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James Wood

Saxonby Group was formed in 2007 and offers solutions to the construction industry in four main divisions: affordable housing, homes for sale, groundworks, plant and haulage. It has a current annual turnover of £9 million.

EXPLAIN A TYPICAL WEEK IN YOUR WORKING LIFE: In the construction industry there is no typical week! The sector centres round a largely hand-built product that has a propensity to go wrong. I spend the majority of my time running operations, finance and staff, and seeking new business opportunities.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FACING YOUR INDUSTRY RIGHT NOW? Increased labour costs and a rise in raw material costs due to a devaluation of the pound.

AND WHAT ARE THE BIG OPPORTUNITIES? National housing crisis and pressure on construction sector to deliver 300,000 new homes every year.

HOW DO YOU GET THE BEST OUT OF YOUR STAFF? Creating a special culture within the workplace where the team have shared objectives, understand each other’s challenges and work in an open, honest and caring way to solve problems. Most importantly when I ask someone how they are, I listen to the answer.

WHAT WAS YOUR LAST MEETING ABOUT, HOW LONG DID IT LAST, AND WAS IT PRODUCTIVE? Planning the future growth strategy of our plant and haulage operation. Approximately three hours and I hope so!

HOW MANY EMAILS DO YOU GET IN A DAY, AND HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE TO READ THEM? On average 125-150. I read them whenever I can but keeping on top of writing replies is a constant battle

DO YOU ANSWER WORK CALLS OR EMAILS AT HOME? WHAT’S THE RIGHT WORK-LIFE BALANCE? I promise myself at the beginning of every week that I won’t spend evenings and weekends studying my inbox. It’s a promise I break frequently. The pressure of running a business often makes switching off very difficult.

HOW DO YOU HOPE YOUR COLLEAGUES WOULD DESCRIBE YOU? Fun. Supportive. Inspiring. Caring. I’d like to think my colleagues enjoy coming to work with me every day.

BREXIT – WHAT’S YOUR VIEW OF WHAT IT’S ALL GOING TO MEAN? I believe the UK is full of talented and inspirational people and that we will thrive with independence. We are class leaders in a number of sectors and Europe and the rest of the world will want to do business with us.

HIGHLIGHTS OR LOWLIGHTS OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

Highlights: Establishing Saxonby; a business founded on ethics and values; which has allowed me to make valuable contributions to people and communities. Being appointed the youngest ever Chairman of The Shropshire Housing Alliance and Independent Board Member of the Wrekin Housing Trust and winning the Business In The Community at the Shropshire Chamber Business Awards 2013.

Lowlights: None!

PET HATES? Rudeness and people who don’t love animals

IF YOU COULD GO BACK AND GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF SOME WISE ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Don’t let everything affect me so much

HOW DO YOU RELAX AWAY FROM WORK? Restoring classic tractors, motorcycles & cars, golf and laughing. I’m known for liking a pint in the local too.

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS SPECIAL ABOUT THE SHROPSHIRE BUSINESS COMMUNITY? There’s a real passion about Shropshire businesses, in this essentially rural community people understand the importance of supporting each other.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOU THAT MOST PEOPLE PROBABLY WOULDN’T KNOW: I rescue ex battery hens and am a keen supporter of the British Hen Welfare Trust.

YOU CAN TAKE ONE BOOK, ONE FILM AND ONE CD ONTO A DESERT ISLAND – WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

Book: Ian Wooldridge - Searching for Heroes; film: Shawshank Redemption; CD: Johnny Cash – Live at Folsom Prison.

YOUR FIVE DREAM DINNER PARTY GUESTS, DEAD OR ALIVE? Steve McQueen, Elvis, Johnny & June Cash and just for a bit of fun, Brian Clough.

WHAT WOULD YOU COOK FOR THEM…? I think they would probably all prefer drinks than dinner…

http://www.shropshire-chamber.co.uk

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28th December 2016

Telford housing schemes up for industry accolades

Several projects named as finalists in building excellence awards

30th May 2018

Facing up to housing crisis

Government taking steps in right direction, says planning specialist

14th March 2017

Housing project reaches completion

Affordable scheme in Bridgnorth signed off

7th December 2017

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10th August 2018

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23rd October 2018

Saxonby launches haulage operation

Building group invests in new division

30th November 2017

Breaking new ground

Saxonby builds on group services

5th July 2017

Chance to help young people start their own business

New charity seeks mentors and sponsorship to help budding entrepreneurs

6th December 2016

Call for business leaders to help young entrepreneurs

SYST expands into north of county

15th March 2017

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25th October 2017

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8th September 2017

Building suppliers answer celebrity appeal

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12th September 2017

TTC group wins contract for new region

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