After working in London for 14 years and San Francisco for two, Sam Darrington has moved his family to New Zealand to join the team at Prendos. We talked to Sam about how his previous experience applies to his new role, and where he sees the company heading.
After graduating from university in 2002, Sam began working as a Building Surveyor in his home town of London. Over the years he moved his way up to a senior position in one of the UK’s biggest professional consultancy practices – a global business with over 20,000 staff around the world.
“In my last role in London I managed a building surveying team, which grew from 11 to 28 people in the four years I was there. My greatest achievement was turning the team from one that relied on ‘inter trade’ (work referrals from other parts of the business) into a feeder of work to other departments. In fact, by the time I left, 90% of our work was coming in from external sources.”
“The key was developing long term relationships with some of the company’s primary clients. We didn’t just finish a job and move on, but took time to ask what else we could do for them. At the end of the day it came down to building trust. Clients gave us the opportunity to deliver what they required and we put everything into making sure we didn’t let them down. We became the ‘go to’ consultants for all of their building surveying and project management needs – from condition surveys to multi-million pound new build projects.”
Sam then took his business development and client account management skills to San Francisco where, staying with the same company, he looked after their West Coast commercial consultancy offering.
“I had the chance to work with some of the world’s leading organisations like Google, Tesla and Air BnB, which was really exciting. The key thing I learnt during that time was to always look at the bigger picture; to think strategically and not get lost in the detail. To succeed in this you need to be able to delegate and trust others to play their part.”
After having their second child, Sam and his wife decided to move to New Zealand to seek a lifestyle change for their growing family. When the opportunity at Prendos came up, Sam jumped at the chance.
“Prendos is such a well-respected company in the New Zealand property and construction industry and I saw some real opportunities to make a difference. Despite the smaller market size in this country, there are so many similarities between what I’ve done in my previous roles and what I can do at Prendos. Equally, there are many new challenges presented by the unique New Zealand environment, so I’m also learning a lot on the job!”
Sam joined the team in August 2018 as Business Development Manager for consultancy services as well as Building Surveying Team Leader. He is now applying his strategic thinking and experience in driving business growth and change.
“My primary role is to help grow the business and ensure it keeps heading in the right direction. I work closely with CEO Fiona Gavriel and Chairman Sean Marshall, and we’re in firm agreement that Prendos should continue to create unique value, to diversify our offering and really meet the changing needs of our clients.”
Sam believes that key to growth is promoting and building Prendos’s unique multi-disciplinary approach with current and potential clients.
“As a multi disciplinary practice our advantage is that we’re able to help clients with not just one part of their business, but with all of their property and construction requirements. It’s not about just completing one job, but taking a holistic view and finding solutions across all facets of a customer’s business. Our goal is to continue to build long term relationships and become the ‘go-to’ property and construction consultant for more Kiwi businesses.”
Prendos already offers a complete service for many long-term clients such as the Ministry of Education, Victoria University of Wellington and Metlifecare. The relationships built over the years with these organisations are ones based on trust, proven quality of work and the experience of the Prendos team.
“Our people come from all over the world, which brings not only a fantastic diversity to our business, but ensures we have the best of the best working for us. A lot of our chartered surveyors, for example, come from overseas where they’ve trained at the top educational facilities. It brings a real global expertise to the company that’s simply not available elsewhere.”
So, what does the future hold for Prendos? Sam says it’s all about continuing to provide unique value, quality and long-term relationships based on trust.
“We’re not trying to take over the world. What we want is sustained growth that comes from long-term client relationships spanning multiple sectors and disciplines. The fact is that we depend on our clients as much as they depend on us. If we continue to provide value and prove ourselves through the consistent quality of our work and expertise of our people, I see Prendos being a key player in the New Zealand market for a very long time to come.”