My Donaldson journey is probably a little bit different to most, because although I’ve been with Kitchens International for a decade, we’ve only been part of the Donaldson Group Family since 2021.

I have to admit I couldn’t help being a little apprehensive about the acquisition to start with, but I needn’t have been! The Donaldson Group culture is very similar to that of Kitchens International, it is a very creative and supportive place to work, where everyone pulls together, and bounces ideas off each other. Group processes are slightly different to what I was used to, but people took the time to help and support me as I adapted.

The biggest change for me was moving from working on just one brand to five! I’m now responsible for Optima Kitchens, Smith & Frater, Stonecare, MGM Kitchens and Kitchens International. I thought it would be overwhelming, but I’m really enjoying the variety. I worked exclusively on Kitchens International for a long time, and I know the demographic very well, but it’s been really exciting to work on new brands and learn new things. I think I’m a lot more engaged.

I studied Business Management at uni and was considering a sales or marketing role within the licensed trade after graduating. Whilst studying, a part-time role came up with Kitchens International, so I took it and before I knew it, I was working there full-time. Initially I was effectively working as a designer when they bought creative development in-house. It was a nice role to start in – I was designing point-of-sale materials and print ads, I established the social media channels, worked on the website, and was involved with events.

Fast forward 10 years and I’m delighted with how my career has progressed. I’ve learnt a lot of new skills, met a lot of interesting people and been given a lot of incredible opportunities. My biggest highlight with the Donaldson Group has been joining the Group marketing team. I’d been going to team meetings for months, but wasn’t formally part of it, so officially joining the team was really nice. There was a welcome lunch and a night out, so it felt like a real celebration.

As Head of Marketing, I oversee the creative development of all of our Interior Divisions brands; plan and manage events (that could be a dinner or exhibition, or sometimes it’s working at events with key contacts); develop strategy and annual plans; manage budgets; analyse how our website and socials are performing; prepare award submissions; and get involved in the future development of team members.

It’s a varied role and – cliché alert – no two days are ever the same; we work on similar key tasks, but for different brands with demographics, objectives, and target markets. I spend a lot of my time working closely with branch and studio managers, for example, working with them on objectives such as ways to increase engagement at branch level. My biggest achievement in my current role has to be developing and designing a kitchen selector tool for Kitchens International, it’s revolutionary within our sector and gives us a real edge. I’m very proud of it.

There are plenty of opportunities here – alongside the support and training you need to make the most of them. With a dedicated budget for training, we have freedom to choose specific courses that will benefit us and our role. Everyone has a quarterly review where we identify two things we’re doing well and two things that we can improve – and we’re given the support we need to actually make those improvements and develop new skills.

Just a year ago I only had experience of managing one brand, but since we became part of the Donaldson Group, I’ve become heavily involved with planning for all of the Interiors brands and have been promoted to Head of Marketing for the division. That’s pretty good career development if you ask me!

Ready to launch your marketing career? Take a look at our latest graduate opportunities to find out more.

When I first joined Donaldson Group as a Digital Marketing Executive, I thought I’d mostly be doing social media activity. Fast forward four years and social media is only a small part of what I do!

The offsite portfolio I currently manage is made up of several different brands and I work on Donaldson Timber Systems (DTS), Donaldson Direct (DD), Donaldson Timber Engineering (DTE) and Rowan Manufacturing. There is a lot of variety as each brand has a different offering, focus and target audience. This keeps things interesting and means that I get to be involved with a lot more than I expected to when I joined. I’ve been able to work across so many brands – which you just wouldn’t get from a one-brand business.

During my time here I have gained great tactical experience and now I’m building on my commercial and strategic experience, so I’m getting real exposure to the full marketing function/mix.

No two days are ever the same in my role! My days can range from annual planning, monitoring project progress and activating campaigns to internal marketing meetings, presenting strategies or budgets, carrying out CMS changes, creating digital content, drafting press releases and working closely with third party agencies.

We are also able to get out and about which I love. This can range from organising and attending trade show events and attending awards dinners to external meetings or site visits with agencies, suppliers and customers – where I have ended up climbing up scaffolding to get onto a customer’s roof!

With the variety of brands that I work on comes a variety of people. I get to work closely with lots of different stakeholders and teams, internally and externally, who all have their own character and culture. This includes people at all levels, so it’s not unusual for me to go from a meeting with one fo our Managing Directors to a briefing with a member of our IT team.

My biggest – and proudest – achievement (so far!) is working on the launch of Donaldson Direct. I was involved from the initial concept through to branding, positioning, overall project and website planning to brand launch and actually seeing sales come in. I feel like it’s my baby! One of the reasons I feel so invested is because it was the first time I’d been involved in a project like this from start to finish.

The chance to take ownership is one of the things I love most about working here, it’s been great for my career development and confidence. I’ll be honest, when I started, I felt pretty clueless, and I only expected to be here for a couple of years. But now I feel confident that I know how to do my job and I can see my career pathway opening up which gives me something to work towards.

There’s a direct line of progression, loads of opportunities and no ceiling. I’ve had lots of great training and support, including completing my Digital Diploma earlier this year. There’s also been on-the-job support and coaching every step of the way. I’m genuinely proud to tell people where I work and what I do.

I feel valued – and that I add value to the business. I have built great relationships with people across our business and  can see the results of what I do and how it impacts on the success of the business.

It’s a great team, everyone’s supportive and there for each other. You’ll hear us talk about the Donaldson Family, it’s more than the family of businesses within the Group, it’s the feeling of a real family we all have here. I really feel I’m part of it.

Ready to launch your marketing career? Take a look at our latest graduate opportunities to find out more.

I joined Donaldson Group as a Digital Marketing Executive in September 2020 but have recently been promoted to Brand Manager, so my role has progressed a lot in just a couple of years.

When I first started, I worked on specific brands (which included Buzz Home Office and Timber Cut4U, as well as helping other members of the team with their own projects) and my role was quite focussed on key metrics reporting – from sales to analytics. Now my role is to manage the Group brand and James Donaldson Timber (JDT), and is much more focussed on messaging, building the brand and brand communications, so it’s a lot more creative and varied! I’ve been involved in everything from producing our in-house magazine, Woody, to our recent Group rebrand.

Launching the Donaldson Group rebrand is my biggest achievement to date here – and the biggest challenge so far. It was a massive undertaking as it was a six-month long project, and I didn’t have much project management experience when I started on it (that definitely changed!). It was an amazing feeling to have played a part in getting the project over the line, seeing the results and how we now get to take it forward.

Working here has been interesting since day one. In my initial role I was involved in the launch of Buzz Home Office which was a great introduction and it was really interesting because it included three different businesses within the Group, meaning I had the opportunity to work with lots of different people. I also worked on Timber Cut4U which was much more technical, and sales focussed, which helped me learn a lot about the industry overall.

I have a degree in Business Management from Heriot Watt, so whilst I have a good understanding of how business works in general terms, the timber industry wasn’t something I really knew much about when I started.

There’s no such thing as a ‘typical day’ here – my role covers everything from activating Group-wide emails, teaming up with HR to work on colleague comms projects, working on social media to planning at a strategic level. I manage internal and external communications at Group level – the internal comms element of the role is colleague and culture focused and our One Donaldson Family culture is really important to us! There’s also a lot of project management work where I do a lot of project planning and co-ordination.

Being more involved in project management is one of the ways my role has evolved since I joined. I’ve only been here a couple of years and I’ve already had the chance to lead projects and take on more responsibilities which has helped expand my knowledge and skillset.

A highlight for me was putting together my first edition of Woody – our annual in-house magazine – with my team. This project really helped me develop my project management skills as I was responsible for managing the process, from content planning, collating content, writing copy, and working with a third-party design agency and supplier. The timescales were really tight as there were a lot of internal changes happening in parallel during production, but we did it!

As part of the Group’s five-year strategy, we’ve been able to set our career pathways. It’s a really good benchmark for seeing my potential line of progression and it’s encouraging to see how far I have come, knowing that we are always being supported and encouraged to take the next step in our development, as opposed to being in the same role for a long time.

One of the things I love most about working for Donaldson Group has to be the team! Especially now that our team is growing, there are more of us which is a really exciting time and means we are always learning and developing together.

Ready to launch your marketing career? Take a look at our latest graduate opportunities to find out more.

Having joined Donaldson Group three months ago, I’m still very much the newbie but I already feel right at home here.

My route into this role is a little unusual in that I didn’t go to university, and I gained all of my marketing experience and qualifications on the job. After started my working life as a professional groom (I still have horses and ride a lot in my spare time) which I enjoyed for several years. Following a freak accident, I ended up transitioning to office-based work and temping for a six-week period with Tayto Group as a Marketing Assistant. It was there that I discovered a real passion for marketing. After my initial placement, Tayto Group offered me a permanent contract and put me through my CIM Certificate and during my term I progressed to Marketing Exec. I have since enjoyed marketing within FMCG, agriculture and retail industries, as well as starting and managing my own ecommerce business, before joining Donaldson Group as a Brand Manager.

I manage a number of brands including Perform Panel, MGM Timber, TimberCut4U and Plane & Simple – so my days are really varied! From creating artwork, producing email campaigns, social media engagement and reviewing SEO content to developing annual plans, organising in branch events and campaigns, and getting involved with creating video and other collateral such as brochures and flyers. The role is both analytical and creative, so I can be writing copy in the morning and analysing sales after lunch.

Although I’ve not been here long, there are already several things that I’m proud of having achieved since I joined. The biggest one was being involved with the latter stages of a successful new product launch, just two weeks into the job. I’m also proud of the fact that I’ve got up to speed with the brands so quickly, and that I’ve pushed myself out there and established good relationships with the teams already.

The support I’ve received since starting my role has been amazing – the wider team have been fantastic in helping me to find my feet and combat that pesky imposter syndrome! Now, just a few months in, I feel empowered to take on meatier challenges and bring so much value to the Group, and that’s been a real confidence boost.

That’s the thing about working here – it really is like one big family. During my interview I remember thinking “this is where I want to be” and that instinct was right – there’s such a warm and welcoming vibe here. Members of the team throughout the whole Group take the time to chat to you about how you are and your family, not just about work and your role within the business. I find that personal connection really inspiring and motivating – I’m really pleased to be a part of the Group and can’t wait to see where this journey will take me.

Ready to launch your marketing career? Take a look at our latest graduate opportunities to find out more.

Jordan Thomas, a Design Technician at Nu-Style Products in Aberdeen, joined the Group in June 2019 and has since been helping our customers to bring their vision to life via 3D renders.

He has always had a keen interest in the construction industry and spent many summers and weekends doing numerous jobs including design, labouring, kitchen design and producing surveys and drawings.

His role at Nu-Style Products involves producing designs and drawings for customers for a range of products including bespoke furniture design, as well as our main washroom products such as vanity units, cubicles, IPS panels and lockers.

“One of my favourites parts of my role is visiting sites, meeting with customers and really immersing myself in bringing their designs to life. We’ve recently started inducing 3D drawings for more complex designs and I really enjoy this aspect as the client gets to see a true, 3D representation of the products we will be supplying to them.”

Sandra – ABM & Kitchen Designer

Sandra has been part of the business for over 13 years and works in our merchant business MGM Timber. Currently part of our Grangemouth team, the now Assistant Manager previously worked at our Dundee and Glenrothes branches as an administrator.

March 3, 2022
 
Sandra’s making kitchen dreams come true!

Name: Sandra Robertson
Job Title: Assistant Manager and Kitchen Designer
Company: MGM Grangemouth

Sandra has been part of the business for over 13 years and works in our merchant business MGM Timber. Currently part of our Grangemouth team, the now Assistant Manager previously worked at our Dundee and Glenrothes branches as an administrator.

Since joining the Grangemouth branch over 10 years ago as Assistant Branch Manager, she has also taken on the role as a kitchen designer, which she really enjoys, as it brings out the creative side in her and she finds it really satisfying. Sandra says her favourite part is “being able to take a customer’s dream kitchen and bring it into reality.”

All of Sandra’s colleagues agree that since starting with MGM Timber she has come a long way. Not only by developing her personal skills, but also her professional skills in sales within the company – which is constantly leading the way in introducing new and exciting products into the market. Sandra is a huge asset to the Donaldson Group and a great example of the opportunities that are open to people who are part of the business.

David – Sales Manager

David joined the group in 1985 straight out of college as a management trainee. The management trainee programme was designed to train new recruits in all aspects of the business from the saw mill, to designing and assembling roof trusses to accounting and sales. David quickly identified sales as the area in which he was best suited to excel in, and has since been a Sales Manager for James Donaldson Timber.

January 12, 2022
 
David has climbed the career ladder (and a few Munros!)

Name: David Seath
Job Title: Sales Manager
Company: James Donaldson Timber

David joined the Group in 1985 straight out of college as a management trainee. The management trainee programme was designed to train new recruits in all aspects of the business from the saw mill, to designing and assembling roof trusses to accounting and sales. David quickly identified sales as the area in which he was best suited to excel in, and has since been a Sales Manager for James Donaldson Timber.

Despite being in the business for over 30 years, David says that every day is still a school day with its own unique challenges, yet he wouldn’t have it any other way. We also know that with over 30 years experience, he’s a great teacher for younger and less experienced colleagues too.

When we asked David what he values most about working for the Group, he said that is the fact that as a family business, the Donaldson Group “values the employee’s input and rewards them accordingly”, also adding that “the same treatment is levied for both suppliers and customers.” The result of this is evident in the loyalty and commitment the staff, suppliers and customers have for the company. David has been with the company for over 32 years and has been working with colleagues, suppliers and customers who have been with the company long before he joined.

When he is not selling timber for a living he spends time with his family including walking his dog. If you want to climb a Munro in Scotland – David is your man to ask for advice! He’s certainly climbed career heights in his role at JDT and we’re delighted that David has been a core part of the team there for so long.

 

Mark – Group Systems Integrated Systems Manager

Mark isn't only a valued member of the Donaldson Group, he's also a very loyal one. So loyal in fact that (as he likes to point out) he was in the company before the internet was even invented!

December 5, 2021
 
Our integrated systems manager is making his ‘Mark’ on the Donaldson Group!

Name: Mark Murphy
Job Title: Group Integrated Systems Manager
Company: Donaldson Group

Mark isn’t only a valued member of the Donaldson Group team, he’s also a very loyal one. So loyal in fact that (as he likes to point out) he was in the company before the internet was even invented!

He’s had a varied career within the Donaldson Group, having started as a business trainee. Now, as the Integrated Systems Manager, he looks after some essential business for the Group, including health and safety, quality, FSC and PEFC schemes and environmental policies.

What Mark loves about Donaldson’s is that he gets to work with some amazing people at all levels within the business. Mark commented that he likes that “everybody has the opportunity to contribute and the best ideas happen when people get involved.” It is this collaboration in fact, that helped the Donaldson Group win the Lord Cullen award for health and safety. Mark is very proud that he and the team implemented a system to make the unloading of roof trusses safer for our customers, which was adopted as best practice by the HSE and the Trussed Rafter industry.

In Mark’s role, he ensures that the Donaldson Group always acts with Integrity. For him, that runs across many factors, from the way we treat people, source our products, comply with legislation, sell, produce or deliver our products. Mark feels he can therefore say with confidence that we conduct our business in the right way.

Outside of work, Mark can be found walking his three rottweiler dogs – in fact he loves the breed so much he even has a Facebook group for rottweilers. We’re lucky that Mark is as loyal to us as his lovely dogs are to him!