Our latest recruit started off with dreams of becoming a professional footballer but, thanks to some sage advice from a careers advisor, he decided to pursue a career in building surveying.
We’re thrilled to welcome Matthew Beech to the Vail Williams team, who has joined our Reading office as Partner in the Building Consultancy team.
We spoke to him to find out how he got to where he is today as well as finding out a few random facts along the way – including his talent for breakdancing!
Where are you joining Vail Williams from?
I was an Associate at Frankham Consultancy Group.
What do you specialise in?
I was responsible for a team of building surveyors based in London and Oxford delivering projects within defence, education, leisure, civic, residential, healthcare and transport sectors. Projects ranged in size and complexity from £50k – £5 million. My responsibilities included ownership of the P&L account, business development, client management, business planning, preparation of fee bids, managing people and fee earning project work.
How long have you worked in the industry?
It’s been 22 years since I graduated from the University of the West of England, Bristol, with a degree in Building Surveying.
What attracted you to the post at Vail Williams?
Vail Williams has a very good reputation for professionalism in the industry. Having met some key people during the recruitment process, it was clear to me how much Vail Williams value their people and I was impressed by their ethical approach towards clients and business.
What are your ambitions in the role?
To continue to build on the reputation building consultancy has and to help develop new opportunities for the wider business with existing and new clients, including project design work.
What’s the best thing about working in property, and why?
It’s a very diverse industry. There is always something new to learn and experience. I can honestly say I’ve never been bored as a Building Surveyor.
What was your first ever job?
I had a paper round and a milk round working 7 days a week from the age of 11.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t turn up to a meeting without a notebook and pen.
Which book has changed your life?
Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World. I read it in my late 20s and up until then I didn’t have much of an interest in history.
Tell us a surprising fact about yourself.
Between the ages of 10 and 16 I played football for Reading FC and I was focused only on a career in football. At 16 I didn’t get a contract with Reading so I went to see the school careers advisor who told me to complete a multiple choice questionnaire to determine a job most suited to me. The result was a Building Surveyor.
Have you ever had a hair-raising moment, if so, what was it?
As an 11-year-old on holiday in Brittany, I was in an inflatable dinghy with two friends in the sea when we lost an oar. We drifted beyond the bay into the open sea. We were too far out to call our parents for help. Fortunately, we were rescued by a passing boat. We collected our lost oar when the tide went out the next day.
What’s your favourite band, and why?
From back in the day I’d say Happy Mondays. A mixture of memories of leaving school, my first car and going to my first pub, the Rising Sun in Reading.
If you could work in any other profession, what would it be and why?
Acting. My English teacher at school suggested it as a suitable career for me. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t being facetious.
What is your most treasured possession?
There’s probably nothing I own that I would say I treasure, but I’m very fond of my childhood collection of 1980s/ 90s replica football shirts. I used to put my son in them, but now he’s 12 he no longer appreciates the retro look.
Do you have a party trick, and if so, what is it?
I used to love breakdancing as a kid and I can still do a back spin.
Name one thing you’d love to learn this year.
I’m a Level 1 FA coach and manage my son’s football team, Rotherfield United, and this year I’d like to become an FA qualified referee.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
My daughter and I are quite early risers, whereas my wife and son like to sleep in. We get to spend some quality time together even if it’s just watching The Next Step on CBBC.
What are you most proud of in life?
A cliché I’m sure, but my two children.
Pictured above (L-R) David Thomas, Matthew Beech, Kevin Cook of Vail Williams LLP.