Matt Mills officially became a director of PSE Associates in June 2017 and, alongside, Paul Collins, has been given the mantle of driving the company forward.
He first joined PSE Associates in 2006, working within the restaurants team, and then developing new self-storage centres for Safestore in many locations around the country.
In 2009, Matt was given a fantastic opportunity that saw him leave to take up a role at Gatwick Airport as a Senior Quantity Surveyor, taking charge over nearly three years of projects including new security lanes and the transit train between the two terminals.
However, in 2011, he received a call out of the blue from Colin Rhodes at PSE Associates telling him the company had won the contract to work with Premier Inn on its extension projects. The firm needed somebody to drive this contract and had set their sights on Matt.
“While I learnt a lot from my role at Gatwick, I was happy that there was an opportunity to re-join PSE Associates, as I had really missed the firm, the work, and the people,” says Matt.
At the start, the project covered just the south of England, but this grew to the whole country and, at one point, PSE Associates was managing a project in Cornwall and one in Inverness. Today, the work has been split again and PSE Associates’ main responsibility is the south of England. It is a big project to manage with Premier Inn extensions being typically between 8 and 20 rooms back in 2011 and now anything up to 65 rooms, including an 82-bed new hotel. In a typical year, PSE Associates helps to deliver up to 800 new rooms for Premier Inn.
Matt originally gained qualifications in Quantity Surveying but found himself doing a variety of roles covering anything from CAD design work to space planning before concentrating on surveying with construction companies. Before joining PSE Associates the first time around, he was working in Glasgow with several contractors, extensively on projects in the city centre.
Today his role at PSE Associates is still largely concerned with overseeing the Premier Inn programme and the team looking after that contract within the firm.
What makes this work different from traditional Quantity Surveying and Project Management is that we are working with fast paced projects and working with excellent design teams that enable us to accurately programme and cost manage a high number of projects throughout the course of the year.
“This is exciting, as we help to bring some great schemes to life – but challenging too,” says Matthew. “We also have to move quickly, as many of these are very fast track projects. If they are hotel extensions – then the building work normally has to be completed fairly quickly to minimise downtime and disruption to the existing hotel. It’s a balancing act and we often have to think on our feet.”
Recently, Matt has also taken on more additional management responsibility at PSE Associates.
“It’s about listening and realising there is more than one way to manage people,” says Matt. “I’ve discovered that – in common with dealing with clients – management is about relationship building. If you do that properly, then you get the best out of everyone. We’ve got a great team here and some really talented people coming through, so it’s good to be involved in their development.”
Matt loves working in Brighton.
“It’s fantastic here – with everything on our doorstep,” he says. “Being situated right next-door to the railway station is great for meetings in London. And, when clients come to us, there are many exciting places to show them and take them for lunch.”
Matt lives in Burgess Hill with his wife Amanda, a nurse, and three children aged from five through to 13. A keen cyclist who rides to work when he can – often covering the journey quicker than he could by car.
Looking ahead, Matthew says that there’s a strategic plan in place to continuing growing PSE Associates over the next five years, with goals to increase its client base, while increasing the firm’s exposure to more developers and other brands.
“We’d like to diversify a little, working with more pubs, while also increasing the number of concessions and retail names we work with,” says Matthew. “The leisure sector is still booming but it’s changing. Clients are maximising their property usage and changing how they make property work better for them. These are exciting times.”
PSE Associates provides traditional professional Quantity Surveying and Project Management services to many brand leaders in the leisure, retail and commercial sectors.