Career Conversations – John Matthews

A WARM WELCOME TO YOU JOHN. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR CAREER PATH TO GET TO HCP (COMPANY)?

John Matthews – I left school and went to college for a year. Hated it so went to work in a bar in Jersey for the summer. Then I became a holiday rep in Spain which was a lot of fun.

I returned to the UK and got a job in a hotel, working in their reservation’s office. I built my career up from there. I started a job in FM, working on the Metropolitan Police contract, which was in a tiny Elliott Hut in Wimbledon, where they filmed The Bill. I was the first person to get clearance and it was my first helpdesk role. Then I got my own region and saved up for a house with my partner.

We broke up, so I used all the money to travel. I went to Australia and got a job in hotel revenue management. I also went on an icebreaker to the south Arctic. The icebreakers restock the science station there. Was at sea for about 6 weeks, it’s really hard work, as a volunteer you must do everything in choppy seas. I saw whales, got stuck in snow and had to learn how to break the ship out of it!

I realised that the reason I went away was to experience new things so transferred to a new hotel, opening in northern Australia. I got the AGM job, but they weren’t going to open for another six weeks so asked if I wouldn’t mind going to another site in Uluru, Alice Springs which was a completely different way of life.

After that I went to Dubai after to be a bit closer to home for six months then returned to the UK. Youngs Brewing Company asked if I would consider coming into their head office to trial a helpdesk for three months. Seven years later I had brought in a help desk, implemented a strategy on how it should run and an FM suite, which I outsourced to another company, with a mobilisation and a demobilisation. In that time, I oversaw licensing, tax, insurance, claims, neighbour disputes and party walls. I learned about surveying and lease management.

Then I experienced a personal tragedy, and it was time to change. I took a job with Wagamama, as their Estates Manager for 12 months. I then contracted for Great Ormond Street, Wembley Stadium and TFL. I became interested in developing rounded experience in Asset Management. That’s what brought me to HCP.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON AND HOW ARE YOU FINDING LIFE AT HCP?

I’m doing a lot of work with Mark O’Shea on Modern Schools Exeter, QEH and Modus, and we’ve got a couple of other projects coming our way within the next month or two. It’s a learning curve but I’ve got work/life balance. I work well with Mark, we have a good connection. I’ve got a lot of respect for him, he’s knowledgeable and I find that when he talks he tries to teach me, which is a unique skill to have.

DO YOU HAVE FUTURE PLANS, AND ANY ADVICE FOR OTHER NEW STARTERS?

I want to get qualified, following the path of the Institute of Asset Management. I intend to put together a business case for work/study on completion of my probation. I’m very open to long term retention, if HCP said they would put me through for staying for two years, it gives extra stability and a chance to give back. I want to progress to an Asset Manager and own a project, that’s something for the future.

I was very happy with how I was inducted and welcomed by Mark and the team. All I would suggest to anyone joining is to get together with the rest of your team. I spent time with Simon Crawley in Liverpool, Alan Gravatt in other projects. It’s a way of learning how everyone works and feeding off their energy when you come to work on your own project.

Good to hear John, thanks for the chat, all the best in the new role.

Ellie Rowland-Callanan

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