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MGAC Impacts: Alex Pearce on Charting a Path, the People that Make a Project, and Keeping Busy in Brighton


MGAC Impacts: Alex Pearce sits on a log, facing away from the camera and overlooking a mountain range.
Alex Pearce looks out over mountains in Interlaken, Switzerland. The photo was taken during an interrailing trip across Europe in the summer of 2019.

The Impact Blog is a spotlight series that highlights and celebrates the diverse employees that make MGAC tick. Beyond their day-to-day schedules, we want to know how they have a greater impact on their colleagues, their company, and the communities in which they live and work. We want to know what makes them get out of bed in the morning, what led them to their current role, and what they hope their lasting impact will be.

Today, we get to know Alex Pearce, an Assistant Project Manager at MGAC.

MGAC: Hi, Alex! Welcome to the Impact Blog!

Alex Pearce (AP): Thanks!

MGAC: Tell us about your role here at MGAC.

AP: I’m an Assistant Project Manager in the Brighton office. That basically means: managing construction projects from design to completion.

MGAC: And what led you to this role?

AP: I was previously working onsite as a quantity surveyor and was keen to get back to work on the client side. I’d heard good things about MGAC from friends in the industry, so I applied for the role. That was almost two years ago now! 

MGAC: How did you make your way into the industry?

AP: I’ve got family in the industry, so I always knew I wanted to go into construction. That led me to the University of Brighton to study building surveying. It was through my education and early career that I found the right fit with project management.

MGAC: So, it sounds like kid-you would be pretty happy with where you’ve landed? 

AP: It’s not really something I’ve thought about, but yes, I think he’d be quite pleased!

MGAC: What ultimately clicked for you with project management?

AP: With project management, you’re involved in the whole project from design to completion. You’re also looking at many factors: costs, time, and quality. So, you have a big-picture view, but at the same time, there are tons of smaller tasks throughout the process that you get to work on, which keeps things interesting and varied. And then there’s a social element to it, which I’ve really liked. That’s something I didn’t get to experience as much before with my prior work.

MGAC: Speaking of projects, what’s keeping you busy these days?

AP: I’m currently managing three projects. One is an extension and landscaping scheme at a local school. Another is an extension and internal refurbishment at a college. And the third is an internal refurbishment and roof replacement of a fire-damaged motor vehicle workshop.

MGAC: In addition to those you are actively managing, do you operate in a support role to other projects?

AP: Yes, I’m also assisting some of the senior project managers on a few larger projects. One of them, funnily enough, is for the University of Brighton, where I got my degree! Antoher project I’m assisting with is developing two youth centres for underprivileged kids. I’m also assisting on a scheme that involves five supported living facilities which are designed to help severely disabled individuals live as independently as possible.

MGAC: Wow, a lot of really interesting projects! Is it challenging juggling so many at the same time?

AP: It can be! The larger schemes are particularly challenging around key dates and deadlines.

MGAC: How have you met that challenge?

AP: The best way I’ve found to progress is diving right in and taking on as much responsibility as you can handle.

MGAC: In other words, trial by fire?

AP: Sort of, yeah!

MGAC: So much of the work you’re doing here at MGAC is delivering positive impacts in the local community. What at MGAC has made an impact on you?

AP: I have really benefited from the fact that MGAC has given me enough freedom and responsibility to learn and improve within my role, while also having the support structure of the Brighton office team around me so I can ask them questions if I need advice.

MGAC: That’s great. What have you found most rewarding about your role?

AP: I’d say, looking back on the last two years and seeing just how much I’ve learned in so little time.

MGAC: What do you hope your lasting impact at MGAC will be?

AP: Building good relationships with new and existing clients and, as a result, helping secure more work for the team.

MGAC: Obviously, every workday is different for you, but how do you start your day off on the right foot?

AP: I start every day with a cold shower. It might not be pleasant, but it’s worthwhile!

MGAC: That’s one way to wake up! Do you have a go-to way to wind down at the end of the day?

AP: Exercise—lifting weights at the gym. It’s always a good stress reliever.

MGAC: Definitely. Do you have a favorite book that you draw inspiration from? 

AP: 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson. It spans a whole range of different topics. It talks about psychology, philosophy, evolutionary biology… It is a sort of self-help book that encapsulates all those things at once.

MGAC: Do you have a favourite quote that inspires you?    

AP: “Sacrifice the present for the future.”

MGAC: Good one. Now, are you ready for our rapid-fire questions?

AP: Fire away!

MGAC: You’re starting your workday. What’s the first thing you do?   

AP: Open my laptop, go through emails. Have a bacon and sausage sandwich and strong coffee.

MGAC: And the last thing?   

AP: Finish up the task at hand and say farewell to the team.

MGAC: If we looked at your to-do list right now, what would we find at the top?

AP: Draft an agenda for a meeting on one of my projects.

MGAC: What’s your go-to weekday lunch? 

AP: If I’m in the office, I’ll usually get a chicken, broccoli, and almond salad with brown rice, protein shake, and frozen yogurt from the Tesco down the road.

MGAC: What’s the most-used app on your phone? 

AP: YouTube. I enjoy learning new things through podcasts and lectures.

MGAC: How would you describe your job in five words or less?

AP: Problem solving and planning ahead.

MGAC: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

AP: There’s risk in everything you do and everything you don’t do. You don’t get to not take a risk.

MGAC: What’s an industry trend you love right now?

AP: Flexible working arrangements. 

MGAC: What’s your dream project?

AP: One with a reliable and proactive team of consultants, a decisive client, and a competent and organized contractor. It’s really the people who make the project!

MGAC: What are you known for in the office?

AP: From a professional standpoint, my programming skills. From a personal one, probably my dress sense and love of food!

MGAC: What’s something your colleagues don’t know about you?

AP: My keen interest in psychology, philosophy, and economics. I really enjoy watching YouTube videos and reading books on these subjects!

MGAC: Where might we find you when you’re not at work?

AP: At the gym, in a sauna, tuning into podcasts, or meeting friends to grab beers or to go for a round of golf.

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