GAI PresidentJohn-Jefferies.jpg


John Jefferies is Group Managing Director of Laidlaw Solutions Limited. John led a management buy-out in 2003 when he acquired Laidlaw from Ingersoll Rand. John and his management team have since grown the business aggressively through a combination of organic growth, strategic acquisition and diversification of product offering. Prior to acquiring Laidlaw John was Managing Director of Knauf Insulation (formerly Owens Corning) and previously Group Finance Director of the Owens Corning International Building Materials business.

An Accountant by training and MBA qualified with strong General Management experience, John has an impressive record of strategic and operational leadership coupled with an appetite for customer focussed growth. A keen Golfer and an Everton fan, John looks forward to delivering further growth and profitability for Laidlaw Solutions Limited as the business continues to expand geographically, both nationally and internationally and through addition of a wider product and service offering.

As the current President of The Guild, John welcomes the opportunity to support the Vice-President, Chief Executive and the wider GAI to help ensure we are well positioned from a financial perspective to achieve our operational plans and strategic goals.

Paul Duggan Paul-duggan.JPG

Paul is the GAI Technical Committee Chairman and works for Exova Warrington apt (Formerly Bodycote Warrington apt)

Paul has extensive experience with testing standards and technical expertise. He has worked in within this field of expertise for over 17 years.

In addition to the GAI Paul is also involved in the AI industry as he is an
Active member of WG4 since 2005 and became the CEN/TC33/WG4 convenor in 2009,
UK expert of CEN TC33/WG4/TG10 panic and emergency exit devices since 2004,
UK expert of CEN TC33/WG4/TG5 Single axis hinges since 2005,
Active member of the Door and Hardware Federation technical committee in the UK,
Active member of timber and steel door trade associations in the UK.

Vice Chairman

Chief ExecutiveGary-2011.jpg

Gary was appointed Chief Executive of the GAI on the 18th of February 2008.

Previously he has a regional Director for the National Federation of Builders for ten years where he was a member of the Chief Executive’s Group of the Federation, the senior management team which drove the strategic direction and policies of the organisation. He also had operational responsibility for the NFB’s membership in the London, Eastern and Southern regions; directing service delivery and recruitment and retention of members.

Nigel Bligh is the Market Development Director for Laidlaw Solutions Ltd. With over 40 years’ experience within the door industry of which the last 10 years have been with Laidlaw. Nigel has been a major part of the team that has developed the Ironmongery/Doorset offer and made Laidlaw the UK`s main supplier of this solution. 

Initially training as a timber buyer and then moving into a sales role with Crosby Doors. This included 4 years working throughout the Middle East and Europe before returning full time to the UK to join Shapland & Petter. 

Over recent years the performance criteria for ironmongery and doors to meet the various BS and EN standards has become far more complex. Being part of the GAI Technical Committee is an excellent forum for a better understanding of all the elements required to help the industry move forward. 

Dave Bouton


MARIO_DEL-SIGNORE.jpgMario Del Signore, Director of CES Security Solutions, has been in the ironmongery trade since he was a school boy in Fulham when he worked at W Spratt & Sons, a retail ironmonger, stacking shelves after school.  After ten happy years at Spratts Mario moved down to Kent and went to work at local ironmongers Hinge and Brackets - another retail ironmonger which has five branches across Kent where he worked as he company’s General Manager. After that he moved to CISA, the lock and access control company as National Sales Manager, only leaving when it was taken over by Ingersoll Rand. Mario’s next move was to G-U to help his close friend Paul Lewis set up its cylinder business, taking over as General Manager after Paul’s untimely death in 2008. In 2009 Mario was approached by CES - Germany’s oldest cylinder manufacturer - to set up CES UK from scratch. 

When he’s not busy at CES, Mario is very involved and passionate about the Institute of Architectural Ironmongery as Vice Chairman of the national Institute. Such is Mario’s commitment to the Institute that in 2011 he was awarded the GAI Trophy for services to the Institute.

HND (Business Studies), DipGAI, and MIEx (Grad)


Clive participates as a member of the GAI Technical Committee, alternating with Nigel Bligh (as they both travel extensively for work)

He has been in the ironmongery industry since 1969 when he left school to join William Newman & Sons (before the merger with William Tonks, Bloore & Pillar, and Walter Rowley) as their first Management Trainee (working there together with his brother Steve and father, Norman). Clive subsequently worked with Adrian Stokes Overseas, Allgood Continental, back to Newman Tonks, Laidlaw Thomson (Asia) - Hong Kong, Laidlaw & Thomson (UK), NT/IR Laidlaw, HEWI (UK), Higrade Hardware – Hong Kong, and now back again with Laidlaw Solutions Limited. 

Most of his involvement in the industry has been in the overseas markets, particularly South East Asia, the Middle East and South Africa. He is currently responsible for the overseas activities of Laidlaw in his role as International Sales and Operations Director. 

DipGAI, RegAI, MInstAI


Joined Shapland & Petter in 1981 where he spent 3 ½ years specialising in the ironmongery side of the business. In 1985 Graham joined DORMA as Technical Sales Consultant for South West England and South Wales. From there he progressed to Regional Sales Manager followed by his current position of Product Marketing Manager where he had been for the last 7 years. As an interesting fact Graham was told that in 1984 that he was the first person from a door manufacturer to take the GAI Diploma course! 

In addition to the GAI Technical Committee Graham attends CAB (Council for Aluminium in Building) Technical Committee Meetings, Certifire Hardware Panel, BWF Meetings and ASDMA (Architectural and Specialist Door Manufacturers Association) Meetings along with UK Mirror Committees for EN Standards. 

Keith MaerKeith-Maer.JPG
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.

As the company grew so did Keith’s interests expand but beyond the walls of the trade. The church he belonged to was also growing and began to take more of his time to lead and provide pastoral care. It was during the eighties and early nineties that Keith spent twelve fulfilling years in self employment to give scope for the church work and to continue as an independent architectural ironmongery consultant. 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.

Beyond the world of ironmongery, the GAI and education Keith ensures that he maintains a balanced lifestyle as he takes time for family including three children and their offspring. In addition to this his activities include teaching and care in a local church, squash, cycling, caravanning and hiking.

Jacky Sinclair


DipGAI, RegAI, FInstAI

Jacky Sinclair has over thirty years’ industry experience, starting as a scheduling Architectural Representative in London. Career moves include working in Marketing and Product Management for major international manufacturers such as DORMA and ASSA ABLOY, being Marketing Consultant to Certifire in its early years, and working for the GAI as Professional Development Manager. Qualified both as a teacher and an industrial trainer, she has lectured on ironmongery around the world. She is also a published author, and regularly contributes articles on door hardware to industry magazines, as well as answering questions on the GAI’s Technical Hotline service. 

Jacky has served the Institute of Architectural Ironmongers in several capacities, including a two-year term as National Chairman. In 1989, she was awarded a Fellowship of the IAI for services to the industry. Today she represents the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers on 18 BSI committees, and several other industry bodies, as well as running a successful consultancy business. 

Jason Tonks


Jason Tonks is currently the product co-ordinator for HOPPE UK.  Jason has been with the company 15 years, having previously worked in the Distribution and Sales teams.

Jason now looks after the product development for the Architectural and Door & Window divisions of the business.

Forthcoming events

Mar 26
GAI/RIBA Specification Awards 2015

The bi-annual GAI/RIBA Architectural Ironmongery Specification Awards are nearing and the...

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Education & training

At the heart of the Guild's activities is our highly respected education programme. The three-year Diploma course is the qualification for architectural ironmongers. Of the 2,000+ diploma-holders, hundreds have taken their education further, achieving Registered Architectural Ironmonger (RegAI) status, proving their commitment, expertise and professionalism.

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Technical expertise within the GAI is second-to none. The new technical area has been specifically designed to keep you up to date with the latest technical developments.

The GAI's technical representatives speak for the industry at home and abroad on committees concerned with building regulations, standards and legislation.

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View the AIJ Winter 2014 edition HERE.