Andy Sharples
Experienced People

Andy Sharples

Director

Consultancy, UK

Based in Mace’s Manchester office, Andy leads our consultancy offer in the utilities and energy sectors, having grown our activity in both areas since he joined the company. His team is delivering major infrastructure improvements under the umbrella of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership.

How did you get into what you do?

I didn’t know what career I’d have when I left school. Instead of going straight into further education I worked for a structural steelwork company in Bolton. I had a variety of roles which gave me a good grounding before my mentor encouraged me to take a part-time degree to become a quantity surveyor in construction.

One part of my CV that was missing was working for a regulated blue-chip public limited company, so I left my role as Commercial Manager to work in a business that delivered water and waste-water to five million customers in north-west England. I was then sent up to Scotland to help establish Scottish Water Solutions, an equity joint venture company set up by Scottish Water to deliver hundreds of different projects to improve its network of infrastructure.

How has your career progressed since joining Mace?

I joined Mace in 2008 to build up its market share in the utilities sector, which I turned around in eight months - it included securing a long-term contract with Affinity Water. I was then asked to do the same for Mace’s activity in the energy sector, most recently in new-build and decommissioning nuclear facilities.

Recently I became Mace’s Director of Energy and Utilities. I'm focusing on how we can support our clients in the delivery of a variety of major infrastructure improvements, particularly in the north of England within the Northern Powerhouse Partnership.

What do you enjoy most about your current role at Mace?
As an individual you continue to face new and exciting challenges and are completely empowered to make decisions. I can safely say I’ve had numerous roles where I’ve been dropped in at 1,000 feet but been supported at the highest level. I thrive on complex challenges, growing businesses and meeting client aspirations.
What skills do you need to be good at your job?
Most important is the ability to build and motivate teams to meet the required job. You need to understand people and be able to get them in the right place and in the right team to deliver. I get more of a kick out of that than anything else.
What advice would you give to someone looking to get into what you do?

There are many different avenues into the constructions industry, but you’ve got to be able to work hard and be prepared to move to where the work is. And if you do, you get rewarded. The truth is the construction industry is a mobile industry, which goes through cycles and locations, but you can do well if you put yourself in the position to take the opportunities that are presented to you.

If I hadn’t gone to Scotland and lived there for five years I wouldn’t have learned about project management or joined Mace. I took a chance – otherwise I may have still been working where I started my career in Bolton. Although I'm fond of my home town I don't believe I would have had the experiences I have.

What do you hope you will be doing in the next 5-10 years?
In the short term I’ll be helping to develop our offer outside of the UK. I'll also be supporting the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, which is aiming to stimulate growth and develop major infrastructure in the north of England. In the longer term I’d like to further expand Mace’s energy and utilities business throughout the UK and grow it across the rest of the world.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I’m passionate about cycling and Lycra. I go mountain biking in north Wales and road biking around Cheshire most weekends - it’s almost an obsession. I recently took part in a Mace Foundation fundraising event and cycled from Manchester to London.
Andy Sharples

“In the short term I’ll be supporting the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, which is aiming to stimulate growth and develop major infrastructure in the north of England.”