BQ chats with Frank Kofler, MD of one of Yorkshire’s fastest growing construction companies.
What is it the company does?
We are a Leeds-based general building contractor and work within all sectors of the market, including industrial, commercial, healthcare, education and residential on a design & build and traditional basis. We enjoy growing partnerships with major retailers and have an increasingly diverse portfolio, which has helped us to become one of Yorkshire’s fastest climbing construction companies.
We’ve built all types of buildings from operating theatres, retail units and warehousing to schools and even a Priory.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
I have overall responsibility from identifying possible tenders, presentations and contract awards right through to the successful delivery of projects in the unique Castlehouse high quality and service manner.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I qualified as a mechanical engineer, with an honours degree in Building, BSc (Hons), before starting my career as a management trainee with PS Turner, where I was ultimately promoted to construction director. I started York House Construction with two other colleagues in 2000 taking that company from zero to a respected £40m turnover company. Sadly it was hit by the great recession and went into administration in 2008.
Castlehouse Construction was launched with Richard Lumley in 2009, in the depths of the recession and again took the business from zero turnover to an anticipated turnover this financial year in the region of £20m.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Good people management and the ability to communicate at all levels, as well as empathy.
Thinking differently from the crowd and the ability to anticipate and plan accordingly.
What has been the biggest challenge in your current position?
Establishing Castlehouse Construction in the depths of the last great recession and building it to the success it is today with a great team.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
A good exercise regime and a good home life. Deal with any issues as they arise, leaving them to accumulate is the source of stress.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
Waste, and poor management and workmanship. Complacency and apathy.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
Successful and profitable.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Look after your workforce and treat them with respect. They are your main asset.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
Trust your instincts and don’t necessarily act on advice given. Quite often it's incorrect.
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