey and now we’re bearing the fruits.

Where were you before?

Craig Alan Controls, but I was furloughed in March 2020 and joined Kendra seven months later. We were always going to set up the Scottish division, it was just a matter of timing.

I’d been at Craig Alan for four years and SSE before that. Prior to both, I’d spent a long time at Schneider Electric as a regional manager in Scotland.

Did you go straight into the BEMS industry from school?

No, I was an electrician to start with. I started my apprenticeship in 1974 at a big company called Balfour Kilpatrick. While there, I spent a year offshore working on oil rigs, rewired houses and worked on various large projects – lots of Marks & Spencer and Littlewoods stores.

While I was working on a site in Greenock (National Semi-Conductors), I met a guy from Johnson Controls. He told me they were looking for a trainee service engineer, so I applied and got the job. That was the start of my controls career, back in 1984. Fast forward 40 years and I’m still in the industry!

It wasn’t until 1989 that I moved to Satchwell, which was fantastic. That’s where I met Paul, Gary, Chris, Dave Clayton and all the boys. We go a long way back together.

How would you say the industry has changed since you joined?

It’s changed massively. BEMS was in its infancy when I started. In fact, some manufacturers were only just bringing out their first versions of a BEMS. The original Satchwell one was called ‘The Orange Box’, I believe. Then BAS700 came along and the rest is in the history books. I do remember the computers being massive bulky things. They needed two men to carry them!

Things have changed in as much as the world – and controllers themselves – have become more intelligent. Companies train people quicker now, and trainees learn faster.

The best thing is, when you get to my age and have a trusted name in the industry, you still reap benefits from customers you knew way back when because they give you repeat work. I need to pass those relationships on to our team in Scotland!

In the early days, it was only manufacturers, like Honeywell, Satchwell and Johnson Controls that looked after controls. There weren’t any real systems houses back then. That’s been one of the biggest developments – people have left big companies and set up on their own, for all the right reasons. Entrepreneurs like Chris and Gary.

Kendra’s growth since 1999, when the guys first kicked it off, has been phenomenal. And we’re still growing, aren’t we?

What’s next for Scotland?

In the next three to four years, I’ll probably retire or go part time. So the focus is on developing the team and getting someone in to replace me. I believe we’ve already got him, though. It’ll probably be Graeme, our current regional operations manager. We’ve also brought in a new account manager, who I’ll be training to do the sales part of my job.

Until last year, I was doing everything myself apart from admin. From selling the works to engineering it and managing projects. Eventually, it just got too much, so it’s great to now have so many experienced people onboard.

We introduced an expansive training plan in 2023/24, which we’ll reap rewards from in 2024/25. There’s been a large emphasis on training, which comes down to the varied mix of skills within the team.

What’s the main thing your role entails?

Spinning plates. When I get up in the morning, I spend an hour in the gym, run 5-10 miles and swim 25 lengths of my local pool….. I wish!!

In reality, I have numerous emails or texts requesting my time. Which is fine, but there aren’t enough hours in the day. Trying to manage my time effectively can be difficult. Especially because I spend so much time travelling. I probably rack up an average of 2,000 miles a month or something like that.

The thing is, Scotland’s a massive, sporadic territory and we have customers and engineers in the north and south, as well as the central belt. If I have to travel from one end to the other it’s an eight-hour journey.

That’s why, if I travel to the Aberdeen area, for instance, I spend two or three days there. During that time, I’ll see as many customers and engineers as I can to make the best use of my time. This is especially the case for Aberdeen as I’d say 50% of our work comes from there.

We’ve got a brilliant customer base and my ‘swan song’, if you want to call it that, is that we don’t let customers down. And that’s why we get so much repeat work. My diary fills itself up because people email requesting to see me and then it’s a case of letting people know when I’m available. I call it plate spinning because I’ve got a lot a lot going on at any one time.

Kendra Regional Manager, Scotland

Kendra engineers forum in Scotland

Kendra office in Scotland

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I like talking, as you’ve probably noticed. That’s why I don’t think I could retire at this stage in my life. Sitting in the house and watching breakfast TV doesn’t float my boat. I love meeting people, I love troubleshooting and I love resolving problems. Once I’ve got everyone else up to speed, my intention is to go out and do business development and nothing else.

What’s your biggest achievement at work?

My biggest achievement, I’ve got to say, is taking the business to the size it’s at now. We’ve gone from just myself and one other engineer to more than 14 team members – all of which have been carefully handpicked. We’re lucky to have such a great team and it’s why we’re successful.

We’ve still got a way to go but I like to say it’s not about reaching a particular destination, it’s about the journey. And we do have some major wins in the pipeline, which I hope we can talk about soon!

Favourite thing about Kendra?

The autonomy you’re given. Having worked for some big corporate companies in the past, they tend not to have the open culture that Kendra has. It’s all very commercially driven and not as trusting. It’s not like that at Kendra, Chris and Gary have a great set up here.

I know a core of the guys in the business, too. David (Midlands Divisional Director) and I have worked together for many years. As I mentioned, I’ve worked with Paul and Gary a long time, too. In the late 80’s, I used to pick Gary up from Glasgow airport and bring him to the Satchwell office. He was a commercial manager at the time and helped with commercial stuff on large tenders. Gary would come up through the week and stay in Scotland, so I have great memories of him from back then.

Favourite part of the working week?

Watching people succeed. Seeing engineers going from being unsure how to do something to later saying ‘I’ve learned something new today’. And it’s all down to the team we’ve got. They’re loyal, they help each other out and they pass useful information to those who need it. We’ve got a couple of fast-track engineers onboard and we’re investing a lot into their training.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my wife, Alyson. I play golf regularly and enjoy watching my team, Celtic Football Club. I’m a season ticket holder at Celtic Park and go as often as I can.

I haven’t played golf for a while because I’m recovering from an operation I had in September. It’s held me back from doing cartwheels at the work Christmas party, too, unfortunately…

And I love socialising. My wife and I love going out. She plays golf as well so we play together sometimes. Our son, Daryl, is a 2nd Engineer and has just passed his chiefs ticket. He works on private yachts and has seen more of the world at 28 than I will ever see. He tends to be away from home for a couple of months at a time and we see as much of him as we can when he is home.

Any interesting stories ?

How I got into sales is an interesting one. As you know, I was on the tools before I went into sales, working as a service engineer at Satchwell. It was a fantastic company to work for and we had a boss called Derek, who was a brilliant manager and mentor.

Derek saw me doing a cartwheel, believe it or not, at a Christmas party. After seeing me do that cartwheel, back in 1988 or whenever it was, Derek thought I had something about me. Something that could be developed in a sales role. Anyway, an opportunity came up and he put me forward. I never looked back.

On top of that, David Clayton and I also used to do sumo wrestling, believe it or not. Back when we were boys.

Contact us

Got any questions? Find your local office and drop us a message. Alternatively, email