Grant Keenan started his working life as a door-to-door salesman at the age of 17, now he manages Scotlands largest food waste collection company.
What is it the company does?
Keenan Recycling specialises in organic recycling, predominantly food waste and garden waste.
Our main service is collecting food waste from commercial premises such as restaurants and hotels. Once collected it is then transported to anaerobic digestion plants where it is turned into electricity.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
My role as MD is to grow the company both organically and through acquisition. I am also responsible for the safety of our staff and the public that the company comes into contact with.
I believe in creating a superb culture in which our employees can flourish, by doing so allows us to grow a truly special company that can improve and serve the planet along the way.
I really enjoy business development and meeting new people, I also like to build on existing relationships.
At the end of the day, I am also the face of the business and the buck stops at me for all aspects of our operation.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I left school at 17 with three highers and I wanted to get into sales. My first job was a door to door salesperson which I did for a year, then I became a financial advisor.
When I was 19 I set up my first company. The business imported Irish peat briquettes, which were then distributed around filling stations in the North of Scotland.
I built the business up and then sold it to North East Fuels.
My next venture was a garden bark business and in 2001 I moved into composting when I noticed that Councils were landfilling garden waste. In 2008 I raised £3.2m pounds and built a facility that could handle food waste, to tackle the issue nobody in Scotland was addressing.
In 2009 we started collecting food waste from businesses and in 2015 we took a 2.3 million pound investment from BGF (Business Growth Fund) to develop food waste collections in central Scotland.
We are now the largest food waste collection company in Scotland and last year we began collections in North East England.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
To be a great leader you have to have the respect of the people you lead, coupled with a clear vision that everyone can by into.
What has been the biggest challenge in your current position?
The biggest challenge was obtaining planning permission for our facility and raising the finance for it.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I keep things in perspective and try not to get too worked up, there are people on the planet with real problems. I like to switch off by watching box sets on the TV or playing squash with my son and snowboarding with the family.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
Negativity. We try and encourage a culture of positivity and the rest of the team don’t like it when somebody is a mood hoover!!
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
We will be a national company servicing the whole of the UK with food waste collections.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Surround yourself with good people and never give up on a dream.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
If you can’t change the people, it’s time to change the people!
Our BQ Bulletin emails will land in your inbox at 7.30am, Monday to Friday, with a mix of the latest local business news, national news, and features to inspire you. Sign up here!
Click here to read our privacy statement