EXCLUSIVE: ABDA’s Kevin Waterson to retire

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ABDA commercial director Kevin Waterson is retiring after 11 years at the firm and a 40-year industry career.

ABDA Creative Design & Build’s commercial director, Kevin Waterson, is to retire at the end of this month.

Having been a key part of the kitchen design house’s team for 11 years, his career in the catering equipment and commercial kitchen outfit industry has spanned around 40 years, including a spell at Lloyd Catering Equipment.

ABDA MD David Summers recalls working with Waterson for over 20 years, when, while at other distributors, he helped to provide outfit services to ABDA projects during the period the company was purely a design consultancy. “When we moved into more design and build projects 15 years ago, including catering equipment supply, we wanted Kevin to come onboard to help us on the sales front,” he told Catering Insight.

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“He’s been a great colleague and he’s always put the business first. And he worked so hard to build sales, which was against all odds at the time he joined in 2008 when the financial crash happened. He’s helped the business through testing times.”

One of the highlights of Waterson’s time at ABDA was working on the prestigious Arts Club project in London’s Mayfair in 2011, a high profile job worth in excess of £1m which Summers described as “a real feather in the cap for him and the business”.

Throughout Waterson’s ABDA stint he has brought in work from big names such as Moto motorway service stations and high street chains.

Summers commented: “He has directed our sales team and taken the business forward, with the responsibility of managing a team of 16 prior to obtaining orders. Most importantly he’s made my life very enjoyable and easy. He’s understood the ethos of what we do and our creative edge.”

He further revealed: “ABDA tends to be seen as a bit more of a premium offer in the industry, as we have concentrated more on front of house catering design. But that is changing and Kevin has been responsible for making sure that our marketplace knows we work on back of house as well as the front.”

As part of Waterson’s succession plan over the last 18 months, ABDA has been beefing up its sales team. Summers explained: “About 12 months ago, we had Claire Smith and Stephen Ryan come into the business, with them going forward to drive the sales side of the business.

“They’ve done a sterling job and made Kevin’s life easier as far as creating succession on the sales and marketing side. Bringing the right people into the business was a key part to the succession and our continued growth.”

Waterson is planning to head out on more walks and increase his travelling during his retirement, but he will still keep in contact with ABDA and offer support if it is needed.

Summers concluded: “Achieving business goals is one thing, but from a personal point of view, having that ally who supports you day in day out and understands the direction you want to go as a business owner is key.

“Kevin has been a great friend along the way and we will miss him. He’s a real gentleman of the industry.”

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Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls


  1. Wishing you all the best for the future Kevin. An industry “Mr Nice Guy” that will surely be missed

  2. Enjoy your retirement Kevin, it’s been a real pleasure working with you over the years. As has been said many times “ A true Gentleman of the industry “ you will be sorely missed by us all.

  3. Well done Kevin, being in the industry for over 30 years myself.
    I fully appreciate its a long road you have traveled with lots of excitement, industry changes, and obstacles/ challenges along the route well done for hanging in there. Enjoy your much deserved retirement.

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