Stephen Connolly

Place Skills | Talent pool

Working in quantity surveying may not be a usual childhood dream, so for the team at Poole Dick, failed football careers, Greek architecture, and the magical appearance of motivational speakers all showed them the way.

Steve Connolly, chairman

Superstardom beckoned as Dave Brownhill, Leafy Parker and myself arrived for our big trial to play football for Huddersfield town. In hindsight, the lashing rain was probably an omen. Our trial ended up taking place in a concrete car park, and it concluded with the manager, Mr Ian Greaves telling me I wasn’t the next Denis Law. It was time for a serious re-think, and my careers officer Mrs Greenwood suggested I pursue the construction industry as a response to my hatred of desks. I’d never heard of quantity surveying, but it sounded ok to me. Funny thing is, for the last forty years, I have been stuck behind a desk, but I still love it.

Catherine Newton 1

Catherine Newton, project manager

My Mum’s advice was always to pursue a career based on something I enjoy, so it was my love of browsing old at maps with my granddad that inspired me to organise work experience with Ordnance Survey, shadowing cartographers. Following this work experience, I was buzzing, I’d figured out how much I enjoyed being out and about, rather than ‘stuck in an office’, my research into jobs that would suit this led me to surveying. Starting with my enrolment in a building surveying degree at Salford University, and culminating in my current career at Poole Dick.

Neville LongboneNeville Longbone, principal designer and architect

For me, it was a holiday with a fellow art student to Greece that cemented my love of architecture. We actually were adopted by a group of German students, plus car, who provided transport and food, in exchange for our acting as guides, and no talking about the wars. It was as I explained the temples to our new friends that I truly realised my love of architecture. After years of sniggering at my lecturer’s affection for Santa Maria Della Salute, I now understood his sincerity.

Chris Heavey

Christopher Heavey, quantity surveyor

My story is really just a classic case of a lying careers advisor. Considering my GCSE and college subject choices (Religious Studies, Maths and Business Studies) he suggested I should look into quantity surveying. I was always good with numbers, and my being the sole atheist in full Religion class, I knew how to fight my corner in an argument. Luckily I also had an interest in property, thanks to my beloved favourite show; Grand Designs. According to my careers advisor, the industry was booming; massive wages and loads of opportunity, so it sounded perfect. Then the crash happened…

Andrew ThorpAndrew Thorp, consultant and brand ambassador

I was sat in Piccadilly Station’s resident Starbucks, chatting with an associate of mine. In fact, I was just emerging from a dark period of my life, following the break-up of a marriage, and a business partnership… you get the picture. At the time I had been trying to reinvent myself as a professional speaker, consultant and trainer of marketing/communication skills, but I was on the brink of packing it in. Trying to cheer me up my friend asked about my new work, and the speakers who had inspired it, namely my new found love, the writing of Malcolm Gladwell, a writer for the New Yorker who sells zillions of books. So you can imagine my surprise when he sauntered through that Starbucks door as if I had summoned him. That was my ‘moment’ of course, for me it was a sign that I was on the right path.

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