Profiles - A Light-Hearted Look at Industry Personalities
Sales Manager for UK, Eire and South Africa, Roscolab Ltd
No. 85 in a continuing series
Born in Harrow, Middlesex, Ron Knell joined the leisure and entertainment business by way of the catering sector. One of the few in our industry not to enter with the proverbial guitar on his back, he went through the college routine as a trainee chef before letting himself loose in the kitchens of London's West End hotels and restaurants.
Looking for a change after ten years in the heat, he put himself on the job market and joined David Morgan at Action Lighting's Uxbridge Road shop. He was employee number four in what was to grow into the Lighting Technology Group, and stayed with the company for 19 years. From his initial position in the warehouse he progressed through to customer services and sales, soon becoming sales office manager. His work then expanded to cover overseas markets and he became export sales manager worldwide, along the way building up an expertise on the bulk purchase of industry consumables.
Ron has an ability to keep a straight face while setting people up, so whenever the opportunity arose, his workmates at LTG took full opportunity to have a laugh at his expense. One colleague remembers the day Ron volunteered to hold up a partly assembled-truss system with the end of a broom. It duly collapsed on him, without too much hurt, but against a mass of laughter and the later comment that "he hasn't been the same man since".
On another occasion, a group of Lighting Technology staff took a journey on one of the first Le Shuttle trips to France to celebrate the opening of the tunnel and ended up in a French seaside restaurant. Here, our Ron brought his restaurant French into play with due aplomb. The only person who got what he wanted was the one who ordered by means of sounds and sign language. Those whom Ron had ordered for received an assiette of unknown derivation. To his credit, the wine he ordered was evidently exceptional.
Gary Nelsson, then of LTG, remembers: "Ron was always willing and efficient, if, by his own admission, a little forgetful, due to his prolific consumption of red wine. However, since he started working for Rosco, I have noticed how he has become ever more helpful and even courteous. Good training, I thought. But then I remembered I still have the photos of one infamous night at the Guinness Club!"
And certain people at Rosco are now learning about Ron Knell. Greg Marchese in particular will remember with sinking heart his canoe duo with our hero after they sank in the Rosco Regatta during a sales meeting in the US last year. All Ron will admit to is to being told to jump in the front and paddle like hell!
From Ron Knell's point of view, he figures he's in a great industry - as simple as that. "You either love it or hate it, and I love it. It's like one big family, and when I wake up I want to get involved in it - every day."
Ron? "He just a real good bloke," said an industry colleague. "He likes to party and can hold his own."
Ron Knell lives in Biggleswade in Bedfordshire with his wife Carol and offspring Martin and Samantha.
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