Q2 2024

SME News Q2 2024/ 14 Lloyd Burnard is REDS Group’s Founder and CEO, and since the business was founded back in 2017, it has served as one of the industry’s leading solutions providers in the areas of fuel maintenance, inspection, and environmental management, a service it provides to a wealth of fuel storage facilities up and down the UK. From its headquarters in Devon, the business has seen considerable growth over the past seven years, and today boasts a team of more than 60 individuals, with depots in England’s South East, South West, and Midlands, as well as North Wales. This journey all began when Lloyd was made redundant from a company in this sector, and we catch up with him to learn more about his journey and subsequent success. Since first getting his start in the industry back in 1996, Lloyd Burnard has been one to watch, having been heavily involved in a number of projects and in charge of many more over the past three decades or so. On the back of this vast knowledge and experience, clients very much see Lloyd as the go-to person for swift action on the back of incident responses and projects that are sensitive to the environment, with his unmatched project management skills, well-established track record in delivering results, and drive to exceed the expectations of both clients and third parties on display at every turn. It is this knowledge that stands as a cornerstone for the distinction that is today embodied across the REDS Group brand. Having had many roles over the years, including the likes of site operative, marketing manager, and project manager, Lloyd is well equipped to handle his CEO duties with excellence, varying the specifics of his role to best align with the current needs of the wider business, all while keeping an eye on both the present and future of the industry. As Lloyd explains, “I work closely with my senior team to ensure each department is hitting their targets and that company morale is good, which for me is extremely important.” Thus, wherever possible, Lloyd strives to deliver warm Cornish pasties to his on-site teams, but this is becoming increasingly difficult due to the business’ exponential growth. As one can see, the rapport that Lloyd has with his colleagues is excellent and he continues to their nurture growth and development, welcoming feedback from all colleagues so that the business can further streamline its services. For Lloyd, “I appreciate up-front honesty even if it is uncomfortable to hear, and I don’t mind at what level in the business this comes from. I want to hear it so I can deal with it.” Furthermore, since REDS operates in an industry that is incredibly high risk, health and safety is of paramount importance. The level of trust that Lloyd has in his teams to be honest and do the right thing is thus immense, with no room for error, and this is before one considers the pressures of maintaining the company’s reputation. In the endless pursuit of upholding this tremendous standing, Lloyd’s leadership style is of the uppermost importance. Much like his aforementioned CEO duties, this approach is also constantly changing, becoming increasingly refined as the years go by, with Lloyd leveraging all that he is regularly learning so as to be the sort of leader that employees want, and other business owners seek to follow. Expanding further on this, Lloyd tells us, “I feel I can step in anywhere and I like to think my teams know this and that I will if it is required.” He continues, “I always tell them my door is open and my phone is on, and I am reachable no matter what”, highlighting the culture of care that runs deep throughout the company. A great deal of this knowledge about what to do (and not to do) stems from previous leaders that Lloyd has had throughout his career. He reminisces, “I am fortunate that I have had inspirational leaders and amazing characters in my life that I have learnt from and strive to emulate.” Many of these now work with Lloyd at REDS and are some of his most trusted friends and confidants, underscoring the profound, prolonged impact that a good boss can have on an employee. Lloyd also credits his father for teaching him more than just a thing or two about leadership, stating, “I have also been lucky enough to work with my father for over 15 years, and the wealth of knowledge he has passed down is why I am who I am.” With all of this experience in tow, it is no surprise that REDS today works with a number of diverse clients from a host of sectors, inclusive of defence, governance, and logistics, to name just a few. The fact that the industry is somewhat of a niche also helps contribute towards the partnerships that are shaped with those in needs of its services in the space, with terms akin to ‘supplier’ and ‘contractor’ not doing justice to the nature of the subsequent relationship that is often nurtured. Regardless of the client or project, Lloyd explains, “I pride myself on having the best team and service delivery in our sector, and our USP is our leadership team and site team’s ability to deliver complex, high-risk tasks with ease.” It would be fair to say that a business is only as good as its staff, and with REDS having employees dotted in home-, office-, and site-based roles, this high level of trust that runs throughout the business is combined with praise whenever excellent work is done. On the odd occasion when things do not live up to expectation, it is important to mentor as opposed to blame, and it is this ethos that has proved instrumental in the business’ incredibly high staff retention rate and a team that appreciate their CEO. While companywide gatherings are difficult to orchestrate due to geographical restrictions, Lloyd and the senior management team endeavour to visit as many sites as possible and express their gratitude in person. In closing, gears shift slightly towards the broader industry, with Lloyd recognising the continuous importance of this team in navigating the future of the sector. He tells us, “our industry faces some serious challenges that it has never dealt with before, as revolutionary green energies are paving a way for a reduction in fuel and oil reliance in all sectors.” Undeterred, he continues, “I don’t see these as challenges that will negatively impact the company, they are opportunities for us to expand and diversify, and we have pivoted our Environmental Services CEO of the Year - UK