Director of UK Regions
Since joining Mace in 2007, Matt Darby has hardly spent more than two years in the same position. He is currently Mace’s project and cost management lead in the Birmingham office, delivering some of the most exciting programmes in the UK’s regions and building Mace’s relationship with some of our largest clients in the Midlands.
- How did you get into what you do?
My father ran a small construction firm in the West Midlands so the industry was always a big part of my life when I was growing up. It was clear to me from an early age that I would work in construction, plus I was always good at maths at school so it was a simple equation of maths + construction = quantity surveying!
After leaving college I joined a small professional quantity surveying practice and undertook a part-time degree in quantity surveying. I worked there from 1997 until I moved to Mace in 2007.
- How has your career progressed since joining Mace?
I joined as a senior cost consultant and over the past thirteen years I have progressed to associate director, project director, operations director and executive director sitting on the cost consultancy board.
I am now Mace’s lead for the Midlands, overarching all service lines including project and cost management, helping to build Mace’s presence and track record in the region. Having the opportunity to forge strong client relationships and help Mace expand its consultancy service offer in the regions is a culmination of all the opportunities I took within the company along the years.
- What do you enjoy most about working at Mace?
The wide diversity of sectors Mace works in provides me, and others, with the chance to broaden our knowledge and experience on a daily basis. The business also puts a lot of emphasis on client engagement and delivery, which aligns with my own personal values.
The most gratifying part of my job is being able to play a part in shaping the city and local area I grew up in with the creation and development of major infrastructure and property-related projects. Being able to have such a tangible positive impact on local communities in the Midlands is what makes my role at Mace so exciting. Taking projects from design to delivery and completion throughout the years has given me immense satisfaction.
- What project stands out for you?
- I’ve worked on a number of projects at Mace that have been extremely rewarding, but the stand-out scheme was Birmingham New Street. It was the size and complexity of the project that gave me the opportunity to put into practice my local supply chain and procurement knowledge to its fullest. Five years on, I can see the transformational impact the scheme has had on the local area, turning the station into a transport hub and shopping destination for people in the Midlands.
- What do you foresee for your specialism in the next five years?
- I think my role will expand to focus even more on social value. From local skills and employment that we can contribute to as a consultant or project manager, to sustainability initiatives or biodiversity, I can see how our social responsibility as a company is increasing. This will require me and my team to use our innovative thinking in continuing to deliver positive outcomes for the local communities where we build.
- What are you passionate about outside of work?
For my sins I’m a big Aston Villa fan - but let’s move on!
Both of my daughters play for local junior football teams so I spend most evenings and weekends encouraging and supporting them – they’re pretty good.
- If you hadn’t got into this line of work what do you think you might be doing?
I'd have been a graphic designer or maybe a stunt man, albeit a failed one. As a kid I’d take on any challenge with a skateboard or a bike – I’ve had my fair share of broken bones!
“The wide diversity of sectors Mace works in provides me, and others, with the chance to broaden our knowledge and experience on a daily basis.”