When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
12:30pm Thursday 14th February 2008 in Profiles
Name: Andrew Payne Age: 44
Job: Managing director, CBG Consultants, Farmoor Time in job: Three years
Contact: 01865 864500 Web: www.cbgc.com
What was your first job and what did your responsibilities include?
I was a junior mechanical engineer at FG Alden in Oxford which involved lots of tea making and folding drawings.
How much was in your first pay packet and what did you spend it on?
£96. I was crazy on photography back then, so I probably blew it on film and £25 rent to my parents.
Describe how you career developed to the present day.
I had a very good apprenticeship at FG Alden and worked there for ten years. I wanted to study for a degree and ultimately achieve professional chartered status, and this took me to building services consultancy in 1989.
I gained an honours degree in Building Services Engineering in 1996 and gained chartered status soon after. In 1997 we broke away to form CBG Consultants and I was on the board as a founding director. The company grew successfully to 30 plus staff and in 2005 I led a management buyout to head up the company as managing director. We now have 45 staff and a very strong business.
What are the key responsibilities in your position?
Securing the future through profitable development of the business by maintaining controlled growth coupled with the development of high quality staff. I also oversee all aspects of day-to-day business administration, as well as strategic direction and strategy while maintaining my own project work.
Describe a typical day I arrive in the office at 8.15am, answer e-mails and make calls which are mostly project-related.
I then have meetings with my office manager/PA to review matters generally before seeing the marketing manager to prepare European Journal bids. I usually have a working lunch, or go to the gym -a new resolution - before meeting with clients and directors and preparing the next dreaded PowerPoint presentation!
Who/what have been the biggest influences on your career?
A childhood to present day friend Dave Behan who has been an inspiration in business all my working life. Dave successfully grew his own business from scratch and has always been a source of encouragement and ideas.
What has been your best decision?
To lead the company's management buy-out in 2005.
And your worst?
Not doing it all sooner!
What is the best advice you can give to someone starting out in your business?
Engineering is a complex profession, so learn something new every day and build as much knowledge as possible. Never sit quietly in the corner and always ask colleagues for advice and ideas. Learn about the new technologies, sustainable solutions and renewable energy and apply these to your designs. As your knowledge grows, build your own team around you to deliver bigger, better projects that save more energy and release less carbon. Help your junior colleagues and watch them develop too.
What is the secret of good management?
A trusting and coaching approach, coupled with a supportive environment and most definitely no clock-watching as good, motivated staff put in so much more than they take.
Do you have a good work/life balance?
I generally work long hours during the week but save most weekends for leisure.
What hobbies/interests do you enjoy in your spare time?
Sailing and scuba diving.
Is there anything in business that really irritates you?
The Immigration Office randomly turning down and delaying work permits for excellent highly skilled migrant engineers that we interview when we have a serious shortage of UK Engineers.
How do you see your company developing over the next five years?
We will open a London office in 2008 and grow both Oxford and London steadily. Also, we want to continue to grow our software modelling side to increase the predictability of making buildings that are good to live and work in, while having a less detrimental effect on the environment.
What has been your most satisfying moment?
Clinching the 2005 buyout deal after 12 months of negotiation and the fantastic staff response since.
Do you believe there is enough help and support from government and agencies for growing businesses?
Yes, providing you know where to look and Oxfordshire is very well served.
What is your attitude to the environment and do you have any green policies in place?
We are very proactive and committed to providing services that preserve and, where possible, improve the environment. As we design the services that go into buildings, we have a duty to be very environmentally aware. Our industry has been promoting environmental solutions for many years but most early schemes fell flat through lack of funding. However, with the right presentation we strive to convince clients that the additional cost can be well spent.
What is the secret of a happy workforce?
A supportive culture to bring out the best in everyone. We encourage staff to obtain the highest levels of academic and professional achievement they wish. We also provide a good level of benefits, including flexible working to encourage a good work/life balance.
Is there any other job you would like to have done and why?
I quite fancy Horatio's job in CSI Miami! Seriously, I think as we mature we want different things. When I was 16, I was offered a job as a photographer and spent a few years regretting not taking it. Then in my 30s I fancied being a lawyer. All in all, I think the running of a successful business gives the best buzz, no matter what that business does.
What would you like to do when you retire?
I love sailing and scuba diving, so maybe some time for combining the two would be good. There is no rush yet, though!