The consultancy director initially trained as a plumber but has since done a wide range of jobs across the industry. He grew up in Hull and now works in Leeds 


Why did you choose construction as a career?

When I was considering leaving school, career opportunities were not very well-defined. The options were either to stay on at school or obtain a practical qualification. I chose to go down the practical route and started off doing an NVQ in plumbing as I felt it was a valuable skill to learn. It was something I really enjoyed, but job opportunities were limited at the time. I did however, get the opportunity to work for a main contractor and learn the art of estimating, buying and quantity surveying.

I have had various roles within construction since then, working for clients, developers, consultants and main contractors. It has provided me with a really rounded understanding of the industry. 

I recently joined EDGE as the company’s 100th employee at an exciting time for the business. I’m enjoying my role as director in the Leeds office and really looking forward to supporting the growth of the business – building on the company’s significant expansion over the past 12 months.

What are you most proud of in your career to date?

In a previous role, I was responsible for a £100m school capital delivery programme that created more than 4,000 new school places for children aged 4 to 18 in Peterborough, which was the fastest growing city in Europe at the time.

I was employed to manage and oversee the project with a small team alongside the local authority. It was incredibly rewarding to see how my input helped to contribute tangible results – by easing a problematic bottleneck and giving thousands of children a place to learn at a pivotal time in their development. I formed lasting relationships with an excellent client team, which made the effort all the more worthwhile.

What has been the biggest challenge in your career to date? 

Trying to manage my career alongside my home life through Covid. When the pandemic hit, my wife and I were working extended hours due to increased workload, all while suddenly having to educate two young children on top of that.

The biggest project challenge was the refurbishment of a 1970s leisure centre and swimming pool. While not a huge-value scheme, it was logistically a very challenging one. The leisure centre remained open to the public throughout, so along with the technicalities of the building, we also had to manage the safety of the public.

This was my first time administering the NEC form of contract, but it allowed me to see the advantages and collaboration it was designed to bring. With a concerted effort from the client, professional team and contractor, we delivered an excellent project for the client and local community.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be? 

The perception of our industry, starting with better education around what happens before the first brick is laid on a building project, something which would also help to address the major skills gap faced by the industry. As an industry, the broad spectrum of career options is not well advertised to young people. Construction is perceived as a very manual industry, but there are a huge variety of roles to suit most skill-sets and personalities, from the free and creative to the logical and process mindsets.

What is the most helpful advice that you have been given?  

No question is a stupid question, just don’t ever ask it twice.

Humber Bridge

Source: Shutterstock

The 2.2km Humber Bridge spans an estuary formed by the rivers Trent and Ouse. When it opened in June 1981 it was the longest single-span road suspension bridge in the world

Name your favourite building in the world

It’s more a structure than a building, but my favourite piece of construction is the Humber Bridge. It’s an iconic landmark, an impressive feat of engineering, and belongs to my home city. I have lots of fond memories of the bridge. To most people it’s just that – a bridge – but to locals it’s a welcome symbol of home.

Which famous building do you most dislike? 

20 Fenchurch Street, London – aka The Walkie Talkie.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in your profession?

Not to pigeonhole yourself into a specific job role or part of the industry. Keep your eyes open and try different things. Just like a building – learn from the ground up. There’s so much that people miss out on by trying to run before they can walk. You just can’t put a price on actual experience of doing the doing. Whether that’s working on site, choosing materials, laying, fixing, managing people, designing, engineering, costing – dip your fingers in as many pies as possible for as long as you can before choosing a specific route.

Walkie Talkie

Not keen: The Walkie Talkie (aka 20 Fenchurch Street), designed by Rafael Vinoly and opened in 2014

Who do you most admire in the industry?

I admire different things in lots of people. And not necessarily people at the top of the game – you can pick up good traits from people at every level, as well as identify bad ones you don’t want to take forward.

What’s it like being you (and doing your job)?

It’s great. The industry is a really fun and sociable one to be a part of. I’m always getting to meet new people – clients, consultants and brilliant colleagues that you can build relationships and friendships with. I get together with so many different professionals facing different challenges that we need to understand and embrace in order to learn.

Do you have a life philosophy? 

If winning isn’t everything, then why do we keep the score? I think that comes from the inner sportsman in me.

What do you think your best quality is? 

Honesty (although I’m not sure that’s always a good thing!)

What trait do you most dislike in yourself? And in others? 

I can be a bit of a control freak as I’m quite a competitive person. My wife hates it when I try to project manage the family! In other people, dishonesty.

Name three things that you like  

Spending time with my family; playing football and coaching children in my local community; going to the pub with friends.

Tell us about a secret skill we don’t know you have

DIY (insert laughing emojis here)

What is your most-prized possession? 

I’m not a very sentimental person, so it would have to be my family.

Early bird or night owl? 

I normally get up at 5.45am, so early bird.

What’s your favourite food? 

Thai food, specifically a Penang curry.

What would your superpower be?  

To hear people’s thoughts, so that I can tell when they are trying to pull the wool over my eyes.

EDGE is a multi-disciplinary property and construction consultancy that provides services to national and international clients across all property sectors. The business operates out of offices in Nottingham, Sheffield, Birmingham, Leeds and London with a 100-strong team and counting. The core business focus is to provide high-quality tailored services with a hands-on approach from inception to completion in project management, cost management, quantity surveying and supporting services.