Meet the Gripsure Team: Kevin Giese, National Sales Manager, DACH region

Kevin Giese recently joined Gripsure to manage sales for our non-slip decking across Germany, Austria and Switzerland. He reflects on his career to date and discusses some of his passions and interests. 

Can you briefly describe your role at Gripsure and your career to date with the company?

I started my new role as Gripsure’s National Sales Manager for the DACH region back in April, and I am very motivated to fulfil our mission. My focus is on introducing our non-slip decking to a new market, the DACH region, which covers Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The first response to Gripsure is incredibly good and there are a lot of architects and investors out there who are very interested in our anti-slip decking. I will be travelling the DACH region once travel is allowed again, and I am looking forward to that.
 Gripsure office in Cornwall

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love being in contact with different people from a variety of backgrounds. The fact I am speaking two languages daily makes this my dream job. I swap between English and German when speaking to my English and French colleagues and then to German to connect with business partners in the DACH region. 

What skills and character traits do you think are most important in your role?

In my role, I think it is especially important to be professional and not make promises that you cannot keep. Also, it is vital to be able to connect with all kinds of people in different companies to build your network to succeed. Furthermore, I think you need to be an expert on the products you are selling.
My colleagues would probably describe me as a calm person with a professional approach to the business and as football crazy. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic I have only been able to visit my colleagues in Cornwall once but there is more to come, and I am looking forward to that. 

What did you do before joining Gripsure and how is this helping you in your current role?

Before I joined Gripsure I was a Regional/Area Manager for Raab Karcher, a builders’ merchant in Germany. You can compare them to Jewson or Travis Perkins.
I worked with Raab Karcher for more than seven years and basically gained all my selling skills and product knowledge on the job. Being in touch with a lot of contractors and visiting building sites on a daily basis gave me the opportunity to see how contractors work and what they need. I grew relationships and even some friendships in the building industry back in Germany, which is helping in my new role with Gripsure.
  

I believe you’ve had a successful footballing career. Can you tell us about that?

My football career started when I was just four years old. I played for 1. FC Union Berlin for 14 years in the youth academy and for the U23 and played 4th tier in German football on a professional level. I had the chance to train with the first team, who were playing 2. Bundesliga in Germany back then.
When I moved on to work with Raab Karcher, I played football on a semi-professional level as I was not able to play football full-time anymore due to injuries, including a slipped disc.
I had some great moments and played against so many players who made it and who are now playing in the premier league. These include players such as Yannick Vestergaard and Mario Götze, who are national heroes in Germany. I will always be thankful for these moments and will always stay connected to football. 

Who or what inspires you in your work and personal life?

I take my inspiration from waking up every day to have the chance to build a brand in the DACH region, to be successful and give back the trust I received.
In my personal life I take my inspiration from a few characters like Conor McGregor who came from nothing to become one of the most successful athletes in the world and also built a whiskey empire and his own fitness brand: a sport and business mind combined.
 

What is your biggest achievement (or what are your biggest achievements) in your career or personal life?

My biggest achievement in my career is starting my new role at Gripsure, as my position changed to National Sales Manager and it comes with a huge responsibility.
In my personal life it was a huge success to play football for a big club, 1. FC Union Berlin, and to play U17 and U19 Bundesliga and 4th tier in German football. I am also very proud of mine and my wife’s relationship as we have been together for more than six years, coming from two completely different backgrounds, cultures, languages and countries. 

Timber decking remains incredibly popular here in the UK. How about Germany?

Timber decking is also incredibly popular in Germany and the DACH region. I believe the building industry will increasingly concentrate on sustainability so timber products will be used more and more in upcoming projects.
Both Britons and Germans love being outside in their own garden and to make it their outside living room. They want their garden to be beautiful and comfortable. The only difference I see are the seasons: in Germany they get colder winters but hotter summers, whereas the Brits probably get more rain throughout the year. Our non-slip decking is ideal for both climates, which get their fair share of rain, ice and snow. 

In the UK, during the pandemic house prices have increased, especially for properties with gardens. Outdoor spaces are becoming more desirable. Is this something you are also seeing in the DACH region?

The pandemic changed the whole world and the importance of technology for both our work and personal lives is more important than ever. Prices for houses with gardens and terraces are increasing and we can see a sellers’ market in both countries. Major building projects are getting postponed and even changed from offices to new flat developments etc. I believe there is more change to come but I also see the positive sides and believe we can embrace the change.
 Gripsure Non-Slip Accoya Decking

 What do you think German customers will particularly appreciate about Gripsure decking?

German customers want longevity and sustainability, so the environmental sustainability and high quality of our products is attractive in the DACH region. From spreading awareness and introducing Gripsure to the market we can see that the non-slip features of our decking are also remarkably interesting to architects, contractors and business partners. Our products can reduce the risk of accidents in the private housing sector and also in the public construction sector. 

Where do you think the main opportunities are for Gripsure in the DACH region and why?

From my point of view, Gripsure has a huge opportunity to expand in Europe as there are no comparable products in the DACH region. We are interested in both commercial and housing projects and believe that we can supply a great looking decking product which is also slip resistant.
I have never seen products like these before, which is why I am so in love with the brand and the opportunity to expand to Europe with Gripsure.

What do you enjoy when you’re not working? Do you have any particular hobbies or interests outside work?

I still play football, just for fun and to meet new people. My wife and I also have two young dogs and we enjoy our time together going for long walks. I also love travelling and once we are able to, my wife and I will go on a few city breaks again to enjoy different kinds of food, different cultures and people.

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