A few short months into his new role as Business Development Manager here at Active we sat down with James Phillips to get to know him a little better and talk about his experience of the industry so far…

What is your background?

My first job was in property management as part of an estate agency. This involved me dealing with both tenants and landlords and gave me experience of dealing with customers firsthand. I was involved in the maintenance side, so I have an understanding of various struggles within the industry shall we say... Before my job in property management, I had enrolled in a degree at York University but quickly realised university wasn't the right route for me and decided on a different path.

How did you get into the facilities management industry?

I was actually recommended by a friend to look at roles closer to London, as I had recently relocated there after previously being based in Norwich. I found Active and thought it would be the perfect step in my career, with my previous experience and skillset and having knowledge of similar sectors. I'm based in London so work remotely but I try to come into the office at least once a week as its always beneficial to spend time catching up with the team, filling them in on any new developments face-to-face.

What is your current role at Active Workplace Solutions and what does it entail?

I focus on new business, so I get to meet new contacts and explore and develop my relationships.It's pretty apparent to me already that once you're a friend of Active's,you're a friend for life! We have lots of clients who use us every few years or who come back to us for project work. But I love meeting new people and I want to explore how we can help even more businesses in need, all over the UK.

Who do you work closely with?

I work closely with our Business Development Director, Paul. He's been very accommodating, and we work well together. I also spend a lot of time working with Adrian, our co-founder and director.

What are you excited about the most?

The opportunities that I've already started seeing of coming into this sector and working with a whole host of companies of all different sizes! We've worked with global organisations such as banks and car manufacturers to small start-ups in the local area. The diverse nature of the businesses and clients we work with allows us to work with some really interesting people.

It's also exciting that I start the process at the beginning and see it through right to the end.Other companies, such as larger organisations within our sector, often have many people working on the same business development routes, whereas I am a direct point of contact for many clients and I am in the know about their current situations. This gives me peace of mind and hopefully does the same for them.

What has interested you so far, about the sector?

It was completely new to me - my background is in residential property but of course I had an idea about commercial property and renovations. With the rise of remote and agile working, workplaces are changing so much and at such a rapid rate - and this is a good thing! They are adapting to the flow of the workforce more and more. Despite people opting to work at home or somewhere other than the office, I think there will always be a need for an actual place of work to have as a company's central hub. You may not think it, but there is actually a shortage of office space in London, with a lack of new premises being built, businesses are exploring other options such as renovating and shorter lease co-working spaces.

Who, in any other industry do you most admire?

I definitely look up to Karren Brady. I was lucky enough to attend a talk she was speaking at recently and I got to hear all about her journey, which is pretty admirable.