Paul is a chartered surveyor with a varied background covering business management, mergers & acquisitions, investments, project management and construction. He also brings leadership experience from his time as an officer in the British Armed Forces. Paul recently worked as Vice President at Britishvolt and oversaw projects across the UK and internationally including significant energy and infrastructure developments to support the UK’s first major Gigafactory development in the Northeast of England.
What’s the proudest moment of your career?
I delivered what was quoted in the press as “Europe’s largest Mercedes-Benz dealership” in 2019, a 300,000sqft development on a brownfield site just outside Manchester. The project was delivered under an accelerated programme with much of the works procured as packages and under high pressure. For much of this project I had pressure of my own as I was undergoing chemotherapy which concluded shortly after the project achieved PC. A double celebration that day!
What motivates you?
People motivate me. In my previous roles I have been keen to take the time to develop those working for me and to encourage those working alongside me to do the same. I was taught at an early part of my career that you must always prepare the ground for those under you to take on your role in the future.
What do you enjoy most about the industry?
We are truly fortunate in our industry that we create a legacy in our projects that in many cases will outlast us. I still visit projects I worked on at the start of my career that look just as good as they did when they were completed.
What skills and characteristics do you look for in people?
Teamwork, integrity and ambition.
How did you get into construction? My route into construction was not traditional. Following my business degree I worked for a company that was going through a significant expansion and was acquiring a large number of property assets. As part of this process I became involved in projects to demolish, build and fit out properties. Very soon it became clear to me that creating a legacy through construction was much more interesting than business management!
Do you have a favourite building?
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
What’s your personal philosophy?
Work smarter not harder, take the time to step back and assess a situation before jumping in and always look for where you can add the most value to your team and support them to grow and develop.
What’s your favourite book?
I like reading so have a few!
Prior to me doing some work in the far east I was given a book called Mr China by Tim Clissold, a fantastic account of the pitfalls of doing business in this part of the world. It is a great read for all, not just those interested in working in China.
“A fortunate life” the biography of Paddy Ashdown is also an excellent book charting his incredible life story through the far east, the military, his political and international career, incredible how one individual fitted so much in!
“Shoe Dog” the biography of Phil Knight of Nike is an incredible story of how this young entrepreneur went through multiple failures and financial difficulties prior to finding success with Nike.
Who inspires you?
Lord Dannatt former General and Chief of the General Staff of the British Army. Not only has he an incredible life story of courage and leadership I have also seen a small example of this myself. I had the pleasure of meeting Lord Dannatt in 2019 after the completion of a 65-mile ultra-marathon to raise money for a military charity. Rather than attending a series of glamourous events with world leaders he had been invited to that evening, he took the time to greet every runner at the finish line of this historic event into the early hours of the morning to support our charity cause, a real demonstration of leadership.
What’s your best career advice?
A wise individual once taught me that in any situation you should always ask yourself “what more could I be doing now” to ensure you do not rest on your laurels. Never settle for the status quo, always ask yourself “what more could I be doing now” in any situation. By asking myself this question and acting on it has opened numerous opportunities for me.
What are your passions outside of work?
My family is my greatest passion and achievement. In terms of activities outside of work I am a keen long distance runner and enjoy spending time with my wife cooking and learning new cookery skills.