Hilston, 30, is project director, retail development at Hammerson
What has been the hardest challenge you have faced to get to where you are now?
My view is that starting out is always the hardest part of any career. I have been very fortunate as I received some great training when at Land Securities enabling me to get my RICS and RTPI membership quickly. Since then, I have been very lucky as I have had some excellent mentors who have really pushed me to move forward.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
I’d like to see the project I currently run, the Eastgate Quarters in Leeds, through some major milestones as I think it will be a great scheme for the City and Hammerson. After that I have often thought it would be a real test to see if I could run my own business and make it successful.
Where do you see the construction industry going in the next year, three years and decade?
The next year will be a difficult one for all, regardless of what stage any project is at. I think the sustainability agenda and growth of green energy intiatives whether it be district heating networks, solar or wind farms remain growth areas to be worked at in this brave new world of austerity.
What has been your career high point so far?
I am pleased with lots of things. As I work predominantly in the pre-construction phase of the development process, achieving planning permission or signing a land deal is sometimes a real highlight as it is the culmination of many years of effort from a large number of bodies. I have also picked up a lot of situations and worked them through to a positive outcome when things could quite easily have turned out differently.
And the low point?
The recession. The last two years have been a tough.
Who is your hero?
Ron Burgundy (from the film Anchorman). A class act. He would have been a great good times developer but I think he would have struggled in bad times.
If you could take one thing with you to a desert island, what would it be?
A fishing rod.