When Ali Sims, Senior Cost Manager at Gardiner and Theobald, joined the firm as an intern five years ago, she was determined to use all of the resources available to her to make her way through the ranks. With encouragement and guidance from G&T’s leadership, she soon found herself entering into the RICS program as part of its U.S. branch and becoming a proud qualified member.
“I’d first heard about RICS through their website, but it was really G&T who introduced us to the organization itself,” she explained. “They really go out of their way to encourage employees on the cost side of things to understand what RICS is, take the course and become qualified members.”
Ali’s dedication to mastering her craft and the training RICS provides proved to be a winning combination. Over the past few years, as the real estate and construction landscapes faced unique and unprecedented challenges, Ali has found herself referring back often to the lessons learned through RICS in order to remain resourceful and proficient.
“The course itself was very technical-based, and I personally feel as though it’s something that should be given to everyone in our industry,” Ali said. “RICS helped me gain a deeper understanding of the technical side of construction, and when working with clients I’ve frequently been told that our level of focus and understanding is clearly noticeable when compared to others who have not taken the program. Completing the program simply helps us bring different ways of thinking to the table that others may not have considered.”
Similar to how Ali was encouraged to become a qualified RICS member, her decision to do so has inspired others to do the same. Maddi Holder, a G&T Cost Manager, is a shining example of this. Maddi joined the firm just over three years ago and started with RICS shortly afterwards.
“I’m so grateful that G&T pushes our entry level employees to go through this associate program because it results in them gaining a better understanding of construction much more quickly,” Maddi explained. “In the U.S., many students want to go down this career path, but we simply don’t have the courses or degrees that offer the same things that people in the UK get to study. The fact that we’re able to look at how the UK does things and translate that here helps us run successful projects.”
For Maddi, this ability to take adapt practices from other parts of the world is key to keeping up with new developments. Over the past two years in particular, with supply chain disruptions and frequently changing regulations, RICS’s training has helped Maddi stay prepared and elevate the services G&T is able to provide.
“It feels like things are changing so quickly and on an everyday basis,” she said. “One of the ways my team is focused on staying on top is consistently reaching out to our contacts in the industry, often months ahead of time to ensure that we aren’t caught off guard. This strategy is something that RICS has helped make possible; by granting us a higher level of understanding in the industry and how to navigate it from a business and cost analysis perspective, RICS has helped provide information in the form of news updates and articles that lets us know that we can always rely on them as a resource even after the course is over.”
As young female professionals in the construction industry, Ali and Maddi are also both aware of the example they are setting for other prospective members of the industry. In this regard, they are also grateful for the opportunities that RICS has presented.
“Maddi and I are both quite young, and I think that being able to go through that program and have RICS support us is such a wonderful service for people like us,” Ali said. “The seminars, meet and greets and tours were great ways to make new connections in the industry, and I think that both RICS and G&T being such welcoming environments for younger people is tremendously beneficial to people our age who are being introduced to the construction industry. We’re both so proud that people are now able to use us as a platform and find out more about the benefits of the RICS program and what it means to be part of that community.”