Our exclusive interview this week is with Martin Taylor, the managing director of Magor-based Edenstone Homes, who tells us about his current role, career path and thoughts about what working in the industry can offer.
Hello Martin, please tell us a little about yourself, the company and your current role in it.
I’ve spent my entire career in the housebuilding industry, following my father who started as a quantity surveyor, and my grandfather who was a bricklayer.
Edenstone Homes is an independent housebuilder – I co-founded the business with my father, who is the company’s chairman. We are currently developing six schemes across South Wales and the South West of England and have major expansion plans – we aim to start a further five or six new developments in the next 12 months. As we expand, the size of schemes we undertake is increasing, with several of the new projects being between 150-300 new homes.
My current role as managing director requires that I focus on setting and delivering a clear strategic path for the business. This entails ensuring that we have both an exciting opportunity pipeline, and adequate risk management measures in place.
What’s the career path that has led you here?
Unusually, my career started in new home sales. I then moved into a role as land manager, before becoming a director progressing to my current role as managing director.
Are there projects and/or mentors from your career that have been particularly important to you?
The project that I learnt most from was the development of a large private estate on the edge of Cardiff. It had a very large, derelict listed building as its centre piece. It now looks magnificent, but both the costs, and the time scales significantly overshot our original budget. It was a painful lesson, but reinforced the benefit of building two-storey new build family housing.
Did you start working with ambitions of an MD role or is it a role that you later realised might be yours?
I started out with the objective of becoming a successful entrepreneur. Fortunately, the reality of my job today is that it broadly fulfils that objective, albeit with a little less excitement than I may have anticipated! *laughs*
Are there major differences between choosing to work for a housebuilder of Edenstone’s size, compared to one of the nationals?
We definitely have several day-to-day advantages. We’ve built a team that works well together and this is key to our success and continued growth. Because we’re a close-knit team it means individual performances and achievements are more readily recognised than they might be in a bigger organisation.
Our shareholders have a very long-term outlook for the business and this allows us to focus on areas such as the development of ‘Zero Carbon’ homes.
What opportunities does Edenstone offer for young people and those looking for a new career move?
Edenstone is a rapidly growing business and this means we’re able to offer an accelerated career path to all of our younger members of staff. It’s great to see that many of them are embracing the opportunity to gain new skills and experience.
Are there particular qualities that you look for in candidates?
Always integrity. It’s a key attribute for any candidate, regardless of the discipline. Beyond this they should also have an inquisitive mind, and a willingness to learn and grow as a person.