I remember as a child growing up being inspired and fascinated by landscape and nature. Horticulture has always been a vocation, surrounded by influencers growing up and a family heritage in commercial fruit and farming. My career path was undoubtedly mapped out from the age of 12 following my work experience in a landscape architecture practice. All the decisions that followed with subjects at GCSE/A-Level/Degree level and casual jobs were to achieve the goal of becoming a Landscape Architect.
My professional career started in 2004 working in private practice until 2009 and eventually gaining my Chartership in 2008. At this point I moved onto the client-side working for Lee Valley Regional Park Authority on various Olympic projects, eventually joining idverde in 2012 – my interview taking place in the famous East London office which was the Westfield Starbucks at the time. The decision to join idverde was one of bringing together all my interests in project management, design, construction and landscape management; and personally, to see the Olympic Park through from the design and game time into its legacy phase.
I’m fortunate and honoured to have and continue to work for and with many key and leading influencers in the industry.
There is no typical day in my role, but a fast pace is guaranteed. The ebb and flow of construction is influenced by many factors: stakeholders and supply chain partners, and on the most part dealing with living things and a changing climate!
One constant is that I am involved in all stages of a project from tender stage through to legacy maintenance; and wear multiple hats with no one dominant.
Undoubtably the positive impact of transforming a landscape for the benefit of people and nature. Of course, everything we do is either restoring or improving a landscape which will continue to grow and develope – in some sense we’ll only see it evolve and rarely see it at its ultimate best. There is a famous saying that ‘the true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit’. There is much truth in that saying and privileged to be playing this out every day.
That to be an authentic leader in this industry means getting your hands dirty.