Employee Spotlight: James Hudson
Ever wonder how an energy infrastructure specialist continuously goes from strength to strength? Or the mindset of the employees that makes them tick?
This series intends to expose the internal culture and ethos across the Aberla Group. Interviews will be initiated to explore the processes and operations within the day-to-day procedures, providing an insight into Aberla’s working environment. The first edition spotlights Project Manager; James Hudson.
How long have you worked at Aberla and what is your role?
I’ve worked here for about 12 months now. My role involves the overseeing of mechanical/electrical fitouts and installations, maintaining projects by ensuring that site managers are doing what they’re supposed to be doing, whilst also leading conversations with the designers and our operational team.
What is your day-to-day life like?
Busy, ridiculously busy. There’s always something different happening, and always a task to complete, but every day is enjoyable.
How did your career develop to Project Manager?
Initially I worked for my Dad as an apprentice fitter before becoming a tradesman within the plumbing industry. I was travelling all over the country; working across the likes of commercial office blocks, apartments, hospitals and community centres. I first became a supervisor on the CIS building in Manchester, the new Co-op headquarters, before progressing to site manager, contracts manager and then finally, project manager roles.
Was it difficult to progress through your career?
It was mostly dynamic and fluid really. As an apprentice you work under the supervision of a tradesman. As a tradesman you take more ownership. As a foreman, there’s a little more responsibility as you have to manage a couple of people. When you become a supervisor, you are tasked with overseeing a much larger team, so it was very gradual.
What motivates you to wake up and go to work?
Job satisfaction, to tell you to truth; seeing something come together. When you see something that looks good and you think, ‘yeah, I’ve had an input into that, I’ve achieved that.’ It’s a big driver for me.
What’s it like to work for Aberla and how is it different to other places you’ve worked?
Good, I enjoy it! There’s such a strong community culture and ethos, everyone gets on with each other really well and that makes a massive difference. In other places I’ve worked, everyone tries to outjump each other in the hierarchy. We don’t have that at Aberla at all. We have an excellent support network and we all help eachother out. It’s a very friendly atmosphere.
How is your role as projects manager different to your previous roles?
Previously I was a contracts manager which meant I was monitoring multiple smaller sites with the managers reporting to me. My current role involves overseeing much larger sites with more detailed and intricate designs. I prefer it, it means I’m more involved in the day-to-day running. I get to spend more time per project rather than just getting an overview of each job to then move onto the next one; in this role you can clearly see the project progressing.
What can a customer expect when working with Aberla?
A professional attitude, a high-quality job and a flexible relationship.
How tight are the deadlines set by Aberla’s clients?
Very! They are challenging but I don’t think we’re going to miss deadlines. It’s tough, and it pushes us, but it’s a key focus point for the team to meet each one.
How essential is it that the Health & Safety policies are implemented within each project? How significant are they in the delivery of Aberla’s services?
They are critical every single day, my role highlights that especially. When working with sub-contractors, all aspects of health and safety have to be audited and checked by myself before passing onto the client; and there’s a lot of them! We have quarterly health and safety audits on each site internally and meet with external advisors monthly. It’s incredibly important in all the work we do.
What has been your favourite project at Aberla?
Definitely the East Manchester Youth Zone (MYZE) I’m working on currently. It’s the development of a top-class youth centre for young people; providing them with social opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise experience. It gives them somewhere to go and keep them out of mischief, the project really has that social value element that I feel very much invested in. Going back to what I mentioned about job satisfaction, this project equivocates exactly that. There’s the environmental aspect as well with the Solar PV on the roof! Personally, as well, there’s the internal structure and pipe work that’s incredibly intricate and complex. There’s a lot of pieces to pull together. It’s everything about it, I’m really proud to be working on it.