How did you get your start in the property industry?
I started in the property industry in February 1987, basically straight out of school. I was employed as a cadet valuer by the then Queensland Electricity Commission, based in their southern regional office in Brisbane. I worked full time and attended College part time, going to classes three nights a week through the old Gatton Agricultural College (now University of Queensland).
Valuers in the Property Section of the Electricity Commission were involved in valuations, compensation assessments and negotiations for the acquisition of easements for the high voltage electricity distribution network in Queensland.
Where are you currently working?
I am currently a director of Taylor Byrne Valuers. Taylor Byrne is a single company valuation business that has 22 offices in Queensland and Northern New South Wales, and operates throughout Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.
How did you come to this role?
I joined Taylor Byrne in 1993 at the invitation of one of our former partners, Russell Brown. Russell and I had been on opposing sides in a compensation matter and we got to know each other through that. We kept up a friendship and when an opportunity arose I moved over to Taylor Byrne. I worked my way up through Taylor Byrne and became a director in 1999 and was elected managing director in 2013.
What are the best parts of the job?
Not having to be tied to a desk every day. Valuation has been good to me, I have had the opportunity to travel throughout Australia and undertake jobs for a wide variety of purposes in every state. I have made a number of good friends throughout the industry.
I also enjoy Taylor Byrne, I have been lucky to have the support and friendship of the directors and shareholders, and helping to grow our business has to be one of the best parts of the job.
Could you tell us a bit about your background and specialities?
I generally undertake valuation or compensation assessments for acquisition matters, including road and rail corridors, power and gas easements, dams and other matters. In addition to this, I undertake a lot of work for gas and coal companies for land acquisition and compensation matters.
I started in the electricity industry and the valuations we did there were all for acquisition purposes. We had to meet with owners to discuss compensation for the acquisition of powerline corridors and negotiate the compensation settlements.
When I left QEC to join Taylor Byrne, I specialised in this area of work. I enjoy the challenge of the valuation process in compensation and litigation matters, and I enjoy dealing with landowners. I have provided advice to numerous government, private and corporate bodies, and my career just grew from being in the right place at the beginning and continuing to work at it.
I have also done further study in economics and agricultural economics and undertake valuations for certain specialist rural properties including orchards, quarries and abattoirs, among others.
Why did you choose to pursue a career in this area?
After I started doing acquisition type work with QEC I found that I enjoyed it. I joined Taylor Byrne because they had a strong litigation and compensation valuation business and I continued to specialise in that type of work as soon as I joined the firm.
What do you think are among the biggest challenges facing the property industry?
There are a number of challenges facing the valuation industry at the moment, including keeping our professional standards up in an era where we are moving to larger firms providing bulk valuation work.
Fees are always an issue, as is the rising cost of doing business, including insurance premiums.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2014?
At a business level, I want to help the company to continue to grow and expand. We have recently opened new offices in Tamworth and Newcastle, and are looking to open other new offices throughout regional New South Wales in the near future.
How is the API helping your career, and why do you believe a membership organisation such as the API is important to property professionals?
The API is the peak professional body for property professional, and membership of the Institute is recognition of your skills and professionalism. The API is also well recognised throughout Australia and well accepted by our clients.
Membership organisations such as the API are important for helping to protect our members’ interest, as well as providing a range of benefits and services to members.
What advice would you offer to upcoming property professionals?
Work hard, don’t take short cuts and do a good job each and every time. You only have one reputation.