01 August 2023
We’re delighted that two of our colleagues are now in their 20th year of working at MNP. We are proud to have established a working environment where employees remain with us for so long.
Alex joined MNP in November 2002; the year in which Euro coins and banknotes were launched and the best-selling car in the UK was the Ford Focus. Simon joined MNP the following year. In 2003, Finding Nemo was released and the Concorde made its final commercial flight.
Alex and Simon, both CAD Technicians, discuss what those two decades have been like.
How have things changed in your job since you started working at MNP?
Alex: Almost everything for MNP has changed and grown since my start back in November 2002 – relationships, families, projects and the tools for those projects. As we have grown, the need for space grew, and we have had a couple of office moves in Hitchin to accommodate this. Larger and more complex projects have pushed us, and the technology we use, to greater levels of success. Weddings, babies, and graduations have been the punctuation to the close working relationships that have been cultivated over that time.
Simon: When I started in 2003 the team only consisted of around 7 people compared to that of over 50 now. Everything back then was drawn up using CAD in 2D. There was no 3D Revit to take advantage of so things took a lot longer to produce. Absolutely everything had to be drawn manually as opposed to cutting sections, elevations and plans from a model. Sure, you initially have to produce the model but once it’s finished, producing the drawings is sped up significantly compared to the old system. We have so many automated systems in place today that the projects we do now just would not have been possible 20 years ago. Also most of the projects we worked on in the early days were small residential with the odd medium but rarely large commercial building carrying the company forward. Today across our teams we work on a combination of larger scale jobs, along with smaller conservation projects.
What encourages you to remain at MNP?
Alex: The people at MNP have been the anchor for my choosing to stay at MNP. Work stresses and growth are always difficult to navigate, but with the great relationships we all share makes it all the more easier to stay. And I haven’t won the lottery yet.
Simon: I have worked at various companies with very different backgrounds; some good, some bad. Typically if you find a good company, you should stick with it, and that comes from experience. The grass is not always greener as they say, actually it rarely is.
What have been your most challenging or favourite projects to work on during the last 20 years?
Alex: As with almost anything, your first is always memorable, and my first Revit project working on Jaguar Land Rover, Staples Corner, will always be a reference point for me. First Revit project, and the largest car showroom in Europe at the time, made it truly memorable. The other is Gascoigne West Phase 1, which was a big step up for many of us working on the project. Our understanding of larger projects had matured, but working on this pushed us all into new territory.
Simon: Of all the projects I’ve worked on to date, Greycoat Place is the most complicated, predominantly because of the amount of planes the steelwork is placed in; everything is irregular and on top of that it’s being incorporated into an existing building, which as always has many unknowns. Opening up existing structure always comes with its fair share of challenges.
Any memorable moments from your time at MNP?
Alex: Our first year where we cleared a £1,000,000 turnover. Company employee growth from 5 or 6 people, to 30 was quite significant, including new London and Manchester offices. A couple of us once asked Stuart Pledge what his goal was for the company, and he stated “50 people working for MNP”, and here we are.
Simon: There are yes, but none of them are specifically related to work and are not repeatable publicly!
What do the next 20 years hold?!
Alex: My hope is a growing and thriving building industry that we can grow and thrive within. And hopefully a better economy for everyone. Maybe some international MNP branches would be nice. And more server storage space.
Simon: That depends on many things, if my crypto holdings do as intended I’ll retire early, as in, next week early if chance permits. Joking aside though, I would like to work on something much larger in scale and far more elaborate; something like The Shard as an example. I need to keep my brain occupied so the more complex & challenging the better.