The things I know: Roger Hepher, Head of planning and regeneration, Savills

- Where did you study planning?

The University of Manchester.

- What skills did you have when you graduated?

A little knowledge about a lot of subjects and a belief that planners are seen by all as the conductors of the professional orchestra.

- What attracted you to planning?

An interest in geography, economics and maps and being brought up in a very well-planned environment - the Peak District national park.

- What did you learn in your first job?

How important politics is, that planners are not always viewed as the natural conductors by the rest of the orchestra and that I was not cut out for a local government career.

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

The economics of property development from qualifying as a chartered surveyor and the importance of presentation and how to handle people.

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

Rod Dowle, who taught me the essentials of planning consultancy, and John Trustram Eve, who inspired me to think and raise my sights.

- What is your career highlight?

The opening of Arsenal Football Club's Emirates Stadium after six years' hard work was to be savoured.

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

To be patient and focused, to aim for the best but temper this with pragmatism, to make my own luck and not to hesitate too long in the face of unexpected opportunity.

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

I would like to develop my skills in financial matters, especially as the landscape is likely to look so different from now on. I would love to develop my interest in architectural and environmental history.

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

Essential. In a fast-changing world, the successful ones are those who can adapt and keep in control.

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