BMF announces Young Merchant Conference forum speakers

Three leading figures from different parts of the building materials industry will come together in an Industry Forum at the BMF Young Merchant Conference at the NEC, Birmingham on 6 October.

3 peopleBMF speakers

Shanker Patel, CEO of the Lords Group of Companies, Krystal Williams, managing director of Pavestone, and Edwin de Silva of Travis Perkins plc will lead the debate on current issues affecting the industry and answer questions from the audience.

Shanker Patel joined his family-owned retail business in the 1990s after initially training as a lawyer.  Appointed as managing director in 1999 and as Chief Executive in 2009, Shanker has been instrumental in transforming the business and growing turnover to over £300m.  Today the Lords Group is a highly diversified business involved in the retail, distribution and manufacturing of construction materials and employing over 650 people. Its principal UK trading arms are Lords Business Merchants, Hevey Building Supplies Limited and APP Wholesale Limited.

As managing director of Pavestone’s landscaping division, Williams will provide the suppliers’ view.  She has worked with leading brands of aggregates, stone and concrete paving since 2003, joined Pavestone in 2017 and was promoted to her current position in 2019, since when her commercial acumen, vision of the future and strategic thinking has helped drive Pavestone’s growth and market leading position in a fast-paced sector.

Edwin de Silva has been involved in the building industry in some shape or form for over 40 years since starting an apprenticeship with British Gas, where he worked across most functions, but notably sales and marketing.  He subsequently honed his skills with a world-leading building materials manufacturer and a major housebuilder before being recruited by Travis Perkins plc into a newly created business development director role to grow their market share with regional and bespoke builders, where he has been developing their understanding while supporting their strategic plans for the past 7 years.

With the theme, “Building the Next Generation”, the BMF Young Merchant Conference is designed to encourage, inspire and enthuse.  Taking place at the NEC, Birmingham on 6 October 2021, the event is being held in connection with UK Construction Week and will include a visit to the Build Show on site.

Registration of the BMF Young Merchant Conference is now open at

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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