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Karen Grady in person

Trust neither man nor weather

Date of birth: March 15, 1971.

Nationality: British.

Qualification: BSc (hons) in construction management and economics from South Bank University. Recently became a member of he CIOB.

Interests: Swimming, socialising.

Why did you enter the industry?

Members of my immediate family work in the building industry - this influenced my choice of career.

What was your biggest break?

Persuading McCarthy & Stone to take me back when I graduated, considering that the industry was still suffering from the recession.

What is the toughest lesson you have learnt?

I have learnt several - trust no one; write everything down; take no one at their word; check everything; never make assumptions and stay calm.

What was your biggest mistake?

I haven't made any big mistakes, just lots of little ones.

What is your greatest achievement?

I see every development I complete as an achievement - some greater than others. The experiences I go through and lessons I learn on each site make me a stronger person and hopefully a better manager.

What do you most enjoy about your job?

The finished product - knowing that I have built someone's home which they will, hopefully, enjoy. There aren't many industries in which the finished product can be seen and enjoyed for so long.

What single thing would most improve your working life?

The weather - constant sunshine would be nice.

Who has influenced your career the most?

John Dalton - the first site manager I worked under when I was a student.

How has your career affected your personal life?

I've got less energy.

What is your all-time favourite project and why?

I don't have a favourite. I enjoy every project I do, especially the ones that go well.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you at work?

Under the circumstances, I'd rather not divulge that...

What is your best advice to someone entering your profession?

Be prepared - there is an awful lot to know. Remember and learn, things are constantly changing. As a site manager you take on a lot of responsibility and are expected to have all the answers. Enjoy it.

What is the biggest difference between the industry 10 years ago and now?

I wasn't in the industry 10 years ago, but I would think that things are more restricted now, with shorter programmes and tighter budgets.

What would you change about the industry if you could?

More tolerance in our building programme would be nice - to allow for site-specific problems, weather, and other unexpected occurrences. Improving the planning application procedure to make it a less lengthy process, too.

What is your lifelong ambition?

To reach the top of a major building or contracting company.

What did you want to be as a child?

A world-famous architect.

Whose job would you most like?

My construction director's.

How would you describe your job at a party?

Having at least 50 fit men labouring under me every day (not true but sounds good).

What is your favourite drink?

Budweiser.

What is your nickname?

Perhaps you'd better ask one of my 50 men!

What phrase do you use most?

Just DO IT.

What are your likes?

Shopping; swimming; going out for meals; holidays in Ireland.

What plans do you have for the future?

To progress as far as possible in this industry.

Employment History:

1991/1992: Placement year with McCarthy & Stone

1993 to present:Re-joined McCarthy & Stone as finish foreman.

October 1995: Promoted to site manager