NMBS announces further speakers for its 2024 Conference

 09 May 2024

Improve the performance of your business

As we approach the NMBS Conference, Andy Hextall, commercial director at NMBS, makes his penultimate speaker announcement…

The agenda for this year’s NMBS conference will cover a range of topics that will help those operating within the building materials sector to prepare their business for the future, maximise their team’s productivity, and embrace technology to benefit their organisation.

Our next three speakers will be providing insight into how the merchant industry can boost the performance of its teams while adapting to the constantly changing world of construction.

Performance psychology

We’ll be joined by professional footballer turned performance psychologist Paul McVeigh. For more than 30 years, Paul has been an elite performer in two of the most competitive industries on the planet: elite sport and performance psychology.

Football fans will know Paul from spells at Tottenham Hotspur, Burnley and Norwich City. He made over 300 appearances and was a key member of two Championship winning teams, as well as gaining 40 caps for Northern Ireland during his sporting career.

Since leaving football, he has published a book, The Stupid Footballer is Dead, and featured on several programmes across some of the UK’s biggest sports broadcasters including the BBC, Sky Sports, TalkSport and, what was then, BT Sport. He has also worked as a performance psychology coach with the academies at Norwich City and later Crystal Palace.

As a Premier League and International football player, Paul has competed with and against the best players in the world, which has shaped his understanding of the methodology of high performance. He is now a global speaker and specialises in implementing the mental tools required to elevate the performance of leaders and teams from organisations across the world.

At the NMBS Conference, Paul will be discussing three key topics around psychology – performance, leadership and teamwork – to help attendees to engage teams to consciously improve their mental performance, help leaders elevate their belief in what is possible, and cultivate an elite performance environment.

Staying relevant in a changing marketplace

Attendees will also hear from David Young, CEO of the Bradfords Group. David has been part of the Bradfords Group for more than a decade, starting as business development director of Bradfords Building Supplies in 2014 before becoming managing director and then Group CEO in 2019. He is also the southwest chairman for the BMF and a h&b Group board member.

Many people will be familiar with the Bradfords Group which now has an estate of 44 branches and 870 employees. The business itself is 254 years old and the Somerset-based business provides a fantastic example of why it is so important to move and change with the times. In the words of David, Bradfords has “survived world wars, epidemics, pandemics, floods and famines” so the business insight he will be sharing at the Conference is something that other independent merchants can definitely learn from.

In his session, David will discuss how merchants grow and remain relevant in the years ahead. As new competitors, customers, markets and methods of construction emerge, merchants need to be understand how to help and support existing and future customers through this period of change.

“I firmly believe that there will be more change and disruption in our market in the next 10 years than there has been in the last 30,” says David. “It’s a huge challenge and standing still is just not an option. It is an exciting time to be in the industry – be that in terms of diversity and inclusion, decarbonisation, national retrofit, planning reform, data standardisation, electrification, apprenticeships and sector awareness.”

Utilising artificial intelligence

One topic that we know many members are excited to hear about is how artificial intelligence (AI) will shape the future of the building materials sector, and distinguished scholar and entrepreneur Professor Alan Timothy will be sharing his thoughts on this.

He is the founder and CEO of Bubo.AI, an AI-driven pricing engine that uses software as a service (SaaS) technology and expertise to determine the optimal price point for every individual transaction, which has redefined pricing strategies within the B2B distribution sector and showcases the transformative power of artificial intelligence.

Alan’s broader engagement with AI extends to his academic role as professor of enterprise analytics at Birmingham University, while also holding fellowships at Teesside University and Newcastle University. He is also the chief technology officer at Treat-Neuro Muscular Disease, leading a team that is leveraging AI to fuse patient and medical data, driving research and treatment innovations in neuromuscular diseases.

In his presentation, Alan will be discussing how advanced AI algorithms can optimise pricing decisions and the potential of AI to drive economic efficiency and competitive advantage in today’s market, as well as pricing strategies and customer retention.

Conference agenda

Taking place between Thursday 6 and Sunday 9 June 2024 at the City of Dreams Resort in Limassol, Cyprus, the NMBS Conference will be hosted by magician and digital illusionist Keelan Leyser.

Paul, David and Alan will be joined by Professor Noble Francis, economics director at the Construction Product Association (CPA) and Steve Collinge, managing director of the Insight Retail Group and executive editor of Insight DIY.

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

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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