Jamie Valente low res-6

How did you get into this industry?

“I started off in this industry 20 years ago, as a labourer.  I’d been working in IT and didn’t enjoy it at all.  As soon as I started working on a construction site, I enjoyed the interaction with everyone and knew it would be the sort of work I would enjoy.  I went to college to learn how to be a carpenter and joiner but ended up going straight into supervision and site management.  After that I went back to college for another four years to do a CIOB in Site Management and HNC in Construction.


What has been your career path so far?

“I worked on sites for 15 years for a variety of companies, working my way up to being Site Manager.  I then went on to be a Construction Manager and Project Manager.   I’ve been lucky to get lots of experience working for companies of all different sizes.”


Tell us about your journey with BECK.

“I joined BECK as a Senior Project Manager for our recently completed Park Lane project.  It was a high-end residential project creating luxury apartments at one of the most prestigious addresses in London.  I’m now working at The Dorchester in my new role as Project Director.”

What is your favourite part of the fit-out and construction industry?

“I’ve always enjoyed working in construction.  I’ve still got the same enthusiasm and drive I had 20 years ago.  I’m not one of those people who sit back and just enjoy the ride.  I’d rather be there at the front, getting things done and pushing forward.”

At the level I am now, I really enjoy working with Site Managers and Trainee Project Managers.  I see people that were like me when I was a Site Manager and people completely different to me.  Now it’s as much about getting the best out of them, as it is anything else around the project.  If I can get people enjoying their job as much as I enjoy my job, then I consider that a success.”

Also, when working in high end interiors there is a finish you can be really proud of when you finish a project.  We work with a different level of sub-contractors and use quality products such as marble, oynx and granite.  Even when a project has faced difficulties or been a struggle at times, the team always ends up delivering the highest quality result and that is something I really enjoy being part of.”


What is your greatest achievement so far in your career?

“It’s not one specific thing but working my way up from a labourer to where I am now and not stopping.  At one point I was sweeping the floor and now I’m overseeing a whole project.  That for me is what I’m most proud.

People joining BECK can see the journey some of us have been on.  Anyone can start from the bottom and work their way up.  There is plenty of opportunity for other people to follow the same path I have.  It’s just whether they have the drive and ambition to do it.”


What is your philosophy as a manager of people?

“If the team is enjoying their work, you are going to get the best out of them.  You deal with a lot of different personalities, and everyone has their own separate skill sets, their own separate things they might need help with.

If you work with them as a manager to make sure they are achieving and happy at work, it helps with the bonding of the team.  You can’t deliver a job individually.  It isn’t just about the people at the top, it’s also about the people out on-site building, designing, and dealing with every part of a project.  I think we’ve got a great set of people at BECK to do that.”


What are your priorities moving forward in your new role?

“From an operations side we’ve got to maintain our client relationships.  Maintaining our reputation involves ensuring that we keep our quality levels high, ensuring that we produce a product others can’t.  We must keep it as tight to programme as possible and within cost for our clients.  So, quality is our key focus while making sure we don’t impact on the programme and the cost for our clients.

Another key focus is our people.  No business can afford to lose good people so it’s making sure our teams are focused and feel valued.”


Finally, do you have any advice for a young person looking to get into this industry? 

“To do well in any industry you need the opportunity and time invested into you.  Find a business which will invest in you and offers the opportunity to move around until you find the role which suits you best.  It might be as a QS, in estimating, MEP or design.  Until you’ve spent time in these roles, you don’t know which one is going be best for your skillset.

Also look for somewhere which will support you in terms in education and training to get you where you want to be.  Something BECK does really well is offer everyone the same opportunities.

There are people within the business who started off as a Document Controller and are now a Design Manager.  Others started off as a Trainee Manager and worked their way up to Project Manager.  Our Group Board Director Mark Banham began as a Bench Joiner and has made it all the way to the top.  That is inspiring.”