In this #PeopleFirst we catch up with Leroy Walker, one of Kirby’s youngest project managers as he hands over a new clean room to our longstanding client, medical device manufacturer Boston Scientific.
The 34-year-old father of two started with Kirby in 2006 as an Electrical Apprentice. He has progressed through the ranks, from Site Supervisor, to Site Manager and now Project Manager. As we speak, he proudly shows pictures of the finished 40,000sq ft clean room at Boston Scientific’s facility in Galway, Ireland. The high-specification medical facility will see the manufacture of life-saving products. He has worked on this site, on this and other projects, for the last three and a half years, and is now working on the preconstruction for the next phase.
“The clean room project was delivered during the pandemic. We worked with reduced crews for three months as the construction sector responded to the national emergency,” says Leroy, who also volunteers for Ballinasloe Civil Defence search and rescue in his spare time.
“We faced materials challenges, which has seen our procurement department develop a robust strategy to ensure we continue to deliver value to our clients”.
Shipping costs from China to Europe have increased dramatically since 2019. In response, Kirby purchases materials well in advance, with the ability to store on site, and has developed in-house systems to process and streamline the shipping documentation now required to move materials through the UK.
Leroy adds: “Our core values are at the heart of everything we do at Kirby, with the Kirby Way – training and processes to ensure consistent site delivery – demonstrating our Delivery and Value values to our clients day in and day out. Whether we are working in Ireland or Sweden, our clients know they will get the same professional delivery to the same specification and standard.”
Training, recognition and progression planning form a large part of Kirby’s people-first culture, with Leroy benefiting from the company’s mentoring programme, something he is keen to pass on to the next generation on site.
“At its peak I had 52 people on site with around 22 apprentices, ranging from first to fourth years. As a former apprentice I make sure that everyone is given the opportunity to shine and benefit from the team’s experience, both on site and in the wider company.”
Leroy was interviewed for his apprenticeship by now Group Managing Director Mark Flanagan. “At Kirby I have definitely had opportunities that I wouldn’t have been given with other contractors. Our Managing Director started his career as an apprentice, as did a number of our senior management team. When you are 18 it is great to see the clear investment a company makes in progressing and investing in talent. There’s also a personal approach here. Mark rang me to congratulate me on my progression when I was promoted to this role. That’s not something that would happen anywhere else.”
To find out more about careers at Kirby go to: https://careers.kirbygroup.com/