In our series of ‘5 minutes with…’ interviews, we meet the people behind the projects:
What does project management mean to you?
Working efficiently, smartly, collaboratively, responsibly, and fairly to achieve a common goal. Predicting and mitigating risks. The application of reasonable judgement while considering project-wide factors and avoiding the team going down rabbit holes.
Which clients do you work with?
I work with a range of clients, primarily Hermes, Columbia Threadneedle, Ellandi, Blackrock, MEPC, Tristan, Longmead Capital, Global Mutal.
Why did you choose to work in the commercial property sector?
As a youngster I was inspired by the size and scale of commercial buildings. I value working with professional clients that know what they want to achieve and allow me the autonomy to deliver projects and solutions within agreed parameters.
What has been your standout moment at Workman so far?
Delivery of the vertical extension and refurbishment of part of the centre:mk for Hermes (client) and Primark (occupier). We lifted the roof and floors off a central portion of the structure, before building back up with additional floor levels and a plant storey. The significance of what we were doing struck when it snowed part way through the demolition. We had snow covering all parts of the site, which was separated from the live operational mall and shopping centre. It was like Alice in Wonderland walking through a hoarding door off the mall into a very different space. We delivered a complex project, on schedule, below budget and to the right quality. My best takeaway was collaborative work with the contracting teams, which is something I hope to repeat.
Tell us how you have put your project training to its best use on a Workman project?
Leadership skills without a doubt, but collaborative working just makes a project fly, and then it becomes really enjoyable.
What has been your biggest project management challenge, and how did you overcome it?
I once worked with a client that wouldn’t take any advice. I tried to stay positive and keep doing a professional job but ultimately it made the project outcomes difficult to achieve and also necessitated much more personal and team involvement than was actually required.
What are your spare time pursuits and how do they contribute to your role at Workman?
I coached my son’s football team since he was five years old, and only recently handed over the coaching role to someone younger with more footballing experience and knowledge. Recognising when to step back and let someone else take the lead is a hard but important lesson. It’s one I try to practice both at work and at leisure.
What has been your most significant achievement outside work, and what did it teach you?
I like a challenge, so it could be cycling John O’Groats to Land’s End, climbing Kilimanjaro or trekking to Everest base camp. In each case, good preparation, resilience, and a never-give-up attitude paid off. All three lessons are transferrable to project management and working within mixed-discipline teams.
What is your favourite building worldwide, and why?
Gaudi’s Casa Mila in Barcelona. I think it’s one of the most organic-looking commercial buildings in the world.