Try Construction's hard-working commercial director tells Jane Garwood about his ambitious plans to improve the business – and his motorbike.
What do you do?

My job is to facilitate Try’s vision of growth and expansion. I spend time describing the changes to individuals and groups.

Describe a typical day

I’m up at 6am and in the car by 6.30am. I have several conversations with colleagues and friends during the hour-long drive to work.

I spend one-third of each day talking to staff and contractors; one-third working on initiatives set up to achieve short-term goals; and one-third working on long-term strategy. I leave the office at 6pm, and from 8pm until 9.30pm, I catch up on paperwork – although I take Friday and Saturday evenings off.

What’s the best thing about the job?

Bringing in modern management thinking. The vision was already there but making it happen is very exciting. It is an electric environment and there is tremendous enthusiasm for change.

What’s the worst thing?

It is very lonely. Most of the directors have been at Try for an average of 20 years and there is a depth of relationship there that I cannot hope to match.

What was the first thing you did when you joined the company? The first thing I had to do was turn my mind to marketing. I looked at the image Try presents to its clients. Now, we have new staff and a marketing strategy to target new customers.

Have you introduced any other initiatives?

We have tried to implement the Egan report’s recommendations. We have developed a customer-care programme and risk-management initiatives and we’ve also introduced benchmarking and performance management reviews.

What stresses you out at work?

The most frustrating thing is the amount of time I spend in the car, mainly visiting sites around London. It’s in excess of 15 hours a week, not including commuting time.

How much holiday do you take?

I’ve never taken my whole entitlement. I tend to take odd days tacked on to bank holiday weekends and a few weeks in the summer.

What has been the highlight of your career?

I was working on a high-profile, £22m office building in London a couple of years ago. It started to go off the rails three-quarters of the way through construction. My team and I managed to conclude the project to the client’s satisfaction and it was a success.

What were your ambitions at 18?

I was going to change the world. My aim was to be highly successful by the age of 30.

What do you hope to achieve now?

I want to continue to enjoy what I do, to take a leading role in a dynamic organisation and to help it achieve recognition for the service it provides. There is a long way to go.

How do you switch off after work?

I quite like a glass of Scotch – it helps put things in perspective. Also, I have a racing motorbike, a Honda Fireblade – a ride on that blows the cobwebs away.

If you weren’t a commercial director, what would you be doing?

When I left school, I was offered two jobs.

One was at a chartered surveyor and the other was at a merchant bank. I could have been in banking now.

Age 37 Current job Commercial director, Try Construction Employment history Joined a chartered quantity surveyor practice in 1979; HBG Kyle Stewart 1983-1998: quantity surveyor, design and build 1983, managing surveyor 1988, divisional manager 1994, contracts director 1996 Qualifications RICS correspondence course from Reading College of Estate Management, 1979-1983 Lives Near Bedford Salary £45 000-55 000 Family Married to Lorna with children, Russell, aged 8, and Lyndsey, aged 6 Drives BMW 5 series