What is your role within the company?
As managing director of RPD Builders, which I established in 2002, I’m responsible for overseeing the overall operation of the company – the accounts, pushing forward for growth, setting training schedules and goals for our apprentices and members of staff, pricing projects and meeting our clients face-to-face to discuss their wants and needs for the project to ensure that we deliver their vision.
What is it the company does?
RPD Builders is a building and construction company based in Billingham. Our expertise encompasses anything from domestic house modifications, extensions and conversions to commercial projects of almost any scope or size. We can deal with every aspect of the project, from drawing up the plans to execution.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Vision – particularly vision for the future and being able to spot opportunities for growth. I also think the ability to empathise is vital too, especially being able to empathise with your members of staff; they’re your most valuable asset in business.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
Definitely keeping the company afloat at the beginning of the recession. During the recession, the construction industry really suffered and we operated with only two members of staff as work stagnated. However, we have bounced back and have since been able to drive the company forward, hitting the £1m turnover mark and tripling our workforce to 12 permanent members of staff and four subcontractors.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
The company is always on my mind, but recently I’ve found painting as a great hobby to alleviate the stresses that come with being a business owner – I’ve even got some of my paintings on show in my house.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I honestly can’t remember!
Any pet hates in the workplace?
Bad punctuality and tardiness are probably my biggest bug bears.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
I am expecting the company to grow over the next five years, hopefully trading at about £5m turnover a year. Things are looking really positive; we’ve been able to employ a new permanent member of staff and take on two apprentices recently and I’m hoping that it’s onwards and upwards for RPD.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Stick at it, as you will face really tough times but you can get through!
Where did you start your career?
I started as a bricklayer in Billingham. After school, I studied at Hartlepool College and carried out my apprenticeship with Mond Construction and the rest is history.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far.
I served my time as a bricklayer following a successful apprenticeship then went on to become a foreman bricklayer, construction supervisor and eventually a construction manager. I have worked all over the UK, most recently as a construction manager in London, before returning home to the North East and achieving my dream of setting up RPD Builders Ltd in 2002.