With almost 35 years of experience in the gas and heating industry, Neil Gaffney is the new Sales Director for the Sanbra Heating and Plumbing Division, market leader in wholesale and distribution of plumbing supplies. Neil started in the family business, an importer and distributor of gas appliances, and worked his way up to Managing Director in 2003.
In 2010, he joined a global gas boiler manufacturer. “Having enjoyed 12 years in Kilkenny, my journey eventually brought me back to Dublin as I was very fortunate to join Sanbra in December 2022,” Neil commented. The new Sales Director talked to Plumbing & Heating Magazine about his journey and this new chapter of his career.
P&H: What does your position as Sales Director encompass?
NG: My role is divisional Sales Director for the Sanbra Heating and Plumbing Division which is made up of four companies: Sanbra Fyffe (Instantor), Kelso Agencies, Marflow Engineering and Tucson Pumps. Our colossal product portfolio is sold in the ROI, NI, Great Britain, and New Zealand.
P&H: What are your strategies as Sales Director?
NG: Our tagline is “quality without compromise” and this approach reflects our focus on bringing the best quality product to the market at a competitive price, but goes beyond the sale itself, providing the most comprehensive level of backup service. We are fortunate to have developed a very strong brand equity and part of our job is to maintain that. A large part of our expansion has been opening distribution into the UK, which is both exciting and challenging.
P&H: It is still early days, but can you anticipate the main challenges in the new role?
NG: The biggest challenge is a shortage of labour and trying to attract talent into the industry. The other looming challenge is the worldwide transition towards environmentally friendly products. Thankfully we are well ahead of the curve with our NPD programme, which follows our strong ESG policy.
P&H: What does the new role mean to your career?
NG: I was delighted to take up this role as I knew I was joining a highly dynamic and rapidly expanding group. I am still a long way off retirement, but I would hope that Sanbra will be my last port of call, as it would be a tremendous way to finish off a long, varied, and successful career.
P&H: Outside of work, how do you like to spend your time?
NG: Family have always been my number one priority. I have been married to Niamh for 24 years and we have three wonderful sons. I am an avid rugby fan and follow the classic car scene. I have owned a few over the years and should have kept them, if only I’d known what they would be worth today.