Inside ThirdWay: Design Management
Our third contributor to the ‘Inside ThirdWay’ series, is Rob Goulder, Group Design Director....
"I joined ThirdWay in 2014 when there were just 14 people in the company.
My role as Design Manager was my first managerial role and a big step for me in my career. I had aspirations to improve as a designer and embark on the challenge of managing a team but I could not have imagined how both my role and the company would grow in such a relatively short amount of time.
Four years down the line and the company now has 160 staff. My team alone is bigger than the whole company was when I started here, and ThirdWay is no longer just a design and build company but also an expert in real estate, architecture, traditional procurement, furniture and property technology.
Now, as the Group Design Director for Interiors, I manage all facets of the design team, including pitch, technical and visualisation divisions. It’s my responsibility to ensure the smooth running of all interiors schemes and I act as the go-between on any collaboration projects between ThirdWay Interiors and ThirdWay Architecture.
On a day to day basis, that means a lot of meetings with colleagues and clients to ensure projects are going to plan and everyone is happy. I have taken a step back from designing and instead play a more strategic role, leading and overseeing projects and the increasingly growing team.
No day is ever the same, and nothing is more enjoyable than seeing the designers thrive and succeed as a collective but also as individuals. I enjoy finding different ways to motivate and inspire the team, to keep us being as creative and innovative as possible. The quantity and quality of the work they produce is amazing!
The work ethic of everyone at ThirdWay is on another level. It’s my favourite thing about the company. The team culture inspires an extraordinarily collaborative mentality and I think our greatest achievement as a company is maintaining that, despite the business’ rapid growth. ThirdWay still feels very much like a family.
Three things this job has taught me?
- Firstly, how to push for the extra 5% on everything we do and leave nothing on the table.
- Second, not to give up on the pursuit of perfection
- And third, the evolving world of leading a team.
I had led project teams in the past, but the management of a whole team was the next step I was after and I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. It’s taken hard work and has been a steep learning curve but I’ve learnt so much and had the full support of the owners and the rest of the management team. I’m proud of how I’ve grown organically as a manager.
There are a couple of things that stand out to me as highlights of the past few years:
- Project wise, The Aircraft factory is one of my favourite jobs. It was pivotal for me as a designer and for the company in working on large scale projects. We took the whole of ThirdWay to see it when we had completed it and it remains one of my proudest moments.
- Also, going to the Sunday Times Awards and ranking second in the Top 100 Best Companies to Work For was equally as memorable. To this day we cannot remember who came first because we were all going so ballistic having been announced at second place!
The last four years has had its challenges and it’s been hard work, but it’s also been incredible fun. One thing’s for sure, you can’t stand still for long in this company; there is always another bigger and better challenge to tackle. I’m excited for what is still to come."