Just A Minute with Gerard McMahon, regional director at Esh Construction

Gerard McMahon

Name: Gerard McMahon, Esh Construction Ltd

Position: Regional Director (Scotland)

Which newsletter do you receive? Scottish Housing News and Construction Now. I like to read over these in order to get a good oversight on the industry and what new developments are both planned and underway.

How did you get started in the industry? I knew I always wanted to be involved in construction from a young age – my interest in the financial side of things very naturally led me to quantity surveying. I was fortunate enough to be offered a trainee QS position with a small house builder when I left school. From there I studied part-time at university, whilst getting hands-on practical experience on site. This proved to be a real grounding and meant I was able to fast track my career with real relevant and practical experience at a young age. I would recommend that anyone thinking about construction as a career choice explores the benefits of part-time learning whilst working.

Biggest professional achievement: My promotion to Regional Director with Esh. It was great to be considered and when I was offered the position it was a very big achievement for me, on both a personal and professional level.

Best advice you received: I have had a few invaluable pieces of advice throughout my career and have been fortunate to work with some very inspirational leaders. Being prepared and going above and beyond has always brought rewards. Also, always be open to change and, if you make a mistake, reflect on what you could have done differently and learn from it. An old boss used to regularly quote Albert Einstein, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. This stuck with me and I constantly review how I perform and what could be executed more efficiently and better – in both my personal and business life.

What is the most important part of the industry? This has to be the creation of new affordable housing. The Scottish Government’s commitment to £3bn investment for the creation of 50,000 homes by 2021 demonstrates the huge demand and current shortage we have in this country. This massive pledge signals not only a major step forward in tackling the housing shortage, but also creates wider benefits for job and training opportunities within the industry.

What do you like most about your job? I really enjoy being part of a growing business, seeing the team expand and grow. Being involved in the recruitment of new key members, working towards a common goal is really satisfying. I also enjoy the process of delivering projects, the enjoyment of winning new work, the handover of well delivered projects and building long-lasting relationships with clients and others within the supply chain.

And least? I know we live in a modern world, with wide variety of means of communication, but I think we perhaps rely too much on e-mail. I am a big fan of picking up the phone, and there isn’t an issue which cannot be solved with the right people sitting down round a table together.

What you would most like to change in housing? Quicker turnaround on developments, quicker planning processes, investment in infrastructure and more modern construction techniques being adopted and embraced.

What future issues do you see arising in housing? Keeping up with demand. The 50,000 new affordable homes commitment is a major step in the right direction, but there still is further work to do beyond 2021 to meet demand.

How would you change Scottish Construction Now? It would perhaps be good to see more recognition of, and articles relating to, community benefits and the good work some contractors are doing on added value.

Do you read a daily newspaper? The Herald and The Scotsman.

Which social media sites do you use? LinkedIn

Which is the most useful for you? Linked in is a very good networking site and it’s always interesting to keep an eye on how former colleagues are doing.

Hobbies and interests: I have a big interest in football. My fitness levels not being what they used to be means I’m happy to watch rather than participate. Also I love to travel when I get the chance and visit new places.

Favourite holiday destination: I love to go on holiday. I enjoy a city break, Rome, Berlin and Barcelona being amongst my favourites, but for a summer holiday Orlando, Florida with the family has to be my favourite.

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