Nick, can you tell us a little bit about your role at A.P. Broome Landscapes?
I work as the Contracts Manager for the Scottish Power Department. This involves looking after a team of 24 operatives throughout the UK, who undertake grounds maintenance on over 12,000 hazardous installations as part of a lucrative partnership with the energy firm. I’m also responsible for our specialist tree team and manage the gritting/ snow clearance in the winter months!
That’s a big responsibility, have you always wanted to be involved in this level of Contract Management?
Yes, I’ve always been pretty ambitious with my approach. I jumped at the opportunity to progress when it was offered to me as I’ve always wanted to take on more and more responsibility. I’ve got aspirations to go even further, operational manager would be great!
Safe to say this wasn’t an overnight process, how long have you been at A.P. Broome Landscapes?
I’ve been here seven and a half years now, working my way up from operative level. I did two years out in the field as an operative, two years as a supervisor/auditor, one and a half years as an assistant manager and I’ve been in my current role for one and a half years. It’s been difficult, but I think the work I’ve put in has put me in a good position.
What’s kept you here for that amount of time? What makes A.P. Broome stand out from other companies for you?
It’s a great company to work for. Our director has been fantastic in keeping the family – business atmosphere despite our recent success and growth, it allows for a really friendly working environment. The team itself is filled with really good individuals, hard workers and people with a lot of knowledge on the industry. The opportunities for progression, as I’ve experienced myself, are available for any staff willing to work hard. The company have always invested in people, and that’s a massive benefit.
When you look back at your time as a grounds maintenance operative, is there anything you miss?
I’m really happy with my current position, but from time to time I miss being out and about yeah. It was always a good atmosphere; we could have a good laugh whilst doing a good day’s work. There’s something satisfying about putting in the manual graft and knowing you’ve worked physically hard, it’s rewarding on a ground level. As a contracts manager I have a really close contact with all my operatives, so I still feel pretty involved with their daily work.
What adaptations have you had to make from that point in order to get to grips with your current role?
I’ve had to improve my man-management skills and I’d definitely say this role has brought me out of my shell a lot more in that respect. It’s been a challenge to liaise with high profile clients, but I’ve worked hard to build good relationships with the people at Scottish Power. Aside from that I’ve enhanced my higher analytical skills, and attained a much broader perspective of how the business works. I feel like I’ve been learning to be a manager and now I’m really comfortable in the responsibilities that come with the territory.
What do you think it takes to become a successful contract manager?
Fire in the belly! You have to have enthusiasm for what you do. It’s also important to think outside the box and really push new ideas, things that will help to bring the work in. Good interpersonal skills are a necessity and it helps massively to have a good working knowledge of the business model. I managed to develop my knowledge by working up through the ranks, experiencing every rung of the ladder, and that’s broadened my perspective and technical knowledge. That’s important too I think.
What do you consider to be your greatest challenge when managing this contract?
Ensuring that we continue to provide a first class service, which will serve to strengthen the relationship we have with our clients. The ultimate challenge is to sustain a long and fruitful partnership with Scottish Power, hopefully expanding upon the number of sites we currently look after in the years to come.
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I used to be a keen cricketer and I still love cricket.Not many people in the business know this either, but I’m actually a fully trained light vehicle mechanic!