Keith Maer

DipGAI, RegAI, FInstAI
Education Manager

Keith entered the world of architectural ironmongery in the late sixties, working for one of the pioneering manufacturers of the day, namely R Cartwright & Co Ltd based near Birmingham city centre. At the time they were leading the way in new developments, especially in the production of aluminium door and window fittings. They were already well established in the manufacture of ironmongery in Mazak (zinc alloy), wood and Bakelite. Having completed an apprenticeship studying the processes in each of these factory departments Keith fulfilled a role in the sales office. He progressed to office manager as the company moved from Birmingham to the heart of the lock industry in Willenhall in 1973.

Not content with sitting on an office chair Keith’s aspirations were to be out on the road. This opportunity was not afforded him with his then current employer so he looked to the distribution and architectural specification sector to advance his career. A well known and respected figurehead in the industry at that time, namely Les Preece, saw the potential of a young eagle-eyed sales person and took him on. It was during this time that Keith completed his GAI studies, gained his Diploma and also progressed to the position of Sales Director of this extremely successful, independent Architectural Ironmonger.

During this period he became involved in lecturing for the GAI and was then invited to join the Education Committee on the basis that his training abilities could be channelled through the Guild’s education syllabus.

In 1994 Keith rejoined his former company which was now named Thomas Laidlaw Ltd and part of the Newman Tonks Group. During ten successful years his role included Corporate Sales Manager, Regional Manager, Sales Director and finally Product Manager. It was this role in product development that enabled Keith to return to the world of manufacturing. He fulfilled this role working with the Union and Yale brands in the Assa Abloy Group.

At the beginning of 2006 Kaba Ltd gave Keith the opportunity of moving back into sales by appointing him National Sales Manager and he continued to enjoy that role for four years.

Running parallel with his career in the architectural ironmongery industry, his interest in education developed strongly and he became chairman of the Guild’s Education Committee, also serving on the Executive Committee since 2001.

During 2009 the GAI Executive Committee looked to appoint a full time Education Manager to ensure that when the current consult retired there was someone to develop the education programme further. Keith grasped this opportunity as if it were a dream come true. Having fervently ploughed this field and seen fruit for his voluntary labours over the last twenty years he now relishes the daily challenges of taking the programme to higher levels for our members and students.