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Life at Workman interview 14th October 2021

What three words describe Workman?  

Professional, progressive, specialist.

What has been your standout moment at Workman so far? 

Working closely with a major client during the height of Covid to assist with their purchase of a major mixed-use scheme in Sheffield. The scheme made up around 28 acres of the city centre. I then set up and manage the site on their behalf after the purchase completed in April 2021. In total, the site extends to 1.5 million square feet of primary retail and leisure, with a number of major mixed-use asset management opportunities.

Tell us about a time you’ve put your skills to their best use on a Workman project? 

Linked to the above, managing my team to get everything set up for our client while doing a handover from the previous owner’s managing agent, dealing with the tenants on site – a number of whom had arrears on account dating back to the start of the pandemic – and negotiating payment plans to get them paid, bringing in new members of staff on site to Workman and getting them set up on the various systems… Lots of different things going on at once, which is why every day is different as a property manager and that’s what I love about it.

What change would you make to a single aspect of the wider property sector and why? 

Having dabbled very briefly in rating early in my career, I think the system of calculating and charging business rates is in serious need of an overhaul. Revaluations need to be carried out more regularly so the rates payable more accurately reflect current market values. The system of transitional relief whereby if rates go down (or up) the reduction (or increase) is phased in over a number of years, meaning that the occupier may never actually pay what they should be paying at any point, is unfair.

What are your spare time pursuits and how do they feed into your role at Workman? 

I used to play a lot of football, so was always working with others to achieve common goals and objectives. Unfortunately, my Achilles went pop (or more accurately “crack” when it ruptured) so I don’t get to play nearly as much as I would like anymore!

What is your favourite building worldwide, and why? 

St. George’s Hall in Liverpool. I just remember as kid being overawed by the sheer size of it. Even now when you walk past it, the building is absolutely massive and having had the chance to go inside for various events I can attest that it is just as grand inside as it looks from the outside.

What first led you into the property industry? 

My Dad. He was managing director of a firm of property consultants in Liverpool and I used to go in and help out during school holidays, which I always really enjoyed. I was coming up to the end of my degree in pharmacology and had to make a decision to either convert that to medicine and spend another five years studying, which I wasn’t particularly keen on, or do something else. One of the directors where my Dad worked asked if I would be interested in taking a non-cognate graduate position with them as they saw I enjoyed it when I went in to help out. I took that and absolutely loved it. I then enrolled on a post-graduate diploma course with the College of Estate Management and did that alongside working full time, and after that I sat my APC. 

What book or podcast do you recommend? 

My podcast recommendation would be Quickly Kevin; Will He Score. It is hosted by Josh Widdecombe and looks back at ‘90s football, so lots of memories from when I was a child and very funny. Or the Off Menu podcast, hosted by Ed Gamble and James Acaster, where guests come on and describe their dream meal. One tip though: never listen to it on an empty stomach!