How do they do it? Gerry Hughes

Written by: Jez Abbott
Published on: 7 Jul 2014

Gerry HughesGerry Hughes is senior director and national head of planning, development and regeneration at property firm GVA. He heads the planning team across all of the company's offices including bases in London, Bristol, Manchester, Leeds, Scotland and Ireland. He has been at GVA for 20 years, joining the company from multidisciplinary practice BDP where he was planning director, based in Manchester. Hughes gained a BSc in geography and an MSc in town and country planning at Queen's University Belfast.

Q. What are your objectives in your current role and how are you measured against them? 
A I'm in charge of doubling the size of our business within the next three years. We see our major growth in London and our biggest business unit is in the capital with five teams. I am measured on the financial performance of the overall division. I have annual and half-yearly appraisals on my contribution to the company's objectives, which is not just financial performance but also based on things like client development, work winning and personal development.

Q. What key lessons have you learned during your career that help you to fulfil those objectives? 
A Be ambitious for your business. Without ambition you cannot hit your full potential, but this isn't just a commercial measure, it's qualitative and well. Being ambitious for yourself is being ambitious for your clients - we make our clients our advocates and go that extra yard for them.

Have the best possible people working for you. This will make life easier. But get the right balance between bright people and those with drive. I look for people who are better than me. You also need players who can create an atmosphere of togtherness and team spirit.

Enjoy what you do. As trained planners and regeneration specialists we are tackling some of the best projects with big social and economic implications, you've got to have a passion for all that that entails.