Three of our valued team members have become Executive Directors at the Group, demonstrating their commitment to drive forward the Group’s expertise in delivering quality sustainable developments for our clients.
As we celebrate our 20th anniversary this month, we’re grateful to Craig Rawlinson, Sandra Manson and Keith Fenwick for the positive impact they’ve had on the business so far, and we look forward to continuing to grow the business with them.
We’ve caught up with them to find out a little bit more about them and where they see the challenges that lie ahead.
Tell us a bit about your background and how long you’ve been at Pegasus
Craig Rawlinson, Bristol
I’m a chartered engineer and I’ve been in private practice since 1996. I’ve been part of the Pegasus family since 2019 and lead our transport planning discipline. I’ve spent my career advising on and supporting the highway and transport aspects of projects, in order to help make sure that our clients’ schemes will successfully pass planning hurdles and work on the ground. I work on projects of all shapes and sizes, including retail, employment, health, residential and urban extensions.
Sandra Manson, Newcastle
I started off my planning career in the public sector, working at local authority level, the Environment Agency and Sport England before moving into the private sector. I’ve been lucky to work across a wide spectrum of sectors, with major residential, commercial and mixed used projects forming the backbone of my work over the years.
I’ve also been at Pegasus since 2019 – it must have been a good year for new starters!
Keith Fenwick, Birmingham
My planning career spans 35 years, working predominantly within the residential sector supporting strategic land promotion through both locals plan and applications. Of the more unusual opportunities I’ve had, I was lucky to spend several years working as a contract planning inspector for An Bord Pleanála (the Irish Planning Inspectorate).
I joined Pegasus Group in 2018 to provide a lead presence in the company’s then fledgling Birmingham City Centre office. It was soon outgrown; the team now numbers 27 and is situated in a fantastic new office space close to Birmingham Cathedral.
What do you love about your job?
I still get a buzz from engaging with the public. Of course, there’s a role for digital engagement but nothing beats the face-to-face reality of addressing a group of worried, sometimes angry, neighbours of a proposed development and explaining how you’ve considered and addressed their concerns, sharing how new development can actually bring a raft of benefits which they may not have appreciated. It’s still a “hearts and minds” business we work in.
For me it’s the diversity of project work, addressing complex issues and getting to collaborate with so many other colleagues and specialists.
I completely agree. It’s the diversity and challenging nature of the work that makes planning such a fulfilling career. It’s an ever-changing landscape (no pun intended) that requires us, as professionals, to be continually learning and adapting our approach.
What’s the biggest challenge facing the built environment sector today?
The development sector has never experienced as many challenges as it is currently, and I expect it will do so for the foreseeable future. First and foremost, there are a lack of planners and other professions working in the sector. It’s impacting on how efficient and effective the planning system is, and this inevitably has a knock-on effect onto how quickly development proposals can come forward. We all, across the industry, need to engage in how we tackle that. Pegasus Group’s graduate programme demonstrates our commitment to bringing people on in their career.
Short term political time horizons are also a major issue we see playing out currently, with fundamental consequences for the UK economy. As a body of professionals it’s critical that we can demonstrate the flexibility to adapt as the government makes changes to various aspects of the planning system, in order to expertly advise our clients on this changing landscape.
I agree with Sandra. The transport planning industry can provide a rich learning environment and a hugely satisfying career, but both the public and private sectors are experiencing staff shortages.
We must proactively look to encourage new people to study STEM courses and be better at selling the benefits of working in the industry. In this respect, Pegasus Group is engaged in bringing people into the industry, encouraging training and supporting staff in obtaining their professional qualifications.
Recently, the growth in logistics and the need for well-located freight facilities has driven land values, and developer demand for planning consents close to the strategic road and rail network, along with ‘last mile’ opportunities.
This demand is driven by the presence of supporting infrastructure, and is very responsive to dynamic market pressure, so it’s rare that schemes are capable of being plan led. The challenge is to deliver sustainable, market-facing schemes, in locations which are necessarily often set away from an immediate urban context.
What are you most looking forward to in your new role as an Executive Director?
Whilst Pegasus is a large consultancy it retains the ethos and vibe of a smaller more intimate consultancy. It empowers people to grow and thrive, reflecting our wide-ranging skills and strengths and it fundamentally recognises the importance of every single individual in the business making it the success it is. That’s why I’m very much looking forward to being part of that continued business growth journey as an Executive Director to ensure we continue to be the very best we can be for all.
In the short term my focus will be on continuing to embed the Pegasus Newcastle team as a major player in the development sector in the North East and beyond. In parallel I want to continue to promote our approach which sets Pegasus apart from the other market players by building upon our brand as best in the business. As we say in the Pegasus family: #ExpertlyDone. I firmly believe we deliver on that. As part of the Executive team I will be striving to ensure that remains as one of the key drivers throughout the business.
The invitation to join the Executive Board provides me with an opportunity to work with a group of the most dynamic people I’ve known in my career, and to help shape and drive the future growth of a business that has an unrivalled reputation for delivery, in every aspect of the consultancy field. I’d say that’s pretty exciting.
Pegasus has great staff, a can-do attitude and a customer-friendly approach and I think these attributes, along with its clear vision for the future, are why it continues to demonstrate sustainable growth. I’m looking forward to contributing to the company’s aspirations for growth and the development of the staff.