As the final restrictions are lifted and businesses start to prepare for a future beyond covid, C80 Group throws a spotlight on one of the key figures in our post-pandemic plans – Group Business Development Manager, Caroline Ryde.
Changing jobs and starting at another company often involves an initial period of acclimatisation to new surroundings. Caroline Ryde, Group Business Development Manager at C80 Group, had to navigate that period in the most challenging of circumstances, having joined us on the cusp of the first national lockdown in March 2020. Those early months of the pandemic are etched in everyone’s memory as a time of unprecedented anxiety, uncertainty and tragedy for communities and businesses throughout the world.
Caroline looked back at her experience:
“It’s a bit of an understatement to say that last year was a strange time! In March 2020, just before I was due to start at C80 Group, I was on holiday with my family in the Dominican Republic. Our holiday had to be cut short because of the unfolding crisis. When I set off to return home, with all the uncertainty of the pandemic I started to wonder about what was going to happen to my job situation at C80 Group, but the management were very reassuring. They got in touch straight away to check that we managed to get home safely. They were keen to emphasise that nothing had changed and that I was still a big part of their plans. It was certainly the most difficult start I’ve had to any job!”
Caroline’s ability to adapt and add value to the business amid global turmoil was an early sign of the strengths that make her such a valuable member of our team. With impressive equanimity, Caroline helped us to sustain growth at a time when construction, like every industry, was dealing with unprecedented disruption. Getting up to speed at the height of a worldwide health crisis was certainly not what Caroline envisaged when she applied to take up a role at C80 Group, but she reflects on that time as a challenge which has brought the best out of everyone at the company.
“C80 Group has very ambitious goals for expansion, but we had to reassess and reset our immediate plans when most of the country shut down. However, during that period we all pulled together and maintained very solid growth as construction, unlike some other sectors, was able to keep going during 2020. I admire the way my colleagues stepped up to help keep the Group on a very strong footing as we emerge from the pandemic with more positive times ahead.”
“From a business development perspective, the brakes are now off and we can accelerate our plans to drive growth in a wide range of established and new markets. We expanded our range of services in 2020 with the acquisition of Stewarts, a Midlands-based specialist in building services engineering. Stewarts’ expertise in engineering solutions for the built environment can now be harnessed in collaboration with the other consultancy services in C80 Group, including Building Regulations and environmental performance, energy assessment, BREEAM, air tightness, sound testing, environmental noise and thermal modelling. It means that we can offer clients an even wider portfolio of expertise and tender for projects as a multi-disciplinary service, offering enhanced value and efficiency.
“The feedback we’ve been getting from prospective clients is extremely encouraging. I recently spoke to one company which was amazed to find a consultancy able to provide expertise in three areas – Building Compliance, surveying and M &E. He told us that he’s used to having to make three different calls to three different companies to source all of those services.”
Caroline is one of an increasing number of women making an impact in a construction sector that has often been perceived as male-dominated. She brings superb credentials to C80 Group, including a very successful six years working at specialists in energy assessment and Building Regulations. Caroline’s experience in construction has led her to conclude that there is ample space for women to join and succeed in our industry.
“When I started out in construction nine years ago, I was the only woman in a sales team of eight. By the time I left that company, seven out of the eight were female. I used to visit construction sites and men would be surprised at the amount of technical knowledge I had. That’s no longer the case and I’m also seeing a lot more females providing trades such as plumbing and joinery. Women are slowly taking over the sector!
“It has become an industry where women have more opportunities to thrive and have a huge impact. C80 Group is evidence of that – we have many women at all levels of the organisation driving our success, from marketing to operations and technical.”
Caroline is looking forward to the opportunities ahead, but she’s also enjoying the simple pleasure of meeting people face-to-face again. Caroline said:
“When I started out at C80 Group, I was a total Zoom novice, but it’s become second nature with all the remote meetings I’ve had over the past 16 months. I’ve enjoyed communicating on Zoom, but I’ve also missed meeting people in person. Thankfully, I’ve been able to travel to various parts of the country in recent months and the clients I meet have been telling me that they’ve missed having visitors to the office!”
Caroline will continue to travel up and down the country in the coming years. If you’re a business in construction that needs multi-disciplinary expertise, Caroline would be delighted to chat!