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Meet the team: Darey Horn

The story of this COEL employee starts in his homeland of South Africa. He followed his childhood dream to become a police detective and having displayed hard work and initiative he became a Detective Inspector by the age of 23. After 10 years of service, he decided on a career change and went into construction. In 2005 he came to the UK and worked in the fit-out industry in London for 9 years before deciding to work closer to home which was when he joined COEL.

Since arriving at COEL, he has made a big impact in delivering exceptional projects, but, he has also encouraged us to engage more in sports and this year he had his zenith moment as Captain of the COEL team in the inaugural Carter Jonas vs COEL charity cricket game.

We decided to sit down with Darey to find out more about what he values in his role as a Project Manager and his dreams for the future.

Can you describe a typical day at your job?

There is quite a strict procedure to the work I do to ensure that nothing is left unchecked, like most people I tend to start the day by checking my emails. I then check in with all site managers who are working on my projects to get an insight into the process and see if they need any help or support.

Preparation and communication are key to project management and so I make sure:

  • that I have everything in place for any scheduled site meetings
  • I have regular discussions with our designers and quantity surveyors

This ensures that we are all informed and updated on any possible issues or client changes that may have been requested.

What are some of the challenges you have had to overcome in your role?

Client timescales can sometimes be challenging as the clients need to be in their new offices and labs by a certain time. Adaptability is crucial. as you may have to work in an occupied building, and face lots of restrictions like noise, parking, and delivery constraints.

Whatever the circumstances you are dealing with you must prioritise the client experience – something we pride ourselves on here at COEL.

Did you always want to work in Project Management?

Certainly not, I wanted to be a detective which I achieved at a very young age, but life took me in a different direction and now I help create stunning workspaces for very interesting clients. The work keeps you on your toes, and you need to be adaptable which I like. For example, when I started in the industry, the focus was on office fit-outs and building refurbishments and now there is a far stronger focus on the life science market and lab fit-outs.

Darey Horn 2

What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about going into Project Management?

Go for it! Being a Project Manager is very rewarding especially when you hand over a project and you see the amazement on your clients’ faces with regards to what you have helped create for them.

What is your favourite thing about your role and being part of the COEL team?

I love meeting new people and learning about the clients and businesses we service; they are incredibly varied, and it always amazes me that we facilitate such a diverse range of businesses.  It’s also incredibly rewarding that we create amazing offices and laboratory space for them.

COEL is a very friendly team with a phenomenal reputation, and I am proud that we are known not only for providing an excellent service but, also for the work we do in the local community.

It was fantastic to take part in our inaugural charity cricket day this year, it was a huge success with around 500 people attending and £14,500.00 was raised for LandAid and The Phoenix Trust. It was also brilliant to get to meet and play cricket with International Cricketer, Monty Panesar, who was our guest speaker on the day – a fantastic sportsman and a top guy.

Darey and Monty Panesar

When you are not working what do you like to do?

Simple answer is sports! Cricket, tennis, or golf – I will be there, ready to play.

During downtime, I watch rugby as I decided to hang up my boots a few years ago. My favourite thing to do, besides sports is to host a BBQ or a ‘Braai’ as we call it in South Africa. I do love to travel as well and try to get back to South Africa when I can but there are still so many other places I want to visit …

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