Double glazing social media favourite, top dog at Lister Trade Frames and President of GGF has been kind enough to spare some time to answer some of the questions I put to him earlier this week. Some good answers here so enjoy!
1. Did you put yourself forward to be President of the GGF? If so, what made you want to
take up such a position?
Absolutely not. I was as surprised as anybody when I was offered the position, firstly as Vice
President. The GGF tries to keep a balance with its officer roles so that all of the Members
interests are represented. So at the moment I am President, coming from the Windows and
Doors side of the industry, while the Vice President is from the Flat Glass Industry side.
2. The GGF is often criticized for its ageing membership (often by me!). What is being done
to make sure that the youth of the industry play a part in the GGF?
With age comes wisdom! In some cases anyway ;-)
Maybe as company leaders become older they recognise the advantages to their business
of being part of a network of like minded businesses and professionals who can represent
their interests to Government etc. When you are young you may feel that you can ‘do it all
However, there has been a noticeable change over the last couple of years where the GGF
has seen an influx of new members and many of those are younger participants. As you
know…. I have invited you to join (young whippersnapper as you are) and the GGF welcomes
eligible people and businesses of all ages.
3. I know the GGF has been lobbying the Government hard over issues like the Green Deal
and low VAT. What is the current status of both these important measures?
There is not enough room here to discuss all the ins and outs of Green Deal. The GGF,
through its lobbying of Government over the last four years did an excellent job of getting
windows recognised by government for their energy efficient, energy saving properties. It
was partly for this reason that Government included windows in to the Green Deal. Now, as
you mention, the GGF is heavily involved in trying to influence the Government to make the
Green Deal a workable package for all of our industry. There is still a lot of misunderstanding
and lack of detail from the Government but the GGF is heavily engaged, literally day to day,
with the departments organising the scheme. Until we get more definitive information we
will be keeping a cautious position.
As for VAT, well, we have tried over several years now to get this changed in our favour and
we continue to lobby for this as a way to incentivise customers to make their homes more
energy efficient and help meet the Governments C02 targets. There are some legal issues to
overcome and there is little desire from the Government and the treasury to reduce tax at
the moment, but we will keep on trying.
4. How do you see the industry as a whole will perform over the next 5 years and beyond?
My personal views are that we will continue to see a decline in our traditional market with
more suppliers consolidating and some less proactive businesses leaving the industry all
While this may sound a little negative or worrying, I see it as an opportunity. Change is good!
Markets and consumer needs are always adjusting, so if you aren’t changing what you do
and what you offer you will fail.
At Listers we have a culture of change. That’s why we are always introducing new products
and services and trying to provide what our customers need even before they know that
they need it.
5. Up to press, how many companies are GGF members?
The GGF has around 450 members, which represents around 50% of the total industry’s
turnover. This year has seen applications to join at an all time high.
6. The GGF has sometimes been criticized for its member-only information process. What do you say to those people that say information from the GGF should be freely available to the rest of the industry, whether they are members or not?
The GGF is a Membership organisation. The Members pay for all the activities that the GGF
undertakes, whether that is UK or EU Government lobbying, technical services and standards
approval, Building regulations consultations etc.
The GGF is there primarily for its Members. Without those Members it would simply not
exist. Without those Members subscriptions there would not be anything to make available.
Members get the information first because they have already paid for it. And that’s why I
encourage companies to join.
However, I have never attended any meeting at the GGF where the wider Industry has not
been discussed or has been excluded in decisions. We, just like you, want our industry to be
a vibrant place to do business that benefits everyone.
I would also point non members to the GGF Website where there is an abundance of freely
available information on a wide range of topics: www.ggf.org.uk. You can also follow
@GGF_NEWS on Twitter for information on topics like the Green Deal. All this is free of
charge to non members.
7. You are very active on social media i.e. Twitter, Facebook etc. What part do you think social media has to play in our industry and will it help generate business in the long term?
At first I didn’t see what this new fangled thing was all about. I only started a Twitter
Account last September. But Social Media is a powerful tool that is going to grow and grow
and it will become a part of everyone’s lives over the next few years just like mobile phones
did. If that’s true, it’s obvious that Businesses like ours have to be involved and engaged with
it if they want to communicate with their customers.
Listers has already this year gained several contracts that primarily started our through
social media channels.
I have also found it useful as a new tool to build business networks to the benefit of Listers.
We now have new ‘friends’ and like minded contacts that we would never have made by
other means. (Including you)
8. How long do you stay President of the GGF for and do you get to have more than one
The term (and may I add, unpaid term) lasts for just 2 years. The workload to date has been
enormous so I think that I will be happy to pass on the reins at terms end, but I would still
like to keep some kind of active role. I would need to more like President Putin to want
9. How much of your time is spent between your company, Lister Trade Frames, and the
I have an excellent Director and Management support team here at Listers for which I am
really grateful. In fact without them I would not have been able to take up this role. My time
is still primarily focused on Listers as this is my livelihood and that of over a hundred people
in the business. Much of the GGF work is done out of the business in my own time (much
to the dissatisfaction of my wife). But the GGF has brought many benefits to Listers so I am happy to give them some of my time back.
It’s not just the President that gives time in this way. All the non-exec Board Members are
unpaid and give their time and experience freely. Something that the older generation is
more happy to do maybe?
10. Finally, any chance of making me an ‘honorary consultant’ within the GGF for free?
I would very much like to see you take up the role of President of the GGF…. in a few years
time of course! And you do have that opportunity…. if you become an active member.
I would encourage anyone who is considering joining the GGF, not to join for the badge
or just for the information. Join and have an active part in the moulding of best practice,
technical competencies, building standards, government legislation and industry
In a paraphrase of the words of JFK….. “Ask not what the GGF can do for you…. Ask what you
can do for the GGF and the wider industry!”
www.ListerTF.co.uk @Markwarren3 @ListerTF
Top bloke.His honesty and integrity shine