John joined the business in 1980 and has nearly 40 years' industry experience in a number of senior management roles across the Carey Group including civil engineering, demolition, residential and commercial development and resource management. In 2010 John founded Seneca Resource Recovery, acting as Managing Director until the promotion of Ken Doran in 2015. His drive and ambition played a key role in the development of Seneca, making the Carey Group the only UK construction company with an in-house materials recycling facility.
John has overall responsibility for ensuring the safe delivery of all Group operations across the UK, in addition to include the strategic development of each company, ensuring that they continue to operate profitably through sustainable growth and effective management of risks.
I’m really quite excited about the way that we’re trying to change the Group. We’re creating a better working culture, a more transparent environment and encouraging better communication between people. For my part I try to be as open and honest as I can about what we’re doing and trying to do and to be inclusive towards people at all levels of the Group. A big part of this is being approachable - it's important to me to say hello to people, but also to make sure that I know them as individuals.
The greatest challenge is being able to continue what we’re doing at the moment. Our Group has been through a tremendous amount of growth over the last few years and we’re expecting to grow further, but we also want to keep the environment and the original values that we’ve always had. I’ve seen a lot of companies grow however lose their values and that’s not what we want.
I think all our Group companies have been given the ingredients to grow and there’s no one that’s restricted in what they want to do. As a family we’re quite entrepreneurial; we’re open to listening to new ideas, we want to take things forward and we want to grow our people in the same way that we build our businesses. To me, that's the most important part of how we'll overcome the challenges of the future.
Embedding the principles of Behavioural Science is one of our top three objectives in 2017/18. It's a programme to help create effective environments for our teams to excel.
I think it creates openness and transparency – these are and always have been important factors for us – it allows people to voice ideas and thoughts. It challenges the way we think. It’s about positivity, not chastising people and promoting the good things that are happening. It’s reinforced my belief that we must to empower people to say what they think and feel – that’s what makes a huge difference to us.
A lot of people talk about growth. Whilst it’s a good thing – yes, we want to grow – success is really about sustainability. We went through a really bad recession between 2007 and 2010, but as a Group we came out of it as a bigger, stronger company that was better equipped to deal with things. When you look at some of our competitors that went through that same experience, they’re now really struggling with the way they fit into the market and booked huge losses and write-downs.
For me, part of this was because they weren’t as ready to change as we were. We looked at where we wanted to go and then planned how to get there. There was no concept of burying our heads in the sand.
A big part of our success has been attracting people, keeping them, growing them, but also changing the perceptions of our industry, changing the perception of what is normal, and showing that our culture really is quite unique. To me, that’s what success looks like.