5 minutes with … Derek Quinn at RED Construction South West

The firm’s managing director in the South-west on the importance of teamwork and good communication, plus his love of Thai food and playing the drums

What has been your biggest career challenge to date?

Being empowered at 30 in the mid-1990s by an inspirational CEO to set up a new regional business unit.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

Build on the communication with young people about the equal opportunities that exist within our amazing industry.

Why did you choose construction as a career?

Construction sites always looked fascinating – a step up from the abacus and Lego.

What have you worked on that you are most proud of?

The Station for the Creative Youth Network in central Bristol.

Most helpful advice you were given?

Remember to listen to the team carefully, then make an informed decision. This is something I always consider and especially for my new team at RED South West.

What’s your favourite building in the world?

The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona – the intertwined designs spanning 140 years never cease to amaze.

What single piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in your profession?

Recognise that the building process is complex and knowledge takes time to accumulate. If you are not sure, don’t be afraid to ask along your journey.

Who do you most admire in the construction industry?

A team that delivers and is focused on customer service.

What famous building do you wish you had worked on?

The Empire State Building in New York, if only to sit on that steel beam and have a short lunch break.

Which famous building do you most dislike?

The Walkie Talkie (20 Fenchurch Street) in the City of London.

What is it like, being you?

Passionately driven and always thinking about people when making decisions.

What do you think your best quality is?

Commitment to the agreed objective.

What trait do you most dislike in yourself?

Thinking too far into the future, which can be exhausting at times.

And in other people?

Unnecessary exaggeration.

Do you have a life philosophy?

Simple: always do the best you can.

Name three things that you like.

Family time, great friendships and amazing wildlife.

What is a secret skill we don’t know you have?

An ability to make excessive noise with my drum kit.

What is your most prized possession?

A piece of art by a certain famous graffiti artist from Bristol.

Early bird or night owl?

Both – any time, any place as the saying goes…

What’s your favourite food?

Thai food: pad thai, chicken green curry, fish cakes, chilli squid, just to name a few!

What would your superpower be?

Time travel, so I could go backwards and forwards, which would be fun.