Passionate property professional Andrew has a desire to get things done
In the High Flyers spotlight this week is Andrew Lennon, senior development officer (new business) at Radius Housing Association.
What was your first job?
From a young age I found myself on building sites working with my dad in the construction sector. I have no doubt in the early days I was more of a hinderance than a help but it gave me a great insight into building and construction from an early age. My first paid job was in an O2 store focusing on sales and customer service. I loved the sales targets and getting to experience the new technology. I remember selling the first iPhone, just before heading off to focus on my studies.
What qualifications do you have?
I have a BSc (hons) estate management from Northumbria University in Newcastle, and after that I achieved professional accreditation become a MRICS Chartered Surveyor.
What do you attribute your success to?
I started my career in the property sector just as the economy was heading into recession in 2008. While I was fortunate enough to have a steady workflow, with so much uncertainty in the market it wasn't an easy start to working life. Buyers negotiated hard and every listing was a battle to get a deal agreed. To add to that legal and solicitors fees, and the buyers had become very risk adverse, this meant I was having to understand complex legal issues and present solutions to the client with the vendor's legal teams recommendations. What has also helped me during my career is having great mentors, as well as being able to seek advice from colleagues and industry experts when needed.
How would you describe yourself to someone who'd never met you?
A passionate property professional with a desire to get things done. Keen to make new connections, continually learn and look at new ways of doing business.
Who do you look up to in business?
Anyone who is passionate about their industry, consistently puts in the effort and can help others along the way. I recently listened to a podcast with John Caudwell founder of Phones 4 U on the incredible journey growing his business and the challenges he faced along the way.
How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
Agreeing development deals for major housing projects is a complex and litigious process. I have to engage with various stakeholders and professional consultants along the way. These include valuers, architects, planners, developers and local residents, as well as the wider Radius Housing team.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
More of it! Many people who I've worked with over the year have relocated to places such as Dubai, Qatar, Australia, Canada, London and the Netherlands for property jobs. While some of these will be for lifestyle reasons, I know that others would have stayed in Northern Ireland if they had seen more opportunities. As a social housing developer, Radius contributes a lot to the economy and to the construction sector, and there is incredible ambition to build more social housing. So, if issues such as planning, water infrastructure and land availability could be addressed, it would make a huge difference economically and socially.
What website or app could you not do without?
Propertynews/Propertypal and the planning portal for work. Outside of that, it would be Strava for running.
What was the last book you read?
Ant Middleton – The Fear Bubble.
What car do you drive?
I've had the same Mercedes for about six years now and it's been the best car I've ever owned, never let me down and its reasonably economically on fuel too which helps in the current climate!
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I have completed over 70 official Parkruns and I'm working towards my next milestone of 100.
What's your greatest passion outside work and family?
I've just run my first ever marathon, the Belfast Marathon. My furthest competitive run prior to this was a 10k (6.2 miles) so I had had to start from scratch with the training program. I ran it in just over four hours and was delighted to be able to raise funds for Radius' corporate charity partner Air Ambulance NI. Outside work and family, running takes up most of my time. In February it was great to get down to the Aviva Stadium in Dublin with my wife and friends to watch Ireland take on Wales. It really felt that things were getting back to normal after the lockdowns and restrictions. I might have to test the water soon and travel to France in 2023 for the Rugby World Cup.