Brian Verity of Skipton Properties
Brian Verity of housebuilder Skipton Properties charts his career so far and looks at what lies ahead for the company.
What does your role involve?
I’m responsible for the overall performance and strategy of the company.
Being the managing director of my own company, which I’ve led for the past 30 years, I’m very hands on. I’m at our developments weekly to check on progress and support our team.
What is it the company does?
We build new homes in Yorkshire & Lancashire. We like to think we’re a little bit different to other housing developers. Exceeding our customers’ expectations is our goal. Every home we build, we build with the same quality materials we’d use if we were building our own home. We’ll always go one step further.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I started Skipton Properties in 1986. Before then I was an engineer for Taylor Woodrow. I founded the company with a mission to build better homes as I wasn’t satisfied with the level of detail contractors provided. That’s why most our staff are full time employees, a model quite different to most larger housing developers. Many have worked for us for over 15 years. They know the level of detail we aspire to and because of this they build better homes.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Someone who realises it’s not all about the bottom line, who understands it is their staff that make a great business. It’s their loyalty and passion that brings you through times of hardship.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
Unfortunately the planning process in the UK would be the culprit. It is extremely hard to persuade sceptical planners that a scheme is do-able, financially sound and that we will stay the course to achieve our vision, which of course, we always do!
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
Detaching from the job has always been very hard for me. There was a long time where I brought my work home. However now that my two daughters work with me, I’ve had to learn to leave the work at work, which means I’m able to be a dad and not a boss.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my father. He was a stonemason. I suppose it is therefore no surprise this passion evolved into house building.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
Dishonesty. A working relationship must start with trust.
Where do you see the company in five years time?
In the next few years my daughter, Sarah, will take over the role of managing director and I’ll move into the role of chairman. I’m extremely proud to be able to mentor. There are challenging times ahead as Brexit is negotiated, but I believe in our product and I believe in our staff. In five years we’ll have some great achievements under our belt including our first retirement scheme.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Do what you do because you love it, never give up and make sure you have a good support network around you. I couldn’t have built my business without the support of my wife.