David Fryer is the Managing Director of DFA Contract Services. He took some time out to talk to us about how seeing younger managers with great attitudes makes him feel positive about his industry, and why speed-reading helps him keep updated with what's happening in the wider construction industry.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
More by luck than choice and I'm quite surprised to be sitting anywhere today. When I was younger, my expectations were to be in a more horizontal state.
Instead, I'm much fitter and healthier than I was twenty years ago. Having been in top positions, I'm now happy to be a consultant and have time to research answers, delivering something with meaning rather than snap decisions, gambling on it being the right answer. But in looking back, regardless of being right or wrong, things got done.
What kind of work does your role involve?
I sit in an office overlooking the Golan Heights and the Syrian mountains with a sliding door leading to a massive balcony. I'm surrounded by mountains of paperwork created by my predecessors and thank the heavens that I have chosen to go paperless with one computer and three screens.
Generally, I assist the Project Director with contractual and practical advice on how to control Contractors and write letters being careful not to implicate the wrong people and activate the right people without incurring extra cost.
What gets you excited about your industry?
Probably excited is not a state I often get into but what cheers me up is seeing younger managers with positive attitudes, getting a job done, and motivating others.
I've been on teams building some of the most iconic buildings in the world and none of them match up to switching on a clean water supply in deprived areas of the world or delivering a new school in an underprivileged town.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Brief UP, Brief DOWN, Brief the TEAM, Brief your Client, Brief your boss, Repeat the Brief, and make sure your people Brief their people!
What, or who inspires you?
All of my Juniors, Trainees, and Assistants who have gone on to better things and achieved a great deal.
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in the industry?
This can really be a problem. There is so much free stuff out there. The trick is to choose what is useful and what isn't.
You can pay a small fortune for a course and come out no better off. Speed-reading is a great benefit as is the delete button on your computer. Seek out keywords and listen to recommendations.
What was the most challenging project or assignment you've worked on?
In the Construction Industry, most projects have their challenges and most of the challenges come from people who shout and bully but don't listen. I've actually walked out of interviews when the person interviewing seems troublesome.
It's not the project that's challenging, it's the people running them. It would be unfair of me to mention a project as they had many good people on them as well as a Mr. Nasty.
If you could start your life again, what would you do differently?
Well, it would be different. As a lad, I left school with only vague ideas and low expectations.
I was more interested in being a bass player in a rock band but I was an apprentice design engineer, a carpenter, and a labourer in a fan-making factory until my Dad talked some sense into me and I found a job as an Assistant Quantity Surveyor. If I could start again, absolutely no doubt - I'd be a bass player in a rock band.
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
Buy me and my wife a small place in a coastal town in Spain, give something to my children and grandchildren, put one million in the bank and buy new drinking water supply schemes for tribal villages in Africa.
How do you switch off after a day at work?
Playing bass in a rock band.
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
That they would listen to me!
How should people connect with you?
You can connect with me via linkedin.com/in/david-fryer-67b57522 or my