How did you get here?
Before starting GLD, I was an Electrical director for an SME building services design practice. I started at that company in 2002 and worked my way up from Senior Engineer to Associate Director and then to Director following a management buy out. I worked as a Director for four years – having a senior role in managing the Manchester office and working with the electrical teams in both the Manchester and Leeds offices. My role encompasses high level project management, client management and team management as well as sitting on the board overseeing the company generally.
I went from working full-time to three days a week on returning to work, after taking six months leave for childcare. The return to work was a difficult time trying to manage responsibilities at home and at work and so I made the brave decision to start up my own business with the aim to gain some flexibility and home working.
Since starting up GLD, what have you been doing?
When starting GLD I worked alone for about 12 months. Initially I spent a lot of time networking to try and expand my business opportunities. I started to work more on multiple, small projects and slowly began adding to my team in order to branch out further.
Now I find myself spending a lot of time checking and finishing off work along with pushing my team to meet agreed deadlines. Planning and prepping for new projects are a big part of my day along with overall business planning and producing fee proposals for new work.
Networking still has a large roll in my day-to-day tasks and I’m constantly meeting new people and attending events to strengthen my current relationships and to discover new ones.
Talk to us about some of your favourite projects.
One of the first projects I was present at was the completion for was LiFFE London. I was a trainee mechanical and electrical coordinator for Bovis Construction Ltd, working on both the electrical and mechanical elements of the project.
As my work experience increased, I naturally moved into a more electrical role.
One of my first projects after starting up GLD was the refurbishment of an existing care home which was repurposed into a small school. We also added two new seven bedroomed residential blocks for those students who needed to live on the school grounds. We supplied mechanical and electrical services design throughout.
My favourite project before starting, was North Manchester Sixth form for the Manchester College. The client wanted a sustainable and renewable scheme which included an element of natural ventilation, rainwater harvesting, voltage reduction systems and a photo Voltic’s (PV) wall as well as roof mounted PV’s. The PV wall was put on the front of the building and the heat output from the back was used to induce air into moving out through the building. I really enjoyed this because I worked with a great team of people and it was one of those jobs that just went well!
My favourite job at GLD is Chorley New Road Primary School. It was the first job where we completed the full Revit to BIM Level 2 design in house. I found that this was a huge learning curve for the whole team. It was a big challenge which is always fun, and we were able to provide the client with an excellent facility.
How have things gone since starting GLD?
Like any new business it has been hard work and we’ve had a rough couple of years with things not going quite to plan. Despite this, it has been a great achievement that I am proud of. I have been on a massive learning curve and have a great passion for the industry. The team I have are brilliant and work amazingly well together and it creates the path for a positive future for the company.
Laura leaves us with the hopes to “see my team develop within their roles so that it secures the future of GLD. I hope to see them get to a point where no longer need to rely on me and I can take a step back and support them in taking the reins.”