Five minutes with… Glen Knox

Glen Knox is a project manager, based at the water treatment works at Chickenhall Lane in Eastleigh in Hampshire. He’s been working for Cappagh Browne for four months and spends his time working across Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and West Sussex.

What does your role at Cappagh Browne involve?

I manage and look after multiple projects for Cappagh Browne, on behalf of Southern Water. That means overseeing all aspects and elements of our projects –basically managing sites from conception to completion. That includes carrying out scoping and pricing work, overseeing the design of the project, carrying out risk assessments, liaising with Southern Water and making sure everything runs smoothly on site. I also look after all of our employees and contractors – that could be anything from six people on one site to 50 on another.   

What was your first ever job?

I was a bricklayer. I got into that when I was young working with a building company called SJ Cox. The owner, Jack, was a former naval petty officer and was brilliant – he paid for all my training and I learned so much from him. He died six months before I finished my HND but he left money in his will for me to continue doing it. I worked for him from 16 until I was 29. 

How did you get involved in this industry?

Once I’d passed my HND, I went on to do a BTEC in engineering. I saw a job ad in Construction News that I applied for and started out as a sub-agent. I then worked on massive construction jobs refurbishing houses and flats, got promoted after a year to a site agent, then, a few years later I became site manager. I also worked for Barhale as a senior project manager and Kier Clancy before I joined Cappagh Browne. 

What do you like most about your job?

I love solving construction problems. I’ve got a lot of experience but, like with any job, you won’t know everything so I make sure everyone on site works together, we all learn from each other, and it’s a real team effort. At the moment I’ve got a graduate assistant project manager who’s got a Masters, and while she knows lots, I’m showing her how to do things on site – but in turn, I’m learning new things from her. I’m 63 now and I like that Cappagh Browne has a lot of younger people, and I can impart my knowledge onto them for them to learn. I like the fresh approach our company has to bringing younger people into the industry and training them up.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in the water industry?

Get as much training as you can and that will help you go a long way in this industry. I’d also say that you should really research what the roles are and if you see something you like, really look at the job description, find out more about it, see if you fit the criteria – and even if you don’t have everything that they’re asking for, go for it anyway, as you might get it, learn on the job and get progression. Analyse yourself and what they want, but don’t hold yourself back. Anyone who says they know everything is telling porky pies! 

Can you share an interesting fact about yourself? 

I worked in Thailand for seven years and I loved it. It’s also where my wife is from.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?

I build racing cars and off-road motorbikes. I used to drive semi-pro racing cars but I had a huge racing crash in 1999 so I can’t race anymore. I’ve got a family garage and have loads of different models of bikes and cars, that have been in all sorts of races.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given during your career?

Walk – don’t run! I was always told don’t run into things headfirst – take a breath, stand back and try to look at your problems before you try to solve them. There’s the phrase ‘measure twice, cut once’ and that’s so true.  However, one of the biggest things I remember from when I was starting out is to admit to your mistakes and then you can work out how to manage them.

What do you consider your biggest success so far?  

I built a live firing camp for the Ministry of Defence on Salisbury Plain about ten years ago, and had to do it while there was live firing practice going on around us!

Where is your favourite place in the world?

I love Thailand, two places in particular – Pattaya City, where my friends have a guest house, and the town where my wife and I got married.