Oliver, 34, is director of management consulting at Cyril Sweett
What has been the hardest challenge you have faced to get to where you are now?
Finding and retaining good people. Although the risk of hiring inappropriately is high for any team/company, it can seriously hamper high value service lines such as technical advisory. It is prudent to be patient when hiring and conscious of the need to retain good people.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
On the cover of Forbes magazine, smiling next to Oprah and the Queen. No, in all seriousness I simply wish to continue enjoying my professional work which will subsequently provide me with the energy to play an important role in supporting the growth and strategic goals of our group in what is a very exciting time for Cyril Sweett.
Where do you see the construction industry going in the next year, three years and decade?
Looking ahead, the implementation of the UK’s legislatively-agreed target for renewable energy by 2020 will place huge focus on new and existing technologies and construction methodologies. This focus will invariably be centred around three broad groups: wind – onshore and offshore; biomass – for electricity, heat and transport; and heat pumps. Across other technologies I don’t believe we will have revolutionary change, rather engineering progress.
I think we will see a strong rate of improvement across these 3threetechnologies over the next decade. It is imperative we do. We certainly need incentive programmes that reward the people who deploy early and drive the cost down and doesn’t over-reward those who hang back and embrace initiatives late.
What has been your career high point so far?
Joining Cyril Sweett in 2006 and witnessing how the group has evolved over the years in what has been a fast-changing and innovative period for the company has been hugely satisfying. Given the challenging macro environment our industry is facing, we have positioned ourselves as a strong business whose results in comparison to our peer group have been positive. Our achievements in fostering quality and expanding our geographical reach continues to make us competitive and strong, today and in the future.
And the low point?
Fortunately, I haven’t experienced any low periods. I’ve lived through a few wobbles but there is still time!
Who is your hero? (This can be either industry or non industry related)
I don’t have a hero. I greatly respect particular individuals for their inspiration and unrivalled focus. I doubt many of those extolled as ’heroes’ feel comfortable with such a label! Mandela showed unbelievable conviction and humanity, Anne Frank lived a tortuous life but came through it using mental and physical strength and Ali was and is an inspiration to millions. Strength of character is the overriding factor.
If you could take one thing with you to a desert island, what would it be?
A gas burner. Starting a fire with sticks using the “bow-drill method” is slow and frustrating. Why bother if I could bring a burner with me?