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Meet The Team: Ollie Lewis

Even though compared to others, Ollie Lewis is a relative newcomer to COEL, having joined the company four years ago, it is hard to remember a time when Ollie was not part of the fabric at COEL.

His warm personality and positive attitude are the perfect attributes for his role as sales manager and make him both a very popular member of the team and a well-known figure in the Cambridge business community. 

His can-do attitude means that he throws himself into projects and events with gusto, and has seen him become a champion in corporate rugby matches and don fancy dress for a pancake flipping competition.

We decided to have a catch-up with Ollie to find out more about his role as a sales manager here at COEL.

Can you describe a typical day at your job?

I am typically woken up by my alarm or my baby son at 6:30 am, depending on who creates the most noise first. Otis will get his morning milk and nappy change, and I’ll grab some breakfast and a shower before heading into the office. If I’m heading out to a site meeting, I will print out a drawing pack and any cost material needed for the meeting. Client meetings can range from an initial discussion to outline a scope of works, all the way through to a handover meeting once a build is complete. 

Following the meeting, I will write up the brief and circulate it to the wider COEL team, which will typically include the Design, Estimating, Furniture and M&E teams. Further meetings to discuss live projects in the Design or Estimating stages will take place throughout the day. I will then leave the office between 6-6:30 pm and either head to the gym or home for bath and bedtime with the little man. 

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

We typically have several projects live at one time, which will be at various stages within their lifecycle. A single day can consist of initial introductions with new clients, contract negotiations and site progress meetings. Keeping an eye on my schedule and managing my time certainly keeps the job interesting.

Did you always want to work in sales?

I wouldn’t say that I grew up with a job in sales high up on my list of careers, but it is a profession that I have been in for eight years now and get a lot of enjoyment from. 

I have played in various bands since I was 11 years old and, obviously, wanted to be a rockstar growing up. Outside of COEL, I design, build, and set up guitars, which is something I really enjoy. I also play in a four-piece band called The Mardlers, which tickles my musical itch. 

Ollie Lewis four-piece band called The Mardlers.


If anyone is interested in working in sales in the construction industry, what advice would you give them?

I really enjoy working with people and being part of a wider team. The nature of working in sales is that it centres on the connections you make and the relationships you build. I have truly enjoyed meeting and working alongside the wider property and construction network in Cambridge, it is a great community. 

There was a learning curve when I first joined, but you quickly absorb knowledge from the experienced members of the team.

For anyone thinking about entering this sector, I would say: ‘Go for it!’

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

There is an amazing work environment at COEL which was apparent from my first meeting with the team. Working in Design & Build with clients in different industries offers great day-to-day variety and opportunities to work with companies doing some incredible things within their sectors.

And being in and out of the office most days and working with interesting clients means each day brings something new.

COEL continues to grow and has ambitious plans for the future. As a result our processes have improved which has allowed us to compete for projects on a larger scale. We have also developed our expertise in life science fit-out to cater for the huge deficit in lab space currently affecting the UK Life Science growth.

It is energising to be part of a company thar invests in people and has such an impressive plan of action. 

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

My wife and I both grew up in Cambridge and are lucky enough to have family living nearby and so at the weekends, its always great to catch up with them and our friends. I have a couple of hobbies outside of work: since I stopped playing rugby after I reached my 30’s, I have been spending a lot of my time learning how to build guitars and have my third domestic build planned for later this year. 

Pre-baby days I taught skiing in Australia and travelled a lot. I still have a plan to go heliskiing one day and get dropped on top of a mountain with nothing but untouched snow on your way down. Skiing in Japan is also high-up on my bucket list because of the ridiculous off piste and powder conditions they get.

COEL now has their own rock star.

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