I began my career at Weatherall Green & Smith in Leeds in 1990 and spent eight years there, progressing to Associate level. It was a good time and place to learn. Weatheralls was one of the bigger players in Leeds at that time, with a particular strength in insolvency, which possibly kept me in a job in the early 90s, and I managed to experience the ups and down of the property cycle. Over my time there my focus evolved from Building Surveying into Employer’s Agent and Project Management work.
Later, I joined Lamb & Edge in Newcastle in 1998 to start their Building Team. The practice was acquired by GVA in 2006, so 2018 sees my twentieth year with GVA in one form or another. My time with GVA has allowed me to develop my career; I became a Senior Director within the National Building Team in 2014 and assumed the role of Regional Senior Director in Newcastle in January 2018.
The highlight of my career to date has to be the development of the Building Team in Newcastle – most of whom have now been with GVA for over twelve years – and the contribution we have been able to make to the office and the wider region. We have been involved with some major projects across the region, which have helped to promote investment and development in some challenging times.
The north east market can be challenging. As a result, we have focussed on building good relationships with most public sector organisations that promote regeneration across the region. As a result, we are currently working on several public sector and private sector projects that are helping to regenerate some of the more challenged areas of the region. The involvement of our client – whether a developer or a local authority – will help to improve the overall quality of the environment within which these developments sit and, through the creation of new jobs, will help to reinvigorate the local economy.
Like many businesses, the property industry relies on building relationships and I am fortunate to work with good people within GVA and across our client base, both public and private sector. In my role as Regional Senior Director, I see the commitment that we make as a business to the UK regions, whether this is on a highly visible platform such as MIPIM or through some of the excellent charity work that we undertake in the region.
For those starting out in the property industry, I would emphasise that it is about relationships and you should try to develop your skills as a “people person”. Ultimately, value is derived from knowledge and career development can be greatly enhanced by developing the ability to exchange knowledge for money as opposed to time for money.
My favourite building is the Carlton Hotel in Cannes. It is a grand old building from another era, although with my building surveying hat on I can say that it is perfectly maintained and looks as good now as it ever did. This isn’t a MIPIM-induced view. We were fortunate enough to holiday there when our kids were younger and it is the perfect backdrop for building sandcastles and learning to swim, particularly when the sun strikes in late afternoon.