Chairman John Marshall, Advisory Board Member David Douglass and future Board Member and Bradley Hall Financial Director, Geoff Davis, discuss all things Bradley Hall.
1. How would you describe the Bradley Hall Advisory Board and its purpose?
JM: A small group who support and challenge the senior management team, augmenting their knowledge, experience and contacts to assist the future development of Bradley Hall.
GD: It also opens the door to more independent views which will provide a positive impact on general strategy and specific projects and opportunities.
DD:To summarise, we will be bringing our collective experience to bear in order to support the Senior Management Team in driving the business forward.
2. What are your thoughts on the current North East economy?
JM: In two words, remarkably resilient. Getting a favourable outcome to the Brexit negotiations will be critical to the future here though and the current uncertainty is taking its toll in some sectors.
DD: I would say it’s been difficult – the residential property market has been impacted by economic uncertainty caused by such matters as Brexit and other trade wars which are well beyond the control of people in our business.
GD: I am cautiously optimistic – but, of course, the property market is always underpinned by the success of the economy. Although Bradley Hall is continuing to thrive and grow, these external elements are not ignored and are carefully considered in our business plans, I think that is why the firm has continued to thrive.
3. Can we expand on how this impacts the local commercial and residential property market?
DD: In short, it promotes uncertainty. We never quite know what is around the corner.
JM:I agree. This uncertainty can, and has, impacted the market in both commercial and residential sectors. There is still such a shortage of ‘ready-to-move-into’ new homes, however the region seems to be tackling that by continuing to come forward with exciting developments, and Bradley Hall is delighted to be involved with many of these. It is also great to see the beginning of ‘on spec’ building again in the commercial property market.
GD:In fairness the North East property market hasn’t fared badly. Activity across residential and commercial markets is continuing. Exciting developments and investment across the region are happening and the region is growing its presence as an attractive place to live and work.
4.What do you predict for the future of Bradley Hall?
JM: With the combination of a strong, local team and great and active clients, I see Bradley Hall underlining its position as a regional heavyweight and being able to push beyond the region for work in a targeted way.
GD: The Bradley Hall brand has become well known and its reach continues to grow across the North East and further afield, with the opening of new offices, and presence in our core services. We continue to look for new opportunities and expect our growth to continue.
DD: Additionally, what is presented in the current economic climate is the opportunity to increase market share by continuing the recruitment of first-rate people, as evidenced by Bradley Hall’s recent series of senior appointments.
5. What do you think makes the firm stand out from its peers?
JM: Professional services of any kind is all about the people. What I think distinguishes the firm is the fact we have a young, hungry and dynamic team and real strength across our service lines. This translates into a strong regional player which can compete head-to-head with the much larger national practices
GD: Well, we are certainly more visible than we had been a few years back. Our eagerness to take on new challenges and take advantage of opportunities as they have arisen have taken us this far. To add to John’s comments about the team – we believe we have the quality within our team to continue this growth and we are not slow to take advantage when new prospects come along.
DD: I concur that the team most definitely underpins the firm’s presence in the region. Its senior management’s ability to make important and responsive decisions quickly and its enthusiasm and dynamic approach.
6.You each have impressive careers – what has been your professional highlight?
JM: As Chair, I am going to allow myself two. My time at what is now Womble Bond Dickinson and the role I played in its transformation, and in my role as Regional Chair of the Prince’s Trust Development Committee, getting our new Newcastle Centre from concept to opening.
GD: Personally, I like to hover under the radar, using my skills to help others succeed. I’d like to think that my appointment to the Advisory Board is another step on a fulfilling and enjoyable journey.
DD: Very modest, Geoff! My professional highlight would be establishing myself as one of the ‘go to’ lawyers in the North East for national and regional housebuilders and residential developers. I was involved in several significant developments including Smiths Dock, Waldridge, Ingleby Barwick and Newcastle Great Park – amounting to some 10,000 homes – and the Sage site purchase in Gosforth. I would also say a highlight would be playing a part in the emergence of Ward Hadaway, and the significant mergers and premises move to its current Quayside offices that helped the business grow from two small firms with 45 staff to its current size and reputation.