Matthew Pert of Route One Highways
Matthew Pert of Featherstone-based Route One Highways tells us how he got into highway maintenance and what inspired him to launch Route One.
What does your role involve?
I ensure each department of the business talks to each other to provide the best service for the customer and at the same time make sure all my staff is challenged, satisfied in their work and happy.
A key part of my role is the financials of the business including management of the P&L and forecasting although I am fully supported on this by a great team of people. My role is hard but when all is going well, it’s a great place to be.
What is it the company does?
Route One provides specialist structures services to the highways, rail and commercial markets across the UK. Services include bridge expansion joints, waterproofing and other associated services with the repair and maintenance of structures.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I started as a trainee technician for Pell Frischmann Consultants in Wakefield when I was 16 and attended part time at Wakefield Building College.
I then moved to work for Bradford City Council worked in numerous departments including Highways, Drainage and Structures before eventually settling down in the Highway Maintenance. I worked then for a small contractor in Derbyshire for 5 years before setting up Route One in 2005.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Someone who continuously makes sure their staff are happy in their work. A person who has great resolve and passion for the work they do and is not afraid to make mistakes and learn from them.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
The biggest challenge is balancing the resources in each department. Commercial has to provide the right quantity and quality of work for our operations teams to deliver it efficiently and make a profit.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I am a keen course fisherman and nothing is better than sitting on a river bank with a rod in the air.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A civil engineer.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
Dirty pots in the sink and general untidiness. I like everything in its place.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
As part of our growth, an office in the south is inevitable and our service offering into both the highways and rail markets is to increase. The rail market is a particular focus to me at the moment and that is where our investment over the next few years will happen.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Be great with your staff and respect where they need to be in their careers and fully support them. Listen to the people around you and make tough decisions when they need to be made without hesitation.