Business graduate Mark Everard combines working in the housing sector with leading an ambassador group for a charity supporting children with cancer worldwide.
|Degree Course||Business Studies|
|Year of Graduation||
Your time at the University
All of the universities that I applied for back in 1982 were a long way from my home in Surrey so I guess I was determined to subject myself to the full “away from home” experience. When I visited Edinburgh I immediately knew it was there that I wanted to study. It was my first real time away from home but from the moment I arrived at Holland House, Pollock Halls, I loved my time in Edinburgh.
Within my first 2 weeks, I’d met a group of friends with whom I am still in contact some 36 years later, including my future best man. The social side of being a student was great (and possibly too much of a focus for me) from day one. Edinburgh always struck me as having all the plus points of larger cities condensed into a relatively small area – no matter where I ended up in the city I always seemed to be able to walk home!
My time in Edinburgh created so many memories. Living in halls, then Stockbridge before moving to a flat overlooking Bristo Square, which gave me no excuse to miss 9am lectures. Intra mural football, running round Arthur’s Seat, the Green Banana Club in Potterrow, Teviot on a Friday night, watching the Jambos and trips to Murrayfield. Perhaps most memorably, seeing my future wife, Sarah, in Greyfriars Bobby one Saturday night in October of my final year and then delivering some awful chat up lines to her 2 days later at a party at Cinderella Rockerfellas (so classy!).
Along the way I received a broad and diverse business education that taught me far more than I realised at the time, to go with the life education that university should be about too.
Tell us about your experiences since leaving the University
On leaving Edinburgh I went to work for our family building firm, AE Williams & Son (Builders) Ltd based in South London. I had laboured on site for the business throughout my uni holidays and when I joined it in 1986 we had about 7-8 employees, one local authority client and a negative balance sheet!
My father bravely gave me the opportunity to try to grow the business and within a couple of years turnover had doubled and he very suddenly announced that he was retiring. As I grew the business over the next couple of decades I often reflected how often I made use of the range of disciplines covered in my business degree. By 2007, I had 200 people working for me, from 6 offices across London and the South East as we delivered repair and maintenance services to over 20 local authorities and housing associations.
This growth and accompanying profile brought my company to the attention of the larger players in my sector and in April of that year I sold my business to Connaught PLC. I completed my earn-out with that business before moving to work for AECOM in 2010 as a Director and latterly as Head of their National Affordable Housing Consultancy team. After 5.5 years I was approached to take up a similar role with Capita PLC but that only lasted 18 months as in the autumn of 2017 I was asked to take on the role of Exec Director of Property for Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing.
My role sees me head up a team of 480 people responsible for delivering a budget of £120m per annum across Planned, Responsive and Compliance services to the Housing Association’s portfolio of 57,000 properties nationally.
Away from work, Sarah and I will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary next year and we have 2 amazing sons, Sam (26) and Jake (24). We live in Kingston upon Thames and when work and family allow, I still follow Chelsea FC and England’s cricket team with too much passion.
Over the past few years I have become heavily involved with World Child Cancer, heading up their Ambassador Group which seeks to raise money to support children with cancer, and their families in some of the poorest areas of the world. We hope to expand the Ambassador Group to Edinburgh because of the local link that continues to see the Royal Hospital for Sick Children supporting two local hospitals in Ghana.
There is a very simple rule for me, namely that you get out of life what you put into it - and that applies to everything from your time at University, to your family and working lives.
For careers, my experience has taught me that in any business that you might be involved in, remember to focus on the customer, be they internal or external to your organisation, whilst also making sure that within your teams, it is very clear who has ownership and accountability for the activities that you undertake. It’s pretty obvious really, but it’s amazing how often people forget that!