26 October 2020
Tell us about your role and how long you’ve worked for FirstPort
I’ve been the Development Manager at Eastman Village in Harrow since April 2020, and I have worked for FirstPort for a further eight years prior to this role. As I am now caring for a brand new development, I work closely with the developer on all post-occupancy issues to make sure residents get the homes they are promised. I also make sure the development is maintained to a high standard and is a safe, clean and a comfortable home for our residents. Eastman Village is home to the former Kodak Factory for 125 years with circa 60-acre land. The estate is a regeneration development to provide up to 2,000 homes in addition to planned offices, restaurants, cafés and shops set around a landscaped park.
What do you do in the first hour after you wake up?
Usually I wake up in the early hours of each morning to pray and to catch up with each member of my household before the start of their day.
What do you like most about your job?
Managing a new development has been an excellent opportunity and learning curve. You get the chance to see how the buildings are completed and I have enjoyed learning lessons from various stakeholders – developer, client, public agencies and your own team. It is fascinating seeing our residents’ joy of when they move into their new properties – as their Development Manager, I want to keep that feeling alive.
What challenges do you face?
Looking after a new site which is still partially under construction presents its challenges. The construction of new blocks is done in phases to make sure there is a safe environment for residents who have moved in. The development is currently in its first phase and is expected to be completed over the next seven years. I need to have a keen eye and attention to detail to make sure the ongoing construction doesn’t affect the daily lives of residents who are living on the estate. Ultimately, we have the responsibility to make sure the environment is safe for residents, contractors and visitors. Therefore, constant checks, following standards, and making sure the team understand all the safety measures, especially during Covid-19, is key.
What led you to take this opportunity?
I have always been fascinated with the evolution of smart buildings and their management. I hold a MSc in Facilities and Property Management and for me, this role is a continuation of something I enjoy doing.
What is your greatest achievement?
Being able to help residents on a daily basis and the simple ‘thank you’ we receive from them is my greatest achievement. I was Highly Commended in the London Property Manager award category in the ‘Property Management Awards’ last year. I have also received several internal awards and I’ve been asked to work on various team projects because of the value I add.
Who is your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from the many good people I have worked with over the years. My current line manager, Sandip Desai, is my living encyclopaedia. I must also credit the site teams I have worked with as we have learnt a lot together. This role requires a lot of trust, self-discipline and problem solving. I think this is enough inspiration to get anyone raring to go each day.
What keeps you busy outside of work?
Family and community support. I try to get involved with as many activities as I can in my local area and I also enjoy short trips to explore what the world has to offer.
What personal goal have you set yourself this year?
My goal is to be the best version of myself this year. Covid-19 has taught most of us a lot of lessons and I hope I benefit from the new ways of life, to improve my professional skills.
What is one thing that people may not know about you?
Some family members think I spend a lot of money on books (according to Zee, my better half).