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Nick Gray, Regional Managing Director, Atkins


Regional Managing Director

Business area: Faithful+Gould
Job title: Regional Managing Director
Years at Atkins: 20+

What inspired you to become a Quantity Surveyor?
Having realised that my skill as a sportsman would never be sufficient to land me a professional career(!) I began to think about my future prospects whilst studying for A-levels bank in the mid ‘80’s. 
After flirting with options as varied as veterinary medicine, the army and law I learnt that an old school friend had begun a career as a Quantity Surveyor – and he drove a company car! Whether the thought of a sparkly new Golf GTi sub-consciously piqued my interest or not, I began to research what a QS actually did and became increasingly intrigued about a career which involved both the opportunity to be both office based and spend time on real, live projects. 

Although I thought I knew then that the work of a QS involved elements of law, accountancy, economics and construction/engineering it only gradually became clear over the years of my subsequent career just how wide and varied both the job and the working environment of a QS can be. Whether working for a professional services firm (like F+G), a contractor or a client organisation such as a Developer, the breadth of opportunities for QS’s were and remain extremely wide. 

Throughout my career I have been both fortunate and privileged to have worked on projects across the globe in a variety of exciting locations including a convention centre in Australia, an aluminium smelting plant in Venezuela, a pharmaceutical plant in Singapore and a huge hospital in Sweden. 

What gets you out of bed in the morning?
I am motivated by a number of factors. Although it may sound cliché, I am genuinely lucky to work alongside some very decent people whom I respect enormously on a professional level and many of whom I regard as friends. In addition to colleagues, I value greatly the variety and challenge of my role which can be intellectually interesting and presents lots of learning opportunities. 

Whilst I’m sure that from time-to-time most of us experience some degree of frustration or despondency in or jobs, for me those have rarely been more than passing moments. I have genuinely enjoyed and continue to enjoy the opportunity to manage my own responsibilities whether they be project or – as they are now – largely business related. 

I get pleasure from winning work and ensuring we deliver a high quality of service to our clients (some of whom I again regard myself lucky to count as friends) and – most importantly – I like the feeling of being able to see that I have had a positive influence on delivering value to the business through making good profits. Once a QS, always a QS….! 

What do you think has had the biggest impact on your career development to date?
I’m not sure whether the answer to this question is “what” or “who”!

After I had joined F+G when I managed to secure a commission with a new client in what was then a new and emerging market; the Private Finance Initiative.  This project was a £200m refurbishment of an iconic building in Westminster – HM Treasury in Great George street (opposite RICS headquarters). The project was hugely successful and led to a raft of further opportunities for F+G through the particular procurement route which had been chosen to deliver the project. Throughout that and subsequent projects it became increasingly apparent to me that my own career aspirations to seek greater business responsibility within F+G could only ever be achieved through building the trust, confidence and respect of my clients whose patronage is truly the foundation of everything we do as a business. If I were ever asked to give a single piece of advice to those aspiring for success in their career it would simply be to ensure that they focus on exceeding their clients expectations whilst making sure those same clients both understand and recognise the value we are adding! 

I have worked alongside and for a wide variety of people. Some of them have had a huge influence on me in various ways whether technical ability, their skill at motivating and managing people or their leadership qualities which demonstrate real depth and integrity. The term Leadership is in my view not easily defined and not always properly understood but the importance of courage and the confidence to “do the right thing” are critical and I have been fortunate to have experienced this at first hand at various stages throughout my career. 

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