Just one minute, Les Brown

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Step up Countryside Properties' project director for New Broughton, a major housing project in Salford

Your first job: I started on my doorstep with the milkman… working the milk round with a horse and cart. Our milkman was a Scottish swimming champion who taught all the local kids, so I also learned to swim and gained many life saving qualifications and medals. The milk round taught me about routine and customer care and the horse taught me patience!

Current job: Regional project director with Countryside Properties. I'm responsible for the delivery of a major regeneration project creating a new sustainable community in Lower Broughton in Salford, less than a mile from Manchester city centre. It's a fantastic project to be responsible for and worth more than £500m over the next ten years or so.

First deal: I left school and worked for John Hepburn Associates, architects in Glasgow, as a trainee. It wasn't quite a 'deal' but it gave me a great deal of experience in the story behind the project management of a major tenement refurbishment project in Glasgow in the mid 70s. When I joined the school of architecture in Hull I returned to the site during the summer break, working as a labourer and saw the contractor's side of the story – it was a great eye-opener and taught me things that I would never have known if I had only worked in an architect's office.

Last deal: Getting the job I'm now doing. Working with our partners in Salford City Council, getting planning consent last year for more than 700 new homes, seeking planning consent now for another 860 new homes, working with an existing and a new community and with every conceivable business and service organisation to build a new sustainable community of more than 3,500 new homes – what I feel is the real deal.

First car: A battered and rusty white Audi 80 for £595 – a poor deal!

Current car: I've had quite a few over the last few years – Renault 4 (probably the best), Omega Elite, Saab 95 Aero, Mercedes 240 CLK and am currently driving a BMW X5. I drive about 45,000 miles a year and am not really a fan of cars any more!!

Best decision: I'm lucky I've made a few good decisions – studying architecture in Hull and in Gothenburg, Sweden, staying self-employed and doing contract work for developers, architects and contractors all over the country and finally applying for the job I'm now doing. The best one by far was being with my fabulous wife Maggie for the last 22 years.

Worst decision: In my view any decision is better than no decision and if I've made any that I shouldn't have it just makes me work even harder to turn any negative into a much bigger positive.

Current projects: Building a sustainable new community in Lower Broughton. It has taken 30 years to get into a position to be leading a development the type of which I first studied in Hull and in Gothenburg – sustainable, energy conscious, tenure blind, revived and new communities.

Five-year plan: My current project will take about another ten years or so and will open many new avenues. I'd like to be involved in many more very large sustainable regeneration projects and to champion the work that Countryside Properties has achieved nationally.

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