50 years and still counting…. Disley’s Quality Manager Ken McKeown recently celebrated not just his 65th birthday, but also his 50th year of working at Disley- a truly rare milestone to reach.
Ken started work at Disley on 29th June 1970 at the factory in Ligoniel Road Belfast, he was aged just 15. Starting in the warehouse making shirt boxes, this was a time when every shirt made was supplied in an individual box, Ken soon became an apprentice in the Cutting Room and began learning about all the technical processes involved in shirt making. Beginning with cutting interlining, moving onto pattern construction and grading, he learned all about the proportions of the human body and how to translate them into a pattern using only a square, measuring tape & pencil. Promoted to Cutting Room Manager aged 21, Ken was responsible for a team of 20 people, at this time Disley’s factory employed around 400 staff and produced up to 15,000 garments a week. After gaining more experience in the Sample Room, Ken became Quality Manager in 1983. In the mid-late eighties as the use of imported shirts was starting to grow, he began guiding Disley’s first forays into overseas production.
Ken has gone on to oversee all aspects of Quality Management within all of Disley’s production facilities, setting up work processes, training staff and even servicing machinery! “Ken has been instrumental in ensuring the fundamental principles of good garment production are adhered to at all times. His attention to detail & exceptional standards underpin the high-quality clothing that Disley is now well known for.” says Sales Director Tony Hughes “We are hugely grateful for his unswerving loyalty and commitment.”
Ken has no plans to retire any time soon and remains central to Disley’s operations- he says he’s putting off having to start the list of jobs his wife has planned for him!
The celebrations may have needed to be muted for now, but as soon as guidelines permit, the Disley team will be gathering to mark this unique achievement.