When Ben Mackett joined developer and heritage specialist City & Country after he graduated in 2010, he worked directly with David Sargeant, the company’s Development Director at the time and one of the owners of the business.
Now, after working on the other side of the Atlantic, Mackett is returning to take over his friend’s old role – re-joining the company as Development Director and looking forward to inspiring and equipping the next generation of young graduates.
After graduating from Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford, Mackett joined City & Country as one of its first graduate entrants, and was given the chance to work in various departments across the business learning the ropes, before settling into a role helping David Sargeant with projects across the south east of England. “It was a great learning curve,” he recalls.
Four years later he moved to live in London and spent four years working for a project management consultancy called Tower 8, broadening his experience, including working on the Lanesborough Hotel, The Hoxton Hotel and The Broadway apartment complex.
After experiencing the rush of working in central London, Mackett wanted to extend his horizons further still. “I really wanted to work abroad, so I started applying for jobs overseas at other project management consultant firms.”
This led to four years working in Los Angeles on a range of projects from retail to office to residential (both new build and refurbishment). “Construction in America is very different, even the language is different,” he says. “I already knew how to build and manage projects, but the processes and contracts were not the same so this definitely took some getting used to. I was also pushed out of my comfort zone as I was managing my own team for the first time – however, I soon became comfortable and now really enjoy this aspect.”
“I had been planning to stay in Los Angeles when I was offered the role at City & Country – going full circle to have the position of development director. I couldn’t turn it down, I wanted to jump in and take the opportunity with a fresh perspective from my diverse experience over the intervening years.”
Mackett’s new role as Development Director involves being active in many areas of the business, including managing projects and project teams at sites predominantly in London and Bristol keeping time, cost, quality and risk under control.
“I have kept in contact with David Sargeant throughout my career and we have stayed on friendly terms, so it’s really exciting to be rejoining the company at a senior level and taking on his old job. The company has changed a lot since I worked there as a graduate, particularly with the growth of the new build side of the business which I’ve had great experience in over the last few years; I’m also particularly passionate about the renovations side of the business – I’m really looking forward to working on such a diverse portfolio.” says Mackett.
“I’m especially excited about working on The 1840 – it’s a big project transforming a great building,” he says. The 1840, near Wandsworth Common in South West London, is a major restoration project sensitively converting a redundant Grade II Listed hospital building into apartments. “It’s fantastic to see this old NHS building that was run down and in disrepair having a new lease of life – it will be an amazing place to live!”
Mackett continued, “The key goals I hope to achieve in this role are mainly around creating high-performing teams, so people feel challenged when they come to work but have fun at the same time. I don’t want a top-down approach, but a working environment where everyone has ownership of their own role and the opportunity to excel.”
He loves the role of Development Director as it involves so many different aspects of the business. “I will be involved in design, planning, cost and customer care – the job is constantly changing so I will never get bored as I’m not doing the same thing every day. I’m looking forward to being constantly challenged!”
David Sargeant, Director at City & Country, added: “We are delighted to have Ben Mackett on board and are pleased that after exploring the world he has decided to return to his roots for the next stage of his career, back to where it all began.”
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