This is the third instalment of our meet the team series. We’ve so far talked to our two co-founders, MD Paul Lafone and Technical Director Patrick Dent about how TVS came about and why they wanted to set it up in the first place. Next up is Christopher Taylor, TVS Group’s Project Director, who is going to tell us a little bit about what he is working on at the moment and why he enjoys what he does.
So Christopher, what did you do before TVS?
Well I was a painter and decorator when I left school. I’ve always wanted to go into management though, so I decided to move more into the construction world. I applied for a trainee site manager role for a large construction company, I got it and worked my way up. I guess I’ve always been quite hands-on and love getting stuck in with projects, so the role really suited me. I think it’s what got me on the road for working here and becoming Project Director.
That’s quite a journey. And how did you start working for TVS then?
Well I already knew Paul from way back. As he and Patrick mentioned, they were basically wearing a million different hats when they first set up and after a few years they wanted to hire more people to concentrate on certain parts of the business so they could free up their time and run the company. By 2015 they’d grown a lot, they were able to upscale to a bigger office. Paul approached me and asked if I’d be interested in a project managers role. At the time it was a bit of a risky choice for me because I was at working at a large and well-established construction company where I was making my way up the ladder. But something intrigued about Paul’s offer and I thought if you don’t take risks in this life you’ll never get anywhere. In the end it was one of the best decisions I’ve made and I guess the rest is history.
Wow, must be nice to have been scouted for the role?
Well yeh definitely. I think Paul and Patrick value hiring the right people for a role. They really believe in hiring experts to help the company achieve its goals. I was actually their first Project Manager and was able to start from the ground up running the projects side of the business. I like that I’ve been here during the various massive growth phases and have been able to create a project management structure as TVS transforms.
We continued to grow until I was eventually promoted to project director in 2017. We then hired more project managers to support us with the increase in projects we were undertaking.
Must be nice to see projects grow from strength to strength. Has much changed since you were promoted?
Well, similarly to what Paul and Patrick where saying in their interviews, I’ve pulled back much more from the day-to-day running and have a more top line view of things now.
Our project managers report into me on a regular basis to keep me updated on the progress of all our projects. A big part of my role is to support or assist our project teams as and when needed from a technical and managerial point of view.
As a Project Director, I work alongside our clients, architects, designers and acousticians throughout each stage of a project to ensure our solutions are completely aligned to acoustic specifications, client expectations and the changing nature of complex builds. When I’m not overseeing ongoing projects, I deal with the health and safety regulations and procedures of the company. I also concentrate on finding new opportunities in the market and winning new and repeat business. I spend a lot of time searching for ways we can grow as a company and finding new sectors we can win work in.
Speaking of being on site, what are you currently working on?
We have an acoustic project that has just started on 60 Curzon road in Mayfair, London. It’s a huge luxury residential property with a lot of multi-functional spaces within the building, including apartments, a gym, and a private restaurant. We were asked to come in and mitigate any potential vibration from the nearby tube station which would run up through the building.
During the design stage we spent time analysing several potential acoustic solutions comparing them to the parameters given to us by the acoustician. It was crucial to get this bit right because our acoustic installation is part of the shell of the building and will have a huge effect on the subsequent fit-out stages of a very intricate and high quality residential property.
It’s a complex project but it is the kind of thing I love to work on. I guess because of my construction background I really enjoy any urban planning that is very technical and has several different elements at play. I’m currently assisting our project team to ensure all the technical aspects are captured and that the project is delivered according to the client’s high expectations, just as we would for all of our projects.
Other projects were are working on at the moment include Pure Gym, we have two new fit outs in Maidstone and Chelmsford. Pure Gym is a historic client of ours and I really love how much we’ve been able to help mitigate acoustic issues across so many of their sites within the UK. We also have a project in Bristol, the residential property is going through a re-fit and we are carrying out a large scale acoustic flooring project to minimise noise between each apartment and each floor.
You seem to really like what you do?
I do, I genuinely look forward to coming to work. I think I’m quite lucky to be able to say that. Something quite unique about TVS is that we all like what we do, which has created a really nice atmosphere to work in. I think a big reason for that is Patrick and Paul. They brought people in that have the skills and capacity to do their roles plus they really give us the freedom to execute our ideas and trust us completely in our day-to-day roles. I think trust is actually the biggest factor, they trust that we know what we are doing, and so we are left to get on and do our job.
They also encourage us to develop and improve which has in turn really helped us to see our potential and the company as a whole to grow.
What I’m actually most proud of is that I was given the opportunity to really develop the project side of the business. When I came into the company the projects arm of the business was a blank canvas and so I was able to really make the role my own. In the end we went from completing only a handful of projects a year to completing over 50. I like that I had a direct impact on how the company has transformed and diversified.
Another great thing about working at TVS is that I have a fantastic project team around me. I can really rely on them to what they do best and gives me the peace of mind to be able to concentrate on my role as Director. We also really get on which makes any project we work on really enjoyable.
And when you aren’t at work, what do you like doing?
I have kids and I’m married so I really like going on outings that the whole family enjoys, whether that’s to the beach, a farm or a theme park. I like being in the outdoors as much as possible, so I also play for a local amateur football team every weekend. I go to the gym quite a bit too, although I often can’t help looking at which gym flooring they’ve used!
Thanks for telling us more about what you do and why you love working for TVS so much. Next month we’ll be talking to Andy Roberts, our Sales Director.