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Meet the team: Joe Burnham

We are delighted to introduce our very own theatrical performer who has sold out two nights of the stage performance of “The History Boys”, Joe Burnham.

Joe joined us only two years ago but has already had a tremendous impact on our business development department. Due to a recent internal change, whereby Joe went from being a sales manager to a business development manager, we thought it would be interesting to sit down with him and find out more about this new role.

Can you describe a typical day at your job?

As a business development manager, no two days are the same, particularly because this isn’t a typical 9-5 job.

As a result, it might be easier to share how I divide my time:

  • Internal meetings
  • Client meetings
  • Campaigns
  • Targets
  • Strategies
  • Competitor analysis

In addition to the above, I also dedicate a significant portion of my time to ensuring I have a deep understanding of ongoing projects throughout the Oxford Cambridge Arc. As well as ongoing research and development, this includes attending a range of networking events within the industry, local market and beyond.

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

The biggest challenge is making sure that I stay abreast of any changes in our market. As with any market, the construction sector is subject to constant change. So, it is crucial that I keep my finger on the pulse to any changes within project scope and alternative locations that may better suit their requirements. This allows me to better inform clients and advise them on what COEL can deliver.

What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about going into construction, specifically Business Development?

The most important piece of advice I would give anyone is to always be prepared to learn! This is an industry where people tend to stay around for a very long time and so, if you are patient enough, they will happily share their extensive knowledge with you.

Go into a career in construction with an open mind and accept that even if you aren’t doing exactly what you envisioned, the experience will provide you the skills you need to move on. The construction industry encompasses a lot of different skills and disciplines, so if you aren’t 100% satisfied in your current role, it is very likely you will find something that better aligns with your interests and skillsets.

Finally, be ready to work in a fast-paced environment and never rest on your laurels of learning. Everyday is a school day!

When you started at COEL you were a Sales Manager, but your role has recently changed to Business Development manager, how has your role changed?

COEL decided around eight months ago to divide the sales department into business development and pre-construction. The opportunity to become a business development manager lent itself well to my skillset and so I decided this was the role for me!

As I’m no longer managing projects, I have ample time to work with our marketing team to understand the market and ensure that we are at the forefront of people’s minds when considering their office or lab needs.

So ultimately, my main aim now is to ensure COEL has a strong market presence ranging from face-to-face, networking and ad-hoc client entertainment with more of a focus on ensuring people know what we do.

Now that we have a dedicated pre-construction team, we are able to help our clients even further by giving them a more detailed approach.

Did you always want to work in Construction?

To be honest, growing up, the construction industry wasn’t somewhere I envisioned working, with banking or a legal career being what you’d aim for – personally, I was aiming at becoming a secret agent.

So no, I didn’t grow up wanting to be part of the industry. Nevertheless, now working in Cambridge and being a part of the work that COEL does, it is clear that it is an incredibly high calibre  job.

What is your favourite thing about COEL?

I know this is often mentioned in other “Meet the Team” interviews, but my favourite thing about COEL is the culture. To give you a bit of perspective, there is no “Monday blues” among the staff; because we all share the company vision and mission and we are all, collectively, trying to achieve the same goals. This enables us to all work together, regardless of what department you are in and so no one feels isolated.

Another significant benefit of working at COEL is the varied type of projects we deliver. This allows the job to be dynamic and exciting – and we get to work with some amazing people in the process.

Visit our team page to meet more of our amazing team.

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