What Was The Score Monday Night Football Last Night Andrew Mason: Property Developer With An Ethical Approach

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Andrew Mason: Property Developer With An Ethical Approach

What or whose was the spirit that bewitched Andrew Mason one dark and dreary night when he broke through the barrier around three half-derelict mills? It might sound like some kind of Edgar Allen Poe mystery, but the idea that perhaps Henry Mason, who built Victoria Mills near Shipley in West Yorkshire in the mid-19th century, somehow influenced the restoration project.

That Andrew Mason, managing director of Newmason Properties, should have taken his wife’s name when he married in 1993 can’t help but add to that sense of positive fatalism. Henry Mason, Andrew Mason, Newmason and perhaps a stonemason appear to have conspired in a unique £80m investment project.

Henry Mason built his textile mills during the Victorian era when the sector was thriving. Exemplary employer, Sir Titus Salt, has already established his unique Saltire Village nearby with his innovative approach to providing a safe, caring and positive environment for mill workers. Titus Salt built houses and streets named after his eleven children. He provided his workers with a library, bathrooms, reading rooms, schools, a church and a mechanical institute on the basis that a good working environment was good not only for individuals but also for good business practice.

His influence on the textile industry was enormous and lives on in Newmason’s approach to the project that Andrew Mason started just four years ago. “I am flattered by the comparison. I’m purring like a cheshire cat here because this construction job is wonderful. It is incredibly rewarding to start with a plan and an idea and actually make it happen. Titus Salt apparently had a mission in Saltire and our mission now are similar in many ways.

“My aunt Mary worked at Victoria Mills and my father remembers it all well. He worked as a carpenter and remembers swimming in the canal here; walked 14 miles to earn three and sixpence, for example. Yes, fashions change and his recollection of being commissioned to turn all six of the Saltire’s flush panel doors which have now been restored to their original condition is a good example of how fashions change and come full circle.”

But the property lives on and these wonderful, sturdy mills with huge windows and high vaulted ceilings are being restored and preserved for future generations. They will not cross alpaca or cotton, but instead will be places of residence for new generations in a gentle environment of living history.

“People’s needs and demands change over time. From providing bathrooms and reading rooms, we moved to offering a tennis court, a sauna and a gym, a panini bar, and I think it’s a wonderful environment, but we do it with an awareness of what we have here.”

The site, which operated a mill until the 1990s, covers five and a half hectares within the World Heritage Site’s buffer zone. The buildings themselves were listed and there was no tearing down of the old interiors. Instead, modern planning requirements for fire protection and health and safety are integrated without compromising tradition. The internal stone stairs remain; steel support columns still hold up the building and the new roofs come with a 150-year warranty that puts the whole project into perspective.

“I have two children, aged nine and 11, and I want them to be able to stand on this site and be able to say ‘Dad did this.’ We are passionate about what we do. We are absolutely committed to providing the best quality in every way here, and that includes using real materials such as oak and stone and craftsmen who take pride in their work.”

Indeed, Andrew Mason’s relationships with his staff reflect a set of values ​​that Titus Salt would have felt quite comfortable with. “Environment is everything.” If people are happy at work, as I am, then they will be proud to use their skills and raise their game to the best of their ability. It’s about creating the right environment where people can thrive. they want people to feel happy to come to work.”

That’s all very well, say the cynics, you talk, but what about the delivery? When it comes to bottom line, when it comes to profit, all this ideology just flies out the window, doesn’t it? Not for Andrew Mason, who every Monday fills the office fridge with a wide variety of snacks and drinks that his staff help themselves to; which ensures that construction workers are not forced to use uncomfortable and basic toilets on site, but instead have decent facilities.

“If you treat people with respect, they will respond. It shows clearly in the bottom line, because we have very, very little sick leave and no one has left the company at all in the last four years since we started this project. .”

However, it would be wrong to suggest that respect and an egalitarian structure are some kind of draw. Andrew Mason does not shy away from difficult decisions and is not afraid of conflict. What is clear is that he does not need personal arrogance or pomp to prove himself. He is a clear example of the saying that it is the humblest people who make the greatest real contributions.

In Andrew Mason’s estimation, that enviable record was not particularly the result of his personal skills, but rather the entire peer group that exists around his workforce. People talk and chat with him; they meet with him daily on the site and share football results as well as new development ideas. Andrew was extremely pleased when the Investors in People assessment team found that management, staff, subcontractors and suppliers shared the same positive view of the company.

Andrew Mason lives his dream on two levels: he restores and renovates the mills that surrounded his childhood and implements an ideological structure that, although fashionable in the 1850s, he has managed to reshape in accordance with today’s business environment.

“It’s all about positive reinforcement. When we worked at Byron Hall in Bradford, we were very sensitive to issues of diversity so we went and knocked on people’s doors. We explained what we were doing and why and we visited the mosque and we agreed that on Fridays we wouldn’t take no deliveries so there is no problem with parking for Friday prayers. A little consideration goes a long way.

“We’ve all seen enough antagonism and confrontation in the days of the mid-sixties when people were promoted to incompetence and the breakdown of labor relations lasted until the winter of discontent over the ‘them and us’ approach.” I honestly don’t remember ever telling anyone on the spot to do anything. I asked them. I’ve never taken the “I’m the CEO” approach. You will do as I say’ because it keeps people in check. It’s much better to try to bring them in and show them you care and respect them.

“There is a man here whose wife, I know, will be fired and it will be difficult for them.” We have to ease up a bit there. Another guy is studying for an MBA. He gets a study leave but it does not affect his vacation. If he only got a study leave, the woman would never see him, and he also has the right to spend time with her.”

In the Newmason lexicon, the values ​​of a bygone era are preserved not only in the fabric of the buildings, but also in the immense goodwill and loyalty evident in the workforce. It is significant that Andrew Mason adds: “It’s not all about altruism either.” Good will is returned tenfold on the spot.

“At 18 I worked on platforms in the North Sea and learned from tough, tough Glaswegians, then concrete factories and later in places like Costa Rica, Chile, Nicaragua and South Africa on social housing schemes where I saw the terrible plight of so much of humanity. I am very grateful for what I have received and achieved here.

“We are creating something at Victoria Mills; a community where people want to live and enjoy. Like the Red Indians who have no word for ‘ownership’, I see myself as a steward. My name may be on the title deeds, but we don’t own those properties. We are protecting the industrial heritage for our children and our children’s children. Whatever we do today will affect several generations to come and we will leave it in a much better condition than it was when we left. found him.”

Bricks and mortar assets have a satisfying solidity that other investment portfolios lack. Money invested in something so essentially permanent and essential must be as safe as houses – or mills – in the hands of Andrew Mason.

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