Former UKIFDA president, Janet Kettlewell, speaks on a unique tenure

Inaugurated as president of UKIFDA on the 24th June 2020, Janet Kettlewell headed the association’s management committee and worked closely with Ken Cronin, CEO.

As Janet Kettlewell hands over as UKIFDA president, Claudia Weeks, FON content editor, meets with her at the UKIFDA EXPO to review her time as president and hear what’s next.

Running her own family fuel distribution business, Kettlewell Fuels, Janet was a UKIFDA management committee member for 5 years before taking on the role of president and is also UKIFDA representative for Yorkshire and the North-East of England. Janet has seen the association transform over the last few years into a modern, innovative, and highly ambitious organisation.

When she took on the role, Janet set out clear ambitions for her presidency: “I aim to continue the sterling work of past presidents on raising standards in the industry and making further significant progress on how the industry meets the decarbonisation targets set by the governments of the UK and Ireland.

“As the market continues to develop and change, as we enter a new era of liquid fuels, we will embrace all the challenges that lie ahead for our sector with enthusiasm and passion, and I am absolutely sure that UKIFDA and its members will continue to thrive.”

After an enforced break, the industry came together at the UKIFDA EXPO in Liverpool in April for the first physical event in 3 years at which it was time for Janet to step down as president and to hand over that responsibility to Rory Clarke, MD at J.R. Rix & Sons Ltd.

Claudia Weeks, content editor, spoke with Janet at the EXPO to review her time as president and to find out what happens next.

A time of challenge and change

“I’m very much a people person. It’s been really lovely seeing people coming together during these challenging times,” Janet began, when asked what she has enjoyed about her time as president. “The whole community has come together, and Ken has certainly been a key part in that.

“The particular challenges over the last two years such as covid, the clean bill strategy and now, the Ukraine crisis, have brought everyone together. The UKIFDA team has been amazing; it’s a small team and the committee is made up of volunteers, but they all work hard and have given up their time happily and bring so much value to the industry.

“A key point to remember is that the primary role of the association is to be the members’ champion and not just a networking organisation – UKIFDA takes the current market issues and delivers them back to the members with solutions to help members find their pathway as well as giving constructive support and guidance.

“There are also more members stepping forward to help. Ken has been great at putting together different working groups on different topics, which we all benefit from. UKIFDA is very democratic – it doesn’t matter if you’re a big, small, or medium sized company – the opportunities are the same for everyone.”

The biggest challenges

“The biggest challenge at the start of my role was when Guy Pulham, former CEO UKIFDA, said he wasn’t going to renew his contract. That meant finding the right person to be the new CEO – a challenge made more difficult as it all happened during covid. We had to conduct interviews virtually, interviewing and appointing Ken virtually. It was only some months later that we eventually got to meet him.

“It’s bizarre to think that interviewing for a role which is so important, as the CEO of UKIFDA, was all done through a screen.

Obviously, covid provided many challenges and now we also have the Ukraine crisis and the cost- of-living crisis. On the plus side, there has been plenty to get stuck into, to learn and share ideas and to deal with challenges head on.

Favourite moment

“It’s a tricky one – I’ve been involved with UKIFDA for a long time. There has been so much organic growth and development. It would be hard to pinpoint an exact moment that was my favourite!

“My initial inauguration was a definite highlight. I received a lot of positive support, which made the start of my presidency so much easier.

“During my presidency, I’d say meeting and appointing Ken. He’s playing a vital role and has formed a good relationship with Government that is critical to our success – even receiving direct communication from Rishi Sunak, which has enabled UKIFDA to make future plans.

“I’ve also had the opportunity to get involved across a number of UKIFDA committees and working groups – it’s always productive to look beyond your world and work collaboratively. It’s been a great way to get to know more people in the industry too.

“Being part of this ‘rejuvenated’ UKIFDA and the future fuels project has been so rewarding. To see an industry moving forward when there are so many challenges we are facing. We fully take on board our responsibility to play our part in a cleaner future and want to embrace that. The industry is prepared and ready to pivot for the future.”


“The EXPO was a huge success and thoroughly enjoyed by all,” Janet enthused. “I would like to say a huge thank you to Dawn Shakespeare, UKIFDA membership and events manager, for her part in organising the whole event. There has been so much good engagement.

“We have an amazing industry and lovely people that work within it. It’s been so nice seeing everybody and bringing people together, learning from the exhibitors and conference speakers, discovering what’s new in businesses, and just seeing people so enthusiastic about being back together.

“It’s the critical factors of the sector that are bringing people together – it has harmonised people and it’s been great to see people in 3D finally!”

Any advice for the incoming president? As mentioned above, taking over the role as president at UKIFDA from Janet is Rory Clarke, and Janet was full of praise for her successor: “Rory – be yourself!”

“He’s an amazing individual with masses of experience. Rory has been a huge help and support to me, and he will do a wonderful job. I simply don’t need to give advice to Rory Clarke, there’s nothing I can teach him!”

Future plans

Fuel Oil News wanted to know what the future holds for Janet Kettlewell and asked, “What next?”

Janet laughed and said that her immediate plans were to “go home and rest!” but that after that it would be back to work with gusto.

“I will be carrying on with our family distribution business, Kettlewell Fuels that I run jointly with my husband, Trevor. I always strive to be the best I can possibly be and look forward to continuing the hard work with the wonderful Kettlewell team.

Fuel Oil News wishes Janet the very best for her future endeavours and looks forward to continuing to support Rory, Ken, Dawn and the whole team at UKIFDA.