The Things I Know

Richard summers, Senior consultant, SQW Consulting.

- What skills did you have when you graduated?

I left the University of Manchester with a first-class honours degree in town and country planning and an ambition to make a real difference.

- What attracted you to planning?

From boyhood, I was fascinated by geography. I went to school in Hampstead Garden Suburb and heard a careers talk by Lewis Keeble.

- What did you learn in your first job?

I learned the ropes on residential area design, applications and appeals.

- What skills have you had to learn over your career?

Among others, consultancy methods, community design, local government, countryside management, marketing, the politics of planning, enterprise support, cash flow analysis, commercial assessment, feasibility studies and project management.

- What or who have been the biggest influences on your career?

Keeble, Walter Bor and John de Monchaux steered me through the basics of land-use planning. Geoff Steeley got me involved in structure and regional planning. Roger Quince encouraged me to tackle inward investment in eastern Europe and Chris Green brought me into urban regeneration, economic development and regional strategy consultancy. Peter Southern has steered me back to spatial development.

- What is your career highlight?

Seeing spatial planning and economic development in England compared with the USA and eastern Europe.

- What have you learnt outside work that has influenced you?

Serving as a school governor took me into skills and training. My leisure interests have given me first-hand understanding of people and places.

- What further skills do you aim to obtain or develop?

Working for change via spatial planning and integrating it with economic and community growth.

- How important is it to keep abreast of developments in allied professions?

Traditional professional demarcations are dissolving through increasingly effective multidisciplinary working.

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