Paul Kinghorn talks training, expansion and all things KNX

At a time when the business is assessing the potential to establish a foothold in London, these are exciting days for myself and the KNX building technologies division, which will play a leading role in this geographic expansion.

As KNX is very much my area of responsibility, I am very proud how we have grown it within the business, that we are well on our way to establishing our reputation across the UK and that our online sales are continually growing.

I was delighted to be given the opportunity to develop my own area of the business and it very much reflects the culture here at Park that if you work hard and demonstrate commitment, you will be given the opportunity to make a real impact. This happens right across the business and is one of the key reasons why so many people have stayed loyal and have grown with the business.

I joined the company 12 years after answering an advert for a smart home engineer. I was offered the job, learned a great deal about programming and then took on the role of project manager working across the UK, where the company offered a design and installation service based around the KNX protocol for high-end residential properties.

By 2012 income from the custom install division was growing but the downside was that staff were continually travelling to the South East of England to carry out work, often at weekends, and the business was stretched.

At this point a wise decision was taken to withdraw the installation service and revert to the company’s core strength of wholesale distribution. My division now focuses on sales of KNX products with the website a vital tool for offering anytime ordering of key KNX brands like Gira, of which we are one of only two distributors in the UK, Theben and ABB.

These brands have always been very supportive. They are all innovative, dynamic businesses that we remain very close to.

The truly exciting thing about our sector is that game-changing products are being introduced all the time. It is our aim to keep up to pace with all these new developments and as such we are continually introducing new brands and products. Since 2017 industry leading names such as BES, Steinel and Volare have come on board, with the promise of more to follow.

Furthermore, the company has established the only northern KNX Training Academy in the UK at our Gateshead headquarters, where we run regular KNX certification courses for electricians who want to learn the technology and move into new markets. The building technologies division currently contributes well over £1million in revenues and there are ambitious plans to grow. Indeed, a central plank of the proposed London base will be the establishment of a showroom and second training facility to attract electricians from the south of the country.

There is a great deal of interest from electricians as well as other trades looking to embrace KNX and the new opportunities that it offers in terms of business. Naturally, we are very keen to see an increase in the numbers going down this route and our certification courses allow an increased supply of trained people. Our aim is to build long term relationships with all those taking part so that they regard Park and as the first choice when procuring products for future projects. In this respect, the prospect of a base in London is very exciting and would be a tremendous milestone for the business.