I studied geography at Middlesex Polytechnic and urban planning at Oxford Polytechnic. I got a lot of study skills but not many practical planning skills or commercial awareness.
- What attracted you to planning?
I was interested in the built environment and social history so it was an obvious step on from a geography degree.
- What did you learn in your first job?
I was an enforcement officer in the depths of the Suffolk countryside and learnt not to go on a site visit on my own after being threatened by a disgruntled "customer".
- What skills have you had to learn over your career?
How to become a manager and business winner as well as a planning consultant. At Drivers Jonas there is excellent training in management and business development and much of it I have picked up along the way.
- What or who have been the biggest influences on your career?
My former boss, Rex Mercer, who basically taught me everything I know. I still hear his voice in my ear when I am giving advice or writing reports. He was a complete inspiration and I am indebted to him.
- What is your career highlight?
Providing the planning advice that helped Grosvenor win the contest to develop the Paradise Project in Liverpool. The scheme is now well off the ground and it is fantastic to see the result of all our hard work.
- What have you learnt outside work that has influenced your career?
Having a family has given me the balance needed in my career and made me realise that some things are more important than planning.
- What further skills do you aim to attain or develop?
One of the key topics for today is sustainability. I am rapidly building up my credentials in this critical area.
- How important is it to keep abreast of developments in allied professions?
I work with people from many other professions so it is essential to keep up to date with related areas.