Gareth Hooper completed a masters degree in city and regional planning at Cardiff University in 2002 following an undergraduate geography degree at Exeter University. With his father and uncle both planners, "it seemed destiny I too would follow in their footsteps", he said. Hooper's first job was with DTZ in Bristol, before moving to DPP as a senior planner in 2005 in the Cardiff office. He was made a director in 2011 at the age of 33. Three years later he was chief executive officer.
What are your objectives in your current role and how are you measured against them?
Since becoming chief executive in 2014 my role has changed to having a greater overview of projects across all five of our offices, working with our national clients, but also continuing to lead my own projects across the UK. I am involved in projects ranging from a £150m university innovation campus to a new football stadium and as far afield as Cornwall and Lancaster. The objective in all of these projects is to deliver the development objectives of the client and our success is measured on meeting these aims, be that planning consents or unlocking restrictive conditions.
What key lessons have you learnt in your career that helped you fulfil those objectives?
Relationships. Planning and the property industry generally is a people industry - relationships with clients, consultants, councils, consultees and the public are hugely important to secure desired outcomes. So while you may not always agree with people’s views, it is imperative you maintain a good working relationship to keep moving forward.
Positivity. Remaining positive even when facing huge challenges is essential to deliver results; equally, developing a positive energy among a project team is essential to ensure everybody contributes to overcome issues whatever the discipline.
Start with a plan. Setting out a clear planning strategy at the outset of a project is essential to ensure the desired outcome is achieved - often to get from A to B, you might have to go to C first.