Declan McGeeney has an enthusiasm and passion for Laing O’Rourke that is infectious. Coming back to the UK in the spring of 2014 he had a number of challenges and priorities to meet. As a key member of the leadership team, there were two aims - realise the strategic vision, but also to help the company complete certain legacy projects. His number one priority as the leader of Expanded? “This was ensuring the Expanded Structures and Geotech business was fulfilling its true potential in the marketplace,” says Declan.
Expanded Structures is the UK’s leader in reinforced concrete basement, substructure and superstructure frame construction, with services that include infrastructure, groundworks, substructures, superstructures and specialist engineering. The key focus is on delivering projects in a number of different sectors, whether it’s the Westgate Oxford retail development or Dumfries and Galloway Hospital, it’s all part of Laing O’Rourke’s integrated delivery model. In addition, 40% of Expanded’s work is from external clients across the length and breadth of the UK.
Commitment to people
Declan is committed to developing the talent and skills of Expanded’s team, which is fundamental to their chances of success in the future. Retaining people and giving them a platform to deliver at their best is key. “For me, promoting from within is important – giving people the kind of opportunities I’ve had.”
Directly employing all of its labour, Expanded places a sharp focus on training, to not only help the team provide certainty of delivery for clients, but, as importantly, create longevity of employment and provide a supply of talent to the wider business.
A key principle from Declan is, ‘don’t ask anybody to do something that you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself’. “I’m a great believer in leading from the front – inclusive leadership is where everybody feels like they’re part of the team, and this goes for the whole of the Laing O’Rourke business, not just Expanded.”
The drive to embed a one-team culture is all done with a sharp focus on the benefits for delivery on the many construction and infrastructure projects. A commitment from all of the leadership team for greater openness and transparency is not only leading to better management information, but also clearer lines of sight to understand project performance on a weekly basis.
Plan for the next two years
So where next? “We still want to push the boundaries of how we go to work, and continue to improve and maintain our commitment to stakeholders,” he says. “We need to continue making progress with our unique mix of excellence in engineering, digital design, offsite manufacture and direct delivery.”
We know we can’t be complacent – there’s still work to be done. But if we continue driving productivity to the next level, increase our focus on innovation, quality, and health and safety, we know there isn’t anyone else in the industry who can match our offer.”