NMBS announces the first two speakers for its 2024 Conference

 29 Apr 2024

As we approach the NMBS Conference, Andy Hextall, commercial director at NMBS, announces the first two speakers…

While we have left a tough 2023 behind, the construction industry is now navigating an uncertain 2024. Businesses are not short of obstacles from a political, economic, social, and environmental perspective but these challenges present the opportunity for merchants to reflect on their organisation’s approach and performance, and potentially change direction.

The agenda for this year’s conference has been designed to inspire those operating within the building materials sector to think beyond this year and embrace the chance to future-proof their business. We’ve got some fantastic speakers lined up to do exactly that.

Across the two-day conference, attendees will hear from experts from the construction industry as well as business specialists who will be giving exclusive insight into a range of interesting topics including economic, retail and construction forecasts; the retrofit agenda; adaptability in a changing market; digitalisation and AI; and improving productivity and performance.

We’ll be revealing the full speaker line up over the coming months but for now, I’d like to introduce our first two speakers at this year’s NMBS Conference…

Construction forecasts

Kicking off the conference will be Professor Noble Francis, economics director at the Construction Product Association (CPA).

He oversees one of the most respected teams of economists in the industry, producing the quarterly Construction Industry Forecasts, Construction Trade Surveys, State of Trade Surveys and various bespoke research, some of which has been featured in the Guardian and Financial Times. Noble has also been interviewed on BBC News and Sky News, and has written for Construction News and Building magazine.

With a Masters Degree in Economics and a PhD in Applied Econometrics, Noble has more than 15 years’ experience producing economic forecasts. In 2018, Noble was appointed honorary professor at the Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management at UCL.

Noble will be using his extensive experience to share the latest updates on the changing economics of the UK construction industry and the wider UK economy with our attendees.

Business opportunities for merchants

Following Noble’s session, Steve Collinge, managing director of the Insight Retail Group and executive editor of Insight DIY, will be providing further business-led insights to help identify what trends and opportunities will impact on the building materials sector and how can merchants and manufacturers respond.

Steve is an international speaker and independent consultant in the retail industry, working with a wide range of high-profile clients including retailers, brands and marketplaces. Last year, he was recognised as one of the Top 100 Retail Influencers by RETHINK Retail and the Top 100 Retail Tech Influencers by The Retail Technology Innovation Hub.

With 30 years of experience in the home and garden industry and a particular interest in the latest trends and technology, Steve is well positioned to comment on the ideas and initiatives that are likely to re-shape our industry for many years to come.

Networking and social activities

We also have a range of fun, optional activities planned to help attendees make the most of their time in Cyprus.

Attendees can book onto the Troodos Mountains jeep safari to explore the largest mountain range in Cyprus, take part in an afternoon winery tour in the Troodos Mountains, or play golf on the 18-hole championship course at the Aphrodite Hills Golf Course. These activities are all sponsored by Genuit Group, VELUX and Knauf Insulation, and can be booked as part of the second stage registration process.

Throughout the conference there will be a dedicated NMBS bar, sponsored by Breedon, as well as several drinks receptions and dinners.

On the Thursday evening, attendees can enjoy welcome drinks and a lavish dinner, sponsored by Marsh Industries and SIG Distribution respectively.

The following evening, guests can join us for the NMBS Dine Around. They will be taken from the hotel to nearby Karatello which is nestled just behind the majestic Medieval Castle of Limassol in the historical centre of the city. It offers a unique dining experience where people can try a fusion of traditional and contemporary Cypriot cuisine.

There will also be a Meet the Merchant session, sponsored by Kerridge Commercial Systems, on the final day of the conference. That evening, attendees are invited to join us for drinks, courtesy of Keystone Group, before heading to the Gala Dinner, hosted by Hikoki and Metabo Power Tools.

Magic touch

In the last issue of BMN, we announced that the keynote speaker for this year’s conference is professional host, magician and digital illusionist, Keelan Leyser.

He is known for his use of technology, combining elements such as iPads, drones, LED screens, robotics, AI, virtual reality, holograms, and social media to create captivating illusions.

With a career spanning almost three decades, Keelan has worked with international companies like PayPal, IBM and LinkedIn, and hosted and featured in more than 100 television programmes.

Power tool manufacturer Makita is the Conference’s headline sponsor. Keelan Leyser’s keynote speech is sponsored by Worcester Bosch, and Saturday’s keynote speaking slots are sponsored by Marshalls Plc.

Members will be joining us – and our suppliers – at the newly-opened City of Dreams Resort in Limassol, Cyprus, between Thursday 6 and Sunday 9 June 2024.

There are still a few remaining spaces for any merchant wishing to book. For more information on the NMBS All-Industry Conference, visit:

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