Owner/Director of Engineering & Environmental Consultancy, Family (4 kids), Road Cycling, Snowboarding, Rugby (Coaching & Watching), Business and People
When I was ten I wanted to be an accountant! Seriously, at school I loved maths and science and wanted a career that I could practically implement my learning in these subjects. Engineering seemed the obvious choice, and was swayed to civil engineering as both my grandfather and great uncle were civil engineers.
At the age of 13 I left home to go to boarding school, which was fantastic for a sports enthusiast, but was also a very closeted upbringing. Aged 18 I was let loose in London, supposedly to do a civil engineering degree at University College London, but the bright lights of the capital and more money in the bank than I had ever had, led to a far greater focus on rugby/socialising than working. I finally graduated five years after starting.
My final year had changed my focus and rather than go into main stream civil engineering, I wanted to embark on a career in the environmental sector. However, graduating in 1991 in the midst of a recession meant finding a job was very difficult. After 9 months working in a Mars warehouse, I finally got my big break and a job with Wimpey Environmental in London.
I spent a year focussed on undertaking waste audits and monitoring at waste transfer and landfill sites across London, but that could only keep my interest for so long. In 1993 I moved to Ernest Green Environmental to focus on the assessment and remediation of contaminated sites. Most of the work was on former gasworks sites, with the highlight being project managing a £3million remediation project in Eastbourne, with only three years experience under my belt - I always thrive when challenged and put under pressure.
I decided to look for a new job in 1996 and ended up with four job offers. I picked the one which I felt had the greatest challenge and opportunities - a role at a Canadian company Conestoga-Rovers & Associates (CRA) who had just opened their first office outside North America in Nottingham.
Whilst my role was to establish and grow a UK based contaminated land business and team in the UK for CRA, I spent the next three years working for North American clients undertaking environmental due diligence work for mergers & acquisitions, including work in Africa, India, Nepal and most of Western Europe. Whilst great fun, I eventually realised that living out of a suitcase wasn't sustainable.
Instead I moved to a new job with international environmental consultancy Dames & Moore in Birmingham. After two months there, Dames & Moore were bought by URS and three months later 75% of the Birmingham office had left the company. What should I do? I decided that I should stick it out and get the experience under my belt rather than jumping ship after less than six months in the job. I stuck it out for 3 years, learning a lot about myself and others on the way, before the opportunity arose to join BWB.
In 2002, I joined BWB as Business Unit Manager for the Environmental Team in Nottingham. Twelve months after joining my Director resigned and left the business, leaving the opportunity for me to take a step up and become a Company Director and lead the Environmental services across the business. I convinced the Board that Environmental should be developed and run on a Divisional basis rather than the tried and accepted regional model that the business operated. We went on to establish environmental teams in the Derby, Leeds and Birmingham offices, growing the Division significantly. I subsequently became responsible for the Water Division and the Traffic & Transportation Division.
At the end of 2007, the opportunity arose to lead a management buy out of BWB along with three fellow directors. The MBO completed on 3 April 2008, and whilst we had great plans for the future, the economy nose-dived and we had to manage the impact of this on the business. The next two years were both challenging and exhilarating - exhilarating because we had to act and make decisions to ensure the business survived, which couldn't have been achieved without everyone pulling together.
We are now in a position of growth in the business, which brings a different set of challenges and massive opportunities for everyone at BWB.
If I had to choose one, then it would be Rooley Lane, Bradford. This project presented huge engineering challenges. BWB rose to these challenges across all our disciplines: providing a new highway access solution; identifying and remediating 22 old mineshafts; remediating a former landfill on site; dealing with a glacial meltwater channel that ran through the middle of site; designing a massive earthworks operation to provide a development plateau for 1 million sqft distribution centre; designing all the site roads and drainage; designing the M&S distribution centre including a 9m high soil nailed retaining wall; all together bringing in over £1million in fees to the business.
A phenomenal success delivered by a fantastic team!!
My four kids (aged 3 to 14) keep me occupied a lot of the time outside work, be it playmate, taxi driver, bank manager, etc. When I do get some time for me, then I love road cycling and coaching my son's rugby team.
At the bar, buying a large round of drinks for everyone at BWB to celebrate our success as a people-centred, innovative business.