It is with great sadness that I have to report on the sudden and untimely passing of Kennith Richard Beverley on the 10th April 2020. Ken was one of the most well respected and liked personalities in the tooling supply industry, having worked in the industry for over 45 years. But more importantly he was a very proud man, a devoted husband and family man, lived a fulfilled life with the motto of the first to give and the last to take, uppermost in his mind.
Born in Johannesburg on the 15th December 1947 Ken spent his entire working career in the engineering industry. Notably Ken worked with one company since 1978 up until his retirement seven years ago at the age of 65. When Ken joined the Veit brothers at Toolquip the company operated from small offices in a building known as Kensington Place above The Burger Ranch Steakhouse opposite the Oribi Hotel in Roberts Avenue, Kensington, Johannesburg. At that stage the company marketed a few German brands of tooling.
Ken was involved on the sales side of the company and was appointed as Sales Director in the 1980s. Along with his fellow Directors and colleagues Ken grew the company to eventually by 1985 the company had over 22 000 stock items. In 1998 Toolquip merged with Allied Machinery Equipment and was renamed Toolquip & Allied. Ken continued on as the Sales Director of the new company and was instrumental in growing the company’s product base and relationships with external suppliers and customers. The company would eventually be sourcing various products from over 300 manufacturers from 25 different countries worldwide including countries in Europe and the East. The company also carried over 73 000 line items and on average 145 000 items would leave the Toolquip & Allied premises every month. The building that the company operated from included 3 500m² of warehousing and 2 500m² of office floor space.
Ken was certainly well known internationally amongst the tooling, cutting tools, accessories, consumables and industrial products manufacturing companies and in South Africa amongst the engineering industry but he still remained a very humble man.
Ken was also known as a no-nonsense type of guy and demanded success from his staff but was always considered to be fair in his demands. He also had an open-door policy for his staff colleagues and friends and many of his clients would be regarded as friends as well. One such long-time buddy from the engineering industry was Alec Bernardo, who taught Ken so much and who also learnt so much from Ken. The two remained friends for 45 years.
Always very presentable himself Ken insisted his reps were well dressed, presentable, hygienic and knowledgeable before even thinking of calling on clients. Ken was strict on working hours but would let his reps go home a bit earlier on the odd Friday, only if your sales were exceptional. Sales meetings on a Thursday afternoon were always on the schedule.
Ken also insisted on ethical business and made sure his reps were honest with their clients. If for example he caught you trying to give incorrect information to customers about delivery times, you were in deep trouble. As a result, Ken’s reps were successful and had extreme respect for Ken and what he stood for. Ken cared for their wellbeing, rewarding those that worked hard, whether they were external or internal sales staff. Ken also made sure that his family of personal staff owned their own homes and had their own vehicles and he was proud of what they had achieved.
Ken was responsible for producing the best and most comprehensive catalogues, first for Toolquip (first produced in 1978) and then subsequently Toolquip & Allied. Still today these catalogues are referred to in the industry.
Ken’s personal interests included sport, conservation – especially wildlife, shooting rifle and shotgun, motorcycle riding and deep sea fishing.
Rest in peace Ken. We will all miss you. His lifetime of dedication and self-sacrifice serve as a monument to the exemplary man he was. His humility, integrity, and hard work continue to inspire those who knew him.