Les is the Managing Director and Finance Director responsible for setting and managing the company’s financial strategy and commercial development of the business.
He is a commercially aware accountant who entered the financial profession in 1980 and has spent most of his working life in construction-related businesses.
He joined 1st Step in September 2007 and is responsible for the day to day running of the finance department, IT and Human Resources.
He is a results driven individual who thrives under pressure and enjoys leading from the front.
He has a strong working relationship with his fellow Directors and is key in implementing the company’s vision
Our team at 1st Step were yesterday at the New York Build Expo, at the Javits Center, meeting representatives from across the industry. 1st Step's Tommy Marino, Technical Recruiter and Katherine Castellanos, Branch Manager Katherine and Tommy were able to network and meet with plenty of clients and candidates at the event, whilst getting the latest information on what is going on in New York, NY in the coming months and years for the Construction industry. Katherine told us "It was a great opportunity to not only network amongst some of the most elite construction companies in NY but also to get a better understanding of how everything operates behind the scenes." Tommy took full advantage of the opportunity to get up close to some of the huge plant on display and even got set to make a speech at the lectern. When it came to the leading lights of the sector, Katherine explained that 1st Step was in good company at the event. She said "There were many reputable companies there starting from ones that provided all the nuts and bolts on most projects to some of the largest contractors in the worlds like Skanska and Hudson Meridian. It was great to be part of it and I am looking forward to doing it again!"
New York City has entered it’s biggest construction boom it has seen in generations. The city has come a long way from 2008 where the industry had taken a severe downward turn. In June, the city census reported that the city had issued 17,8054 permits. More than half went to Brooklyn projects with most of the rest being split between Manhattan and Queens. Even with most development permits going to the borough of Brooklyn, Manhattan maintains the top spot for the most expensive projects. This is largely due to Manhattan’s Hudson Yards project. Hudson Yards is Manhattan’s current large-scale redevelopment plan. It is making history as the largest private real estate development in history. This is also the largest development the city has seen since Rockefeller Center clocking in at over 1 million square feet of retail and mixed-use space. Hudson Yards 500 West 33rd Street is the city’s largest and most expensive project. Being built by Tishman Construction the mixed-use building is valued at $ 576.68 Million. New York City’s skyline continues to grow and develop which will guarantee the city’s boom to continue for the years to come.
New York City maintains the top spot for 2 years in a row as the most expensive city to build in around the world according to Turner and Townsend’s annual report, the 2018 International Construction Market Survey. On average it cost $362 per square foot to build in New York City. As far as labor goes the city’s average that a construction employee will make an hour is $98.30. Wages for construction employees are starting to rise to meet the demands of a busy market. Contractors have seen a 10% increase in their hourly wage to $29.63 per hour as well. New York City large-scale projects such as Hudson Yards, Pacific Park and Essex Crossing has brought in over 30,000 jobs into the city. There is a high demand for skilled employees. Many companies are willing to pay generous salaries as well as offer great benefits to attract top talent to their companies. Senior level roles with these companies can see salaries reaching 200K. With many of the projects in development, now is the time to enter a thriving industry.
Two of our leading Consultants, Kieran James and Sam Nixon, have recently taken a visit to Battersea, and they were impressed... Kieran and Sam were meeting their client at Battersea and got a treat of a site tour. In this picture, you can see Sam Nixon, our Commercial Consultant who was stood next to a £450,000 boiler, of which there are two powering the old Power Station! Sam said "this was an awesome project, and great to meet the guys out on site. I am always in awe of the projects our candidates and clients build, but this is another level. I'm really grateful for being invited". "The size and scale of this project is immense" said Kieran, "and you can't really grasp the scale and size of the project even when you are stood next to it. We're really proud to be represented 1st Step as part of this prestigious project."
This week we were delighted to be asked to attend an event in aid of "Haven House" which is a charity set up to look after terminally ill children. Our Operations Director, Andy Brooks was in attendance at the event, held at the Seve Ballesteros designed course, the Shire. Andy said "We were invited along to attend the event, organised by our client MJL, and we were only too pleased to be there" adding "whilst my golfing wasn't up to much, and I won't comment on others, the event was a huge success and our client should be applauded for organising such a fantastic day and, moreover, raising the best part of £30k towards the Charity". "Supporting both charities and our clients is an important and imperative part of what we do at 1st Step, so getting the chance to do so alongside our clients and fellow supply-chain members is great" said Andy.
Continuing our ongoing commitment to be involved in shaping the futures of the next generation of workers, today, I visited Cooper’s School in Chislehurst to discuss employability skills and careers in HR (4th July 2018). Part of our ongoing commitment to being part of our community is helping to educate the next generation of the UK’s workforce. We feel it is really important to meet students and engage with them about life in the working world, which is often not on the curriculum. To go into details of how to perform in an interview compliments what schools do, but giving contextual advice from experience from throughout my career added real value. I have to be honest I was dreading it a bit - teenagers are not renowned for being easy to keep captivated - but the students at Cooper’s School were an absolute credit to their school and themselves. They were genuinely interested in my career and in what 1st Step do too. It gives real hope for the next generation that we are bringing into our workplaces. And they did remind every 10 minutes...it’s coming home!