In this the first of a new series of quick-fire profiles of the region's leading property players, we meet the chief executive of the eponymous Christopher Rodgers Group, a Skelmersdale-based business which includes architects and project management, surveying, valuation and energy assessment. It is also one of the largest building consultancies in the North.
Your first job: I started work as a quantity surveyor for national house builder Wimpey when I was just 16 years old. I was based mainly on site and undertook a day-release programme at the same time as studying for an ONC in building.
Current job: I'm in charge of an organisation with a predicted turnover in excess of £15m in fees next year. We employ about 200 staff, a number which is rising rapidly and I've been particularly involved in the development of our home and energy division over the last 18 months.
First deal: My first big fee deal was at the age of 24, a whole £8,000 at the time and it meant the world to me. I thought I had made it! I got the job to project manage a 'dole office' refurbishment in Manchester, it was the first of many.
Last deal: As a business we've spent the last 18 months gearing up for the introduction of Home Information Packs and Energy Performance Certificates and have now built a very successful energy assessment company. Aside from setting up the business itself, which started trading on 1 August, our latest business deal is for two highly-lucrative EPC contracts each worth £9m-a-year in fees. Those deals have taken a lot of nurturing but have now made us one of the leading power-houses in energy assessment and will see us undertake about 1,000 domestic EPC instructions per day.
First car: A little red Fiat 950 sport, registration HTF 777F, I still remember it fondly.
Current car: I have a number of cars but the one I like best is my Bentley Flying Spur. It's a modern classic and it does 200mph.
Best decision: It has to be learning how to delegate. Without that skill I would certainly have drowned under my workload and wouldn't have built such a successful company. It's vital to be surrounded by excellent colleagues who you can trust and who can share the responsibility.
Worst decision: To use lawyers too much – the fees are horrendous!
Current projects: Our architectural team is currently working on a number of multi-million pound projects across the north of England including the largest new-build residential scheme in the Lake District National Park.
Five-year plan: I'm 50 now so I've got to think about the next 10 years and beyond. Although I'm not getting any younger, I can't see myself taking early retirement, particularly with the company on such a strong growth curve at the moment.
I have some great directors and support staff and would like to see the brand pushed to a national level on all fronts over the next 10 years. In terms of turnover, the group will probably hit £25m in 2009, and we already have some exciting long-term projects geared up for the end of 2008, through 2009 and into 2010.