17 January 2022 | Our Work

Innovator Insights: Gary Postle, Saint-Gobain PAM UK

Gary Postle, Saint-Gobain PAM UK – Sales Director, speaks to the Local Council Roads Innovation Group (LCRIG) about how and why there needs to be a shift in focus when it comes to delivering innovation. 

 

Q. What work experience did you have before moving into highways? 

A. “My first job was stacking shelves part-time in Tesco’s whilst studying business & finance at college. I then spent three years working for a shoe components company in Leicester before moving into highways. It’s surprising how my modest background has had a positive impact on my thinking with regard to innovation.”

 

Q. What has been your career highlight up to now?

A. “There has been so many! I suppose I have taken particular pride in securing major projects and major supply contracts through being judged by the customer to have been successful in creating compelling value propositions to reduce the total costs of installation and total cost of asset ownership as well as reducing risks with health & safety and sustainability in mind.”

 

Q. What is the main way that today’s highways sector differs from the one you first joined?

A. “Health & Safety is quite rightly the number one priority and I am not sure that this was always the case going back to when I first started 30+ years ago. Sustainability is fast emerging as a major consideration and is increasingly gathering momentum as a key consideration / differentiator. From a manufacturers point of view, it’s interesting that we now carefully consider the implications of these key issues and engage with main stakeholders to properly understand what they are looking to fix, accomplish or avoid and design our products by aligning our capabilities with their needs.”

 

Q. What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

A. “It will be no surprise I’m sure to read that the biggest challenge I have faced is managing the effects of Covid-19.”

 

Q. What do you think LCRIG Insight readers would be surprised to learn about you?

A. “Professionally, I am passionate about value creation and making our customers feel good about committing to our product solutions. We have become deeply involved with major organisations such as BT, National Highways and other network owners that have really seen a benefit in risks and costs reductions.

“Personally, I have an obsession with keeping fit and have participated in some famous events such as The Yukon River Quest (444 miles of paddling a boat), ran the London Marathon twice and Great North Run five times.”

 

Q. What do you think is the key to accelerating innovation within the roads sector?

A. “Instead of merely designing products, the focus needs to be on creating solutions and instead of delivering a message, there needs to be more collaboration throughout the market chain to include manufacturers working together to ensure compatibility of products.”

 

Q. How different will the sector look in 10 years time?

A. “It is difficult to say, but I would expect that digital technology will play a more prominent part in design and construction.”

 

Q. What is the best way of removing barriers to innovation?

A. “It’s important to agree on a ‘collaboration model’ that everyone understands. Implementation is then key in respecting the advancements in solutions since the initial design took place.”

 

Below is an update on other innovation initiatives that the LCRIG team have been busy working on over the last few months:

Innovation in Highways

In November 2021, LCRIG published a report entitled ‘Innovation in highways’. The report highlights some interesting findings on the differing approaches between local authorities and the challenges around implementing innovation in highways.

You can access the full report here.

 

The LCRIG / Steve Berry ‘Think Exceptional’ Innovation fund, supported by WJ Group

Last year the first companies to receive funding as part of the LCRIG / Steve Berry Think Exceptional Innovation Fund were announced.

Connor Specialist Paving (Tac-Grid), Community Models, Fitzpatrick Advisory (DASHA), NY Highways and Liverpool John Moores University have been selected to receive a share of the £150,000 Innovation fund, facilitated by LCRIG. For more information on the Innovation fund, please click here.

 

Keep up to date on all LCRIG initiatives by subscribing to our weekly e-newsletter, the LCRIG Insight here.