Guy Evans' path into planning started after his geographical science degree when he took a masters in environmental planning at John Moores University. His career began at Goadsby, the multidisciplinary practice in Bournemouth, where he stayed for eight years. Next stop was Carter Jonas in Shrewsbury where he was an associate planner, before he joined multidisciplinary firm Cassidy + Ashton in 2009. Earlier this year he was promoted to director.
What are your objectives in your current role and how are you measured against them?
Business development is an important objective, bringing in contracts and looking at the wider remit of our three divisions: architecture, surveying, planning. But what I like about this job is it's very hands on. I still do lots of planning across both our offices, in Chester and Preston, and being a small team, it's very much a case of 'win the work and do the work'. I have an annual appraisal but performance measurements are not too regimented or structured or rigidly tied to budgets and hitting monthly figures. We like to look at the wider picture of overall contribution to the practice.
What key lessons have you learned in your career that helped you fulfil those objectives?
Form good working relationships. In the private sector the client's remit is what you need to meet: 90% of our work is through referral and if clients aren't happy, they won't recommend you.
Try not to take it too personally. We all want successful applications and appeals but it doesn't always happen and there are times when you ask, 'was it my fault?'. Invariably it isn't: planning is a very subjective business; an officer may simply have a different view or a councillor may reject a plan recommended by their planners – it's called democracy.
Be commercially aware. You can advise clients on blue sky planning but if it's not a commercially positive approach, you could be in for trouble.