12 Mar 2012

60 Seconds with...James Wates, Wates Group and BCO senior vice president

This year the BCO Annual Conference will be visiting Manchester (23-25 May 2012). James Wates, deputy chairman of the Wates Group and BCO senior vice president, is leading the committee for the conference. Read on to find out more about James and his thinking behind the conference.

When did you join the BCO? and why?
1993 - I saw it as a great networking opportunity and I've never been disappointed!

As senior vice president of the BCO you are currently working on the 2012 Annual conference. Why was Manchester chosen as the host city this year?
Manchester is widely recognised as having transformed its landscape and its standing in the aftermath of the Arndale bomb. It's an inspirational city and an ideal place to discuss regeneration and the role of and challenges for second cities.

The conference is called The Phoenix Effect: regeneration, reinvention & results. What's the thinking behind this title?
We are keen to explore how cities take successful action to revitalise their economic position and their social cohesion. We'll be examining how much of this is in the control of local authorities and local businesses and how mcuh is affected and determined by forces beyond the city cush as national economy and government.

Tours include Media City, Salford.
What are you most looking forward to at this year's conference?
I'm very much looking forward to the opening session which will set the tone and ambition of the event. But I'm also looking forward to creating a sense of enjoyment for the delegates as they take in not just work at the conference but also everything that Manchester has to offer.

What do you think delegates will get out of this year's event?
The intention is to see delegates get something practical and thought-provoking from the conference; useful insights and also wider thinking to stimulate their thinking longer-term.

What is the hot topic on your agenda?
Skills are always on my agenda. Training and skills are the life-blood of any sector within the Built Environment. Planning too at the moment is an issue for all of us, as is seeing growth return to the economy.

What is your guilty pleasure? (Something you enjoy but feel a bit guilty for. Possibly an embarrassing taste, whether it be music, fashion, food etc)
All the good stuff in our local farm shop - restraint is a requirement!

Do you have a hidden talent?
My wife gave me a drum kit for Christmas - an as yet undiscovered talent!

What couldn't you live without in your daily routine?
My iPad 

Visit www.bco.org.uk for up to date information about this year's BCO Annual Conference.