From Kuwait to St Peter’s Gate: Celebrating Vic Clarke
He’s been far and wide, but there is no place quite like home. And for Vic Clarke, CPMG is home. Having recently celebrated his 80th birthday, we look back on how things have changed during Vic’s 15 years with us and why he is such a special member of the team.
What is your role at CPMG?
Since arriving in March 2007, I have carried out various roles around the office but my position has developed into premises manager. My duties are varied, but as the title suggests, I look after the day-to-day running of CPMG’s headquarters in Nottingham.
This includes a lot of bringing in contractors to do any building work or servicing, updating environmental records, arranging paper coming in or going out, printing, binding documents, buying and replacing supplies, decorating, supporting with IT set up, and last but not least, watering the plants.
The job has certainly changed over the years, but I still look forward to each and every day. And because my vocabulary doesn’t include the word no, I am always adding new responsibilities to my role. I simply treat the office like it’s my own home, taking pride in cleanliness and ensuring everyone feels welcome and catered for.
What led you to CPMG?
Prior to joining CPMG, I worked in maintenance at A.W. Lymn The Family Funeral Service for 12 years. That was a completely different environment and one that I was more familiar with having always worked outside. Someone I formerly worked with had a connection at CPMG and suggested the premises management opening would be a good opportunity for me.
Upon hearing about the excellent reputation CPMG had held in Nottingham for many years, I went to find out more about the job opportunity and as soon as I met the management team, I knew it was somewhere I would fit in. Plus, having done structural surveys and building maintenance earlier in my career, learning more about how architectural practices operate appealed to me.
What did you do before arriving at CPMG?
Despite my current role, I have always favoured being outdoors. In my early years, while training at the Wellesley Nautical School in Blyth, I was proud to earn a bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – presented to me by the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Phillip, himself in June 1960.
Since then, my professional career has been quite varied and after being born and raised in Nottingham, I have travelled the globe with work.
Having spent many years as a commercial diver, I moved into abseiling and steeple jacking. During my international work, I became the only ever man to abseil the Kuwait Towers. The main water tower, which stands at 187 metres high, was one of three in need of a structural survey due to the damage done during the occupation of Kuwait by the Iraqis in 1990-91.
How have things changed during your 15 years at the firm?
Taken on as a print room and maintenance man, at one time I was printing and folding up to 600 drawings a day. I would be delivering four nylon postage sacks to the post office on a daily basis, whereas now I am only printing a few drawings now thanks to the development of technology and desire to minimise our environmental impact.
The way that architectural services are delivered and presented has undoubtedly changed to a large extent. This particular change will have been experienced by all working in architecture, and many other industries, over the same period. But there have been unique changes to CPMG as well.
During the summer of 2021 we completed the move from Warser Gate to 13 St Peter’s Gate, a project I was heavily involved in and am very proud of.
We had only 6 weeks available to clean out Warser Gate and move over to our new home. Bearing in mind CPMG had occupied the building for 20 years before the decision to leave, and we only left the carpets and light fittings in the three-floor building, so it’s not hard to imagine how much needed moving. The hard work paid off though as the inspection reported a spotless building.
We’re now proud to be in a building better suited to our needs. It fulfils our aspirations to have a headquarters that offers a city centre location, an architecturally significant building with its own front door, connections with nature, improved connections with each other, and a lively space.
There have been interesting times during my 15 years here, such as the pandemic. I had things to sort out on my own as the building, unsurprisingly, didn’t know there was a lockdown. It was a reminder of how our people really do make us who we are as a business.
A number of directors have been here for the duration of my time, such as Richard, Sara and Nick, and they deserve credit for their personal and forward-thinking approach to business. I often wish I had found CPMG sooner considering how well I have been treated and made a part of the team.
What else do you reflect on with pride?
I started the walking club at CPMG in 2009 and completed the 40-mile Lyke Wake Walk with colleagues, which led to the annual CPMG charity walk – we’ve raised more than £12k for local charities in that time. Spending time outdoors and reaping the benefits of an active lifestyle have always been important to me but sharing that privilege with others is something I am pleased to have the opportunity to champion.
I am also part of the environmental team and have been contributing to the sustainability effort across the business. I read the meters, monitor everything I can that comes in and goes out of the building, and support ongoing auditing. Though I am only one part of a large system, I’m pleased to play a role in making improvements that have given us the confidence to commit formally to achieving net-zero carbon by 2040.
What’s next for you Vic?
I’d like to keep on doing what I am doing, helping to make CPMG the best it can be. I can’t fault the business and have no intention of stopping anytime soon.
When I am not working, I like to keep busy with other jobs at home anyway and have 11 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren to keep me on my toes. Sometimes, it’s easier being in the office!