Construction Manager, John Royle, reflects on his first six months at Potter Space.
It’s not often you can have a lengthy trial for a new job to see if they like you and if you like them, but that is exactly what happened to me at Potter Space.
Naturally, there is no better way of getting to know about the ethos of a company than working closely with them. I admired the incredible success that Executive Chairman, Derrick Potter, had achieved over 50+ years, having created an award-winning logistics company and then seamlessly turning it into a property company. It was also great to work with Managing Director, Jason Rockett, who brought a huge amount of property experience to Potter Space, having operated at a high level within the sector for more than 25 years.
I liked the way the two of them, together with the rest of the team looked after the customers and formed a great working relationship with the suppliers and contractors, like myself.
I wasn’t looking for a new challenge when I was approached by a recruitment company who were looking for a construction manager, but when I heard it was for Potter Space I leapt at the opportunity.
Here was an ambitious and forward-thinking company with more than 1.6m square foot of commercial space, across five business parks with an ample opportunity to expand and exciting plans to do so. The team saw the merit and advantages of having someone in-house who could oversee and accelerate the expansion programme. Having seen the quality of Unit 52, which I had helped to deliver on time and to budget, I was invited to join the team.
Starting at the beginning of the year, I certainly hit the ground running, although Covid restrictions complicated matters a bit.
Having visited and been briefed on all the sites, my first job was to provide a feasibility study and cost proposal for a 4,000 square foot unit in Ripon.
A few weeks after that we began work on Unit 24. Although it was a speculative build, demand was high, and I was delighted to work with Jenna Strover, Potter Space’s Head of Commercial Delivery, in handing it over in June to Recycled Asphalt Products an existing customer wanting to expand on site.
The company has also invested heavily in rail over the years with three of the business parks, Ely, Knowsley and Selby having rail links and working freight terminals. So, when an opportunity arose shortly after I started to reclaim rail track and stone from Ellesmere Port, I was given the responsibility of moving it over to our Knowsley site. This will be used in the future for extending our existing track and creating additional sidings.
There is certainly no hanging around at Potter Space, so while the construction of Unit 24 was taking shape, I began working on the feasibility and costing of 17,445 square foot Unit 53 in Ripon.
Like Unit 52, it will be carbon neutral and follow the same build strategy and specification to include eco-friendly features, such as solar panels, electric vehicle charging points and cycle parking. I am looking forward to work starting in the next few weeks.
I am also currently working closely with Jason and the team on the exciting plans for the expansion of the Droitwich business park.
It has certainly been a busy six months since I started, during strange times, and I have enjoyed every minute.