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Meet the team: Kurtis Nobbs

Kurtis’ first day at COEL was memorable for a number of different reasons, one of which was the Tour de France going through Cambridge. Kurtis being the sports fan he is, this was viewed as a good omen, and 10 years later he is still part of our team.

To celebrate the ten-year anniversary of Kurtis being part of COEL, we decided to sit down with him and find out, among other things, how his role as Furniture & Relocation Project Manager has evolved over the years and what his favourite thing about the team is.

Can you describe a typical day at your job?

Though my days vary a lot, my day usually starts the same way by going to the gym for two hours – this gets me ready for the day!

As soon as I am in the office, I like to check in with our on-site teams, first thing in the morning not only to ensure that they have everything they need from me but to also go over any important details of current or upcoming projects.

This might be followed by site surveys or meeting prospective clients to go through their requirements for a future move.

While in the office I can be:

  • Quoting potential furniture and relocation projects
  • Organising any approved jobs from clients – this includes everything from labour and furniture related
  • Planning or rearranging team schedules – sometimes timelines shift or requirements change and we have to be quick to adapt.
  • In internal meetings
  • Doing any relevant project work

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

I would say that the main challenge is how quickly things change! Programmes can change, impacting installation or move-in dates, meaning in turn that our labour requirements change frequently.

We have to be able to adapt quickly. Sometimes this means a last-minute re-assignment or a need to divert a furniture delivery to our storage facility to await confirmation that the on-site works are complete.

Although this is challenging its actually one of my favourite parts of the job! It helped me to become incredibly proactive and honed by problem-solving skills! The main thing is that we deliver on time and in time with the project programmes.


You have worked at COEL for 10 years now, what have you learnt in that time?

I have learned that the success of a project is all down to having the right team. Despite the setbacks we often face across the lifecycle of a project, everyone comes together and does everything possible to ensure the project is complete on time, and to the desired specification.

It’s that teamwork that makes me want to come to work each day and makes me go home happy that we’ve delivered a great service.

What attracted you to being a Project Manager at COEL, what appeals about working for a design and build company?

I would probably say that I stumbled into my role. However, my daily involvement with project managers and the skillset and the knowledge I acquired while working onsite were a great fit for the role.

What appeals to me the most about this role is that due working within the furniture and relocation team, we are often the first and last people onsite. So we really get to see some projects go though the full office refurbishment process.

This was a happy ‘accident’ and I’m really pleased.

Did you always want to work in workplace design / furniture?

No, I actually trained to be a plumber at college.

When that didn’t work I went on to become a roofer – despite how cold it was during winter!

I then became a fitter and that put me on the path towards COEL.

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

The people you work with make you enjoy the job and all the teams at COEL – from the onsite and the office team – are absolutely incredible. Everyone goes out of their way to help each other, even in their own personal time.

One particular benefit of COEL is that a number of employees have gone from working onsite to now working within the office. By doing both roles, I, for example, have seen the hard work that goes into winning a project at tender stage to the hard work onsite to create the visions the designers & clients have.

The most rewarding part of my role is completing a complex relocation or being able to provide clients with solutions to large problems.

And when you are not working, what do you like to do?

A few friends of mine and I set up a football team last year, as a way to spend time together, play football and have our young families together.

I also really enjoy taking long bike rides with my two kids.

Do you have a personal ambition to still fulfil?

A big ambition for later in life would be to take my family to see some historic places around the world, such as Poland and Vietnam, as I have always been interested in History.

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