The great Mally Findlay is retiring this week

The team at KWL has very mixed feelings about this, as we wish Mally luck in his well-earned retirement, but we are also going to miss him immensely. They don’t make ‘em like Mally anymore!

Mally was one of the original employees who helped set up KWL in 2007. He has played a vital role in the ongoing success of KWL and has enjoyed a long and varied career.

In this blog Mally rounds up the last 48 years since leaving school.


 “Without any notable qualifications, I left Riley High School in May 1973 and early thoughts about starting a career were to be a car mechanic or chef. I was keen on neither, but at this age there is pressure to make a decision about what you want to do with your life.

“I sat entry tests in Joinery and Bricklaying at Hull College for a placement on a Construction Industry Training Course (CITB) and was pleased to pass both, but chose Joinery as most of my friends were apprentices in these types of jobs, so it seemed like a good idea.

“The CITB course started in September 1973 at an old Victorian school called Thomas Stratton on Londesborough Street. Again, I was pleased to pass the exam which led on to an apprenticeship at Ted Cook Builders in April 1974, where I undertook City and Guilds in Carpentry/Joinery, to become a qualified tradesman (no gender terminology in those days).

Exam confidence

 “Achieving these qualifications boosted my confidence – I could in fact pass exams by putting in some effort, so I went on to attend Higher Education and receive a Full Technical Certificate; ONC in Building; and HNC in Building.

Planning Surveyor

 “The qualifications broadened my horizons and I applied for various estimating vacancies. Fortunately I was offered the Planning Surveyor role at Hull City Council Works Department in August 1980. This was a new role within the Council which enabled me to continue learning, dealing with the public, taking requests over the telephone from customers and raising repairs for the operational teams.

Housing Department

“In 1987 the section I worked in was transferred to the Housing Department where I performed a variety of roles from procurement, i.e. letting tenders for repair works and presenting the reports to Hull City Council Committees, managing a section that monitored the repairs and maintenance budgets, dealing with insurance claims, recoverable orders, redecoration allowances and quality standards such as Investors in People.

Diploma in Management Studies

“With a change of tack, during the 1990s I pursued management qualifications and achieved a Toward Hull CC Manager standard and a Diploma in Management Studies. As well as a couple of certificates in quality standards.

“Then following an Audit Commission Inspection in 2003, I was relocated in 2004 to the Council’s Building Services, playing a leading role in a Service Improvement Plan and enjoyed the activities I was involved in.

The launch of KWL

 “When the decision was taken by the Hull City Council in 2006 to divide the Repairs and Maintenance function into 3 separate areas within the city, the new Kingstown Works Limited prepared a bid for one of the areas and in early 2007, I was offered the post of Performance and Quality Manager at KWL which I accepted. Since then, I have overseen the management of Stores, Procurement, Health and Safety, Learning and Development, Customer Feedback, Performance Reporting, Events and contributed to Value for Money reviews.

‘At KWL I have continued learning with Nebosh General and Construction certificates in Health and Safety.

Happy career path

 “I feel fortunate to have enjoyed most of my career, privileged to be involved in major projects with Hull City Council and KWL. I have always seen something new as a challenge and seized opportunities to improve myself and my prospects.


 “In life there are always people who are willing to help and I believe two mentors stand out in my career, one being my then section leader at Housing Janet Whipps and the KWL Business Leader Kevin Redmore who I worked closely with. Both encouraged me to fulfil my potential. However, I am indebted to lots of others who have helped me in my career and also those who have become good colleagues and friends.

Advice to anyone starting out

 “If I was to offer any advice to someone starting their career, it would be never stop learning, even if it is something as simple as what a button is used for on a photocopier. Also never be afraid to do something new, do not be daunted if you have not done it before as you will have been chosen for a reason.”

Wishing you well Mally!

Our Chief Operations Officer, Roger Grannon has worked with Mally since 2004. He says:

“I’ve been fortunate to work with Mally for a long time, he has taught me a lot; helping me to ‘get on’ in my own career and has been a reliable colleague, a good friend and we have found time to have plenty of laughs too!

“I’m sad that this working relationship is coming to an end but I’m also happy to see Mally move on to his retirement. I am certain that many others will feel the same. We all wish him the best for the future.”

Leanne White from the KWL Training Section says:

“I met Mally on my first day working for Hull City Council Housing Department, he was my senior manager, it was 2002 and everyone had a desktop computer. Mally bucked this trend, surrounded by mountains of paperwork,  filed in such a meticulous way that he knew where everything was! Luckily his IT skills have improved significantly since then.

“Mally, I have been lucky enough to have you as not only a manager, but also a mentor for the majority of my working life, your retirement is certainly the end of an era. I know I can speak for the whole of KWL by saying you will certainly be missed. Wishing you a long, happy and healthy retirement.”

Lisa Gregory, Customer Service Manager says:

“What is a limited edition? It is something that is priceless, one on its own, bold, distinct and has a has a value which cannot be placed upon it.  That’s you Mally, KWL’s own limited edition. I have worked with you for 8 years and you have been the best biggest pain in the bottom I have ever worked with. You have taught us so much about our company, given your experience, skills and knowledge. Everything you have shared has been of value in most things that we all do.

You will be greatly missed by us all not only for your personality but your cheesy grins, expertise, friendship, caring, plus your reasoning skills and most of all for just being you. Have a fantastic retirement boss you deserve it. I would just like to say because you’re leaving and because you’re abandoning us you can have “Our Weekly Award” (hope that makes you laugh)!!”