In 2022 we were privileged to witness our Company Chairman Mark Davies receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. The Builders’ Merchants Awards are the longest-running industry awards, recognising colleagues, companies and teams from across the United Kingdom. Over 24 categories, the Builders’ Merchants Awards acknowledge the tremendous achievements from across the industry. Every year over 700 colleagues gather at the Builders' Merchants Awards to celebrate achievement and to raise a glass to those who have excelled in the industry. The following is an article featured in the awards supplement following the event.

"After four years of working for a timber importer, initially as a Management Trainee and later in sales across different regions of the country, Mark Davies returned home for the weekend. During this visit, his father approached him with an enticing proposition – to consider joining the family business, Llandeilo Builders Supplies. Llandeilo Builders Supplies was a prosperous builders' merchant located in a small market town in west Wales. The discussion was brief, revolving around a single question and its corresponding answer: If the business could be expanded upon success, Mark's father assured him of the necessary resources and support.

Convinced by the opportunity, Mark and his wife, Hazel, relocated back to their hometown. At the time of Mark's entry into LBS in 1983, the company was engaged in the trade of timber, building materials, and coal. Under Mark's leadership, LBS's growth has been remarkable, evolving from a single-branch establishment into a 36-branch enterprise, ultimately becoming the largest independent builders' merchant in South Wales.

Mark attributes LBS's success to a combination of good fortune and the ability to seize opportunities. His vision from the outset was to transform LBS into a multi-branch business. The first such chance presented itself after three years when a local branch of Jewson closed down on Christmas Eve. By January 2nd, Mark had acted swiftly, securing a commercial unit in the town, finalizing an agreement with the landlord, relocating stock and a vehicle, setting up an office, and eventually opening the branch with a team of three staff members.

Subsequently, LBS expanded, adding a fourth and fifth branch within four years. To support the growing number of branches, a small head office was established.

After six years of dedicated effort, Mark, then 33 years old, assumed the role of Managing Director, with his father stepping up as Chairman. Mark's fresh approach brought about new challenges and opportunities for the company.

Over his 39-year tenure at LBS, Mark has experienced numerous ups and downs. For instance, in 2008, sales in August plummeted by 40% compared to July, posing significant challenges. However, LBS remained resilient and continued to thrive, culminating in a record-breaking year in 2021, marked by the best-ever Profit Share payout for the company.

Other noteworthy successes include:

• LBS sales growth to £89 million and net profitability of £9.7 million at the end of 2021
• Diversification of the business with the introduction of dedicated civils, roofing branches, and kitchens & bathroom showrooms
• The purchase of a timber manufacturing and engineering plant, creating vertical integration in the business
• The creation of a dedicated plumbers’ merchant: Total Plumbing, now comprising 16 branches with a sales value of £18.5 million
• The creation of a successful LBS Online business that stands alone supplying UK wide and further
• Absolute focus on Balance Sheet value with all properties owned, with almost no debt in the company
• A commitment to people and family values as Mark leads a team of 480 staff, some of whom are still with LBS since Mark’s first day.

There is no doubt that LBS would not be the business it is today without Mark’s vision, leadership, and unbelievable hard work. He has been demanding of all around him and clear in his expectations of success. Mark’s desire to improve and remain a market leader continues with the purchase of a new, modern Head Office housing 50 staff and the implementation of a new IT system to take the business forward.

Family has remained at the core for Mark. He still lives in the village he and Hazel grew up in and has been committed to the prudent running and growth of the business to leave it in a strong place for the next generation. It is no surprise that LBS has achieved so much with Mark as Managing Director. He has been the critical cog in all that LBS has become and its performance and reputation are a reflection of Mark’s values.

In 2022, Mark steps up to the role of Company Chairman, passing on the day-to-day running and leadership of the business to his son and daughter. Despite the many awards won by the business, Mark deserves to stand alone and be recognized as an individual for all he has done in his near four decades at LBS."

For additional details about the Builders Merchants Awards ceremony, please visit this link.