Age 32

Where are you based at the moment (who do you work for)?

Dubai – United Arab Emirates. I work for Radisson Hotel Group

In what year did you complete your honours degree?

2010

What path did you follow before ending up with your current company?

After completing my studies in 2010, I was fortunate enough to be employed by a Project Management practice based out of Cape Town. Within one week of employment I found myself working in Freetown, Sierra Leone as a Construction Manager (CM) for a 171 key hotel refurbishment. I spent the next five years working on this and various other hotel and retail developments, “cutting my teeth” as a CM on site, eventually becoming Project Coordinator which gave me the opportunity to deal directly with Clients. For the next few years I worked as Development Manager / Construction Project Manager for a turnkey (EPC) contractor with projects spanning the African continent. Thereafter, I moved across to the Client side working as a Project Manager for Radisson Hotel Groups’ Technical Development department. I eventually worked my way up to Project Director and eventually Area Director for Africa and Indian Ocean Islands.

What is your current position and what does the role entail?

I am responsible for a portfolio consisting of 47 operational hotels, 40 hotels in pipeline, and work closely with our Hotel Owners, Business Development team, Hotel Operations, General Managers, and Project Professionals to achieve our 2022 company objectives of become the third best hotel brand in the world. To put it simply, I make sure our hotels are brand compliant and when they are open and operational, make sure they stay that way.

What advice would you give a current construction management student?

Vacation work during studies is vital in ensuring a good technical understanding of how projects are put together. Involve yourself in all aspects of the project lifecycle, from initiation, design development, execution and handover. Develop your “soft skills” and network as much as possible with industry stakeholders so you start to make a name for yourself which will strengthen your personal “brand”. Put what you have learnt to use in the industry – we are the ambassadors of how things are supposed to be done and champions of how to do things better. Be respectful of the entire project team and learn as much from them as possible, but at the same time, fight back when required. Lastly, and with regards to the CM course: focus, study hard, and just get it done…

What was your favourite module?

My Dissertation

Who was your favourite lecturer?

The one and only PP, Prof John Smallwood

What are your plans for the next 5 to 10 years?

To continuously develop myself and my skillset, and to continue to involve myself in developing the amazingly exciting and diverse African continent.