MGAC Impacts: Richard Hatfield on Construction Site Upbringings, Catching Trains, and Office Lunch Envy
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 Richard Hatfield, Associate at MGAC | RLF.
MGAC: Welcome to the Impact Blog, Richard!
Richard Hatfield (RH): Thank you!
MGAC: Tell us what you do here at MGAC | RLF.
RH: I’m an associate director. I manage the national framework for Sport England, and I also work with the education team delivering projects for the University of Birmingham. That’s my main role at the moment. In terms of what I do, some days, I’m a chartered surveyor. Some days I’m a social worker listening to and responding to problems. Overall, it’s looking after the budget for the client to ensure that their project is delivered to expectations, within budget.
MGAC: And when did you join the firm?
RH: It’s been a little over four years now.
MGAC: What brought you over?
RH: I’d been at my previous company for a few years, and was ready for a change. MGAC | RLF seemed like exactly what I was looking for: a family-sized business with good opportunities and interesting projects across sports, education, and other verticals. Those leading the firm also really seemed like a really good bunch of people. Both the people and projects drew me to the company.
MGAC: Makes sense! So did you always see yourself ending up in this industry? What did you want to be when you grew up?
RH: It was that long now that I can’t remember!
MGAC: Fair enough!
RH: Well, my father was a builder, and I always thought I would go down that route when I was a child. From an early age, I was working on construction sites with my father, just helping out, that kind of thing. He turned to me one day and said, “You don’t want to do what I’m doing; you want to be a quantity surveyor,” and I took his advice.
MGAC: Sounds like your current job would make sense to kid-you then!
RH: I’ve been doing this for about 26 years, and it’s just now making sense to me!
MGAC: Haha! What kinds of things are keeping you busy these days?
RH: I visit quite a few projects for Sport England around the country. I have conversations and meetings related to this work every single day. And there’s a big range: boxing, bowling, cricket, martial arts, even a dojo in someone’s back garden. They do a lot of work with disadvantaged people and children, so that’s really rewarding. Then, with the University of Birmingham, I’m working on the new Molecular Sciences building. It’s fairly large, 80 Million GBP. Quite an intense project that’s been a major focus for the last four years.
MGAC: Very cool, and a great mix of work. What do you hope your impact will be across all these projects?
RH: It’s pretty simple, really. As long as I am doing a good job, making sure the clients are happy, and getting repeat business, I’m satisfied! For me, knowing our clients are confident with what we do for them is endlessly rewarding. I always appreciate getting a thank you at the end of a project and hearing that someone appreciates you going the extra mile for them.
MGAC: What kinds of challenges have you been faced with?
RH: Apart from going through the recession a few years back, the challenge I’ve found that comes up the most is juggling private life and work. I have small children, and that causes your focus to shift. But you still want to deliver projects and do a good job at work. Fortunately, at MGAC | RLF, we all have a work team that helps us face challenges on the job. You don’t have a whole team to help you at home with new challenges that arise in family life!
MGAC: So true! What have you learned about achieving balance?
RH: It’s all about having an understanding employer in the background. The directors around you are the biggest part of that. I’m always trying to juggle work-life balance, and the last couple of years have been especially challenging with COVID. You’re trying to do your job while making sure your mind is sane, and your kids are happy. One of the biggest things that sets MGAC | RLF apart is that they are very understanding. The work-life balance is really good. Everyone works hard, but the directors around you all have families as well. I appreciate that, thanks to my job, I am able to have a good life outside of work, and I can give my kids a good life.
MGAC: That’s great. And how old are your kids?
RH: They are 8 and 3!
MGAC: Busy ages!
MGAC: Obviously, you have a busy day-to-day. What gives you energy each day?
RH: Starting the day with strong black coffee!! I also like to be up before my kids and have an hour to myself in the morning, which means getting up extra early. That’s my time, and I try to fit in some exercise as well. When my kids get up, I make sure they are happy, and I’m set for the day. Also, every day is different at our work, which helps!
MGAC: Absolutely. On the flip side, what’s your secret to winding down at the end of the day?
RH: Turning off everything to do with social media and with computers and, making sure my phone is out of the way. I focus on my children and my wife. We don’t talk about work; we try to just spend quality time and get outside for fresh air. My biggest hobby right now is barbecue.
MGAC: What are you grilling these days?
RH: A lot of fish. A lot of long and slow cooks—pulled pork, that kind of thing. Not just the usual burgers and sausages.
MGAC: Yum! Is there a book that’s made a significant impact on your life?
RH: There are a couple. The first is Lift Your Vibe: Eat, Breathe and Flow to Sleep Better, Find Peace and Live Your Best Life by Richie Norton. He’s a yoga instructor, and it’s all about the mind, health, diet—everything that helps you get through things, basically. The other one is Feel Better In 5 by Dr. Rangan Chatergee. It’s a really good, simple book, and his podcasts are also great. I like to listen to them every morning on the commute to sites and to the office.
MGAC: Love it! That leads us right into our first rapid-fire question. Are you ready?
MGAC: After your commute, what’s the first thing you do at work every day?
RH: Make black coffee! I do that before I even look at emails. From there, I have a general chit-chat with the team to see how they are, and then I fire up the computer.
MGAC: What’s the last thing you do before ending your workday?
RH: Check the train times. I have to be back home by a certain time to pick my kids up from childcare, so definitely check the train times!
MGAC: Do you have a go-to weekday lunch?
RH: Leftover barbeque food. A lot of people in the office are quite envious when I open my lunchbox!
MGAC: I bet! What’s the weirdest thing we might find in your work bag or desk?
RH: I don’t do weird! I like things to be straightforward and simple.
MGAC: What’s the most-used app on your phone?
RH: The Peloton app.
MGAC: How would you describe your job in five words or less?
RH: Challenging, budgets, interesting, varied, stressful.
MGAC: What’s something your colleagues don’t know about you?
RH: That I’m actually blind in one eye. And that I’m nearly 50!
MGAC: Big birthday ahead! And where do you see yourself in five years?
RH: Still doing what I’m doing. Having more family holidays. More adventure.