We spoke to Aaron Hughes, soon to be Managing Director of GEDA Construction, about the upcoming tenth anniversary of the company’s GB division, connections in the East Midlands, and what the future holds.
With Eugene McKenna retiring after thirty-two years with the company, you’re taking over as Managing Director. What are your plans for GEDA going forward?
2020 was a challenging year but despite this GEDA is positioned strongly within the market. I strongly believe this is due to the resilient culture created by Eugene [McKenna] and the other Directors. We have created a positive and committed approach to successfully deliver in line with our client’s aspirations. Our company structure, of 3 core divisions covering Midlands, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland, has provided us with increased opportunities to further diversify and continually expand in these uncertain times. In the incoming year I want to continue to build on Eugene’s vision of continued managed growth.
It’s rapidly approaching ten years since you started the company’s GB division in Nottingham before moving to Kegworth. Can you tell us a bit more about how this division got started and why, specifically, you chose the East Midlands?
I would like to say that our commencement in the East Midlands was after a long strategic analysis, but in reality, it was based on a chance encounter that lead us to having a number of meetings in Nottingham with various consultants. Some of those we met in those initial meetings are very much part of our journey to date and will continue to be in the future. Our first project ‘Hill Close’ was delivered in 2010 for Metropolitan Housing Association and since then we have adopted a clear strategy of considered steady growth which is reflected in our ever-increasing portfolio of projects and widening client base.
We firmly believe that our approach of focusing on making projects work for all those involved has help create trusting, mutual respectful and long lasting relationships with clients, consultants, supply chains as well as the communities we work within.
Having reached this stage in our progression, our focus now is to ensure that GEDA is recognised a “mainstay” within the Midlands construction and civil engineering sectors.
Will becoming MD affect your current relationship with the East Midlands?
In short no, we have a well-established, experienced and committed team who oversee our operations in the Midlands, and they will continue to strive for growth and achieving excellence at every opportunity. It is my aim to ensure that GEDAs presence in the Midlands continues to grow from strength to strength.
Are there any future development projects in the Midlands pipeline?
Our current order book extends well into 2022, and while COVID has certainly presented challenges, it’s also opened up opportunities for us. Our extensive residential and civil engineering background puts GEDA in a prime position to play our part in delivering the increased housing and infrastructural improvements that have been flagged as priority by the Government. This along with our multi-sector construction experience across retail, education and industrial positions GEDA particularly well for 2021 and beyond.
In the next 12-18 months for our housing sector alone we are scheduled to deliver 600 housing units and are working close with Severn Trent Water to deliver essential infrastructure projects.
With the impact of both Brexit and the pandemic on the construction, civil engineering and property development industries, how is GEDA navigating the economic and political uncertainty?
Brexit has taken a back seat in the first half of this year due to COVID-19 pandemic, however in recent months we have refocused our priorities with Brexit and its challenges at the forefront of our decisions. Within the construction industry the majority of construction products / materials can be sourced within the UK. However, 24% are imported, with nearly two thirds (61%) of these coming from EU countries. To foresee and pre plan any hurdles Brexit throws at us we are closely monitoring our industry and engaging regularly with our supply chain to ensure that proportionate allowances are made in our procurement planning to take account of any potential delays.
Are there any plans for the GB division to celebrate its tenth anniversary?
Our tenth anniversary of operating in the midlands is a huge land mark occasion in which we want to acknowledge our clients and consultants for their support, but also allow us to celebrate with our own staff to recognise their achievements over the years. With healthy order books and a number of framework opportunities secured across various sectors we are immensely proud of how our operations have grown across the Midlands to what it is today. We hope, COVID restrictions pending, to hold an event which would appropriately mark the milestone and allow everyone to come together to toast to our bigger and better future!