Stuart Hicks is a Director at commercial property consultancy Dunlop Heywood who offer services such as; asset management, valuation service and business rate audits.
We spoke with Stuart about finding that elusive work/life balance, appealing in the Lands Tribunal Northern Ireland and one of the hardest tasks he's ever undertaken.
As a Director at Dunlop Heywood, how would you describe your role?
It is very much hands on! When I set up Dunlop Heywood ten years ago I had previously worked for one of the largest property consultants in the market and I wanted to make Dunlop Heywood very personal, not only to me but to the team and the company’s clients; I think we have managed to achieve that very successfully. I head up the Rating Division and so I am still very much at the “coal face” when it comes to appeals, to the tribunals and the courts, which we have a very strong track record in, for example, in the aviation and leisure sectors.
What does the rest of 2018 have in store for you and the firm?
Dunlop Heywood is just about to celebrate 10 years in business so all the teams in our UK offices will be joining me in celebrating that achievement. We anticipate the rest of the year will continue to be busy and revenue growth forecasts are strong across all our services, particularly Rating Consultancy. The new “Check Challenge Appeal” system is causing a lot of headaches for UK businesses and we now have the prospect of more frequent revaluations taking place which, again, means more activity across the sector.
Why did you choose a career in Property?
It’s that long ago I can’t remember! I certainly have no regrets and even after more than 25 years in the business, there are still new elements to learn and develop all the time in a constantly changing world. I have certainly never been bored!
What do you most enjoy about your role?
I still get a huge buzz out of taking on those challenging cases and getting results for clients; where it can literally mean the difference between staying in business or calling it a day for some. The sectors we work in are constantly changing and so you can never stand still. As a result professional development is very important. I recently completed the RICS Rating Diploma. It was one of the hardest tasks I have ever undertaken, but the knowledge I acquired over those two years is proving invaluable now.
How would you describe your career over the years?
Certainly not predictable! I have been extremely lucky to work with some of the best people in the profession but ultimately I will always look back and be proudest of the team at Dunlop Heywood.
Can you tell us about one of your greatest achievements in your career?
Over 25 years you hope to have a few highlights to look back on, but I think one of the biggest for me was successfully appearing in the Lands Tribunal Northern Ireland and being an instrumental part of the team securing a landmark decision on behalf of Belfast International Airport. We certainly celebrated that night!
What career advice do you wish you could give to your younger self?
Everything comes out in the wash! And 99% of the things you worry about never come to pass. Enjoy your down time and try to get that elusive work/life balance sorted a bit earlier. Having twin girls has made me realise how important family time is… you will never get that back.
Follow Stuart on Twitter - @StuartHicks3
Follow Dunlop Heywood on Twitter - @DunlopHeywood
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