In Conversation With Rebecca Thompson..........
This week I caught up with Rebecca (Bexter!) Thompson. We were colleagues more years ago than we care to remember …. at EC Harris in Leeds. Rebecca is now the Senior Estate Manager at English Heritage.
As Senior Estate Manager at English Heritage, How Would You Describe Your Role?
I am the Senior Estate Manager for the North Territory. This is a complex role which includes the implementation of national strategy and managing a team to deliver the maintenance, repair and conservation of our historic sites in the north of England. Every day is different. It is a challenging but rewarding role where you see the development of strategy on paper come to life in the shared history of the buildings.
What Does 2022 have in Store for you & English Heritage?
In 2022 we celebrate 1900 years of Hadrian’s Wall, with lots of events for the public to enjoy. As an Estates Team we have a challenging maintenance routine, and some interesting projects. We are working towards ‘sustainable conservation’ which means improvement to the historic sites through major projects and smaller interventions that ensure the buildings will be around for many more generations. We are keen to reduce our carbon footprint and to make our sites more accessible to everyone. You will start to see more composting toilets and energy efficient management systems. Heritage and technology in harmony!
What made you want a career in the construction industry?
I went for some work experience at a land agency when I was doing my GCSE’s and deciding my A ‘Levels. I was invited to join the Building Surveyors and loved the work, this led to a surveying apprenticeship with Shepherd Construction and I never looked back. I thoroughly enjoyed commercial construction, but decided to specialise in the heritage sector after working on a project with archaeologists. This led me to the role of Superintendent of Works at York Minster and the delivery of the ‘York Minster Revealed’ project. The industry is diverse and exciting, at the front end of technology and sympathetic to our heritage. Something for everyone.
How Would You Describe Your Career Over the Years?
Exciting, thrilling and challenging. I have been lucky to work with amazing teams of people and deliver incredible projects from homes, schools and hospitals to cathedral restoration. I now have the pleasure of telling people I look after Hadrian’s Wall.
Can You Tell Us About One of Your Greatest Achievements in Your Career?
Becoming President of the Chartered Institute of Building has to be one of my greatest highlights. CIOB as a global membership organisation with a Royal Charter, it has an incredible and positive impact on the construction industry; influencing government, industry and stakeholders around the world. In my presidential year I signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Suzhou Wudu Conservation Centre in China, spoke at Westminster on a number of occasions and hopefully inspired more female professionals to join the industry.
What Career Advice Do You Wish You Could Give to Your Younger Self?
Nurture your network and use it. People recruit people, be seen and share your views, make the changes that are needed in the industry. My dad says “the harder you work, the luckier you are” I feel very lucky to have enjoyed my career so far, looking forward to what the future may bring!
Trees! This year we have pledged to plant a tree for every candidate we recruit, what is your favourite type of tree & why?
I love any tree with blossom; cherry, apple, or any fruit tree. The blossom is a great boost after winter, showing the hopefulness of spring and the summer ahead, and then in autumn when the fruit is ready, it holds the prospect of cosy nights inside eating apple pie!