Consultancy, Sub-Saharan Africa
From assistant cost manager to associate director, Gregory Chekata has seen cost consultancy in East Africa evolve over the past decade in a booming market. From traditional quantity surveying services to a more integrated offering, Gregory’s passion for innovation to drive value through projects has been further realised since joining MaceYMR in 2017.
- How did your career lead you to Mace?
- I graduated from the University of Nairobi in 2007, joined an emerging cost consultancy firm and successfully sat my professional examinations in 2009 to get my practising licence. In 2011 the company I worked for merged with YMR and then in 2017 Mace and YMR joined forces.
- What are you responsible for?
I lead the cost consultancy team, managing people and delivering end-to-end services for clients on projects such as Sanlam Tower in the city of Nairobi – a state-of-the-art sustainable complex and office building covering 343,000 sq ft. I’m also responsible for contributing towards the growth and strategic development of the business. It’s exciting to see how the region will flourish in the coming years.
- How has your career progressed since joining MaceYMR?
- From when I started my career as an assistant cost manager to senior cost manager, and now an associate director, I have been privileged to have worked with great minds on challenging and exciting projects, gaining a huge amount of knowledge and confidence to help me progress my career. MaceYMR is an innovative business that has challenged me to think harder and act bolder. I’m proud of the way we do things and the value it gives to our clients.
- What do you enjoy most about your current role?
- For any business, it’s the people that become your greatest asset. Listening to staff, sharing their progress, challenges, disappointments, achievements, their need to better themselves and being able to chart the right path for others and myself, gives me the greatest joy and satisfaction. I also enjoy working with leaders to grow the business.
- What skills do you need to be good at your job?
- You need technical skills in your area of specialism, like cost management, project management, contracts administration, business development, strategic management and communication skills. However, that last one can make or break someone’s career. Being able to manage people and network is invaluable. It’s not really emphasised but people skills are vital in a fast changing environment like the one we operate in.
- What advice would you give to someone looking to get into what you do?
- I would tell them to research the industry and make sure it’s something they’re passionate about. Also, if you’re just starting out in your career you don’t have to worry about where you fit in at first – there is lots of opportunity at Mace to try different things and you may not end up where you thought you would. I would definitely recommend this industry because it’s extremely rewarding to see projects that you have worked on benefitting the community.
- What do you see as the big trend for your specialism in the next five years?
I am seeing a shift from clients wanting traditional cost consultancy services to integrated services such as risk management, procurement models, change management and cost modelling, amongst others.
“MaceYMR is an innovative business that has challenged me to think harder and act bolder. I’m proud of the way we do things and the value it gives to our clients.”