15 May 2012

60 seconds with...John Shepherd, Whiteburn Holdings and Chairman of the BCO Scottish Judges

A chartered civil engineer, John has worked in a variety of consultancy, contracting and now development roles, as Managing Director of Whiteburn Holdings – a family owned property development and investment company, based in Edinburgh. Read his full bio here.

John is stepping down as Chairman of the Scottish Judges this year, so we've taken the opportunity to ask him about his experience as a BCO Judge...    

How long have you been a member of the BCO and what do you see as a key benefit?
About 10 years. BCO provides a great forum for engaging with other developers, occupiers, financiers, builders and consultants in the office development industry across the UK.

You were a BCO Judge for the National panel in 2007 before joining the Scottish Judging panel in 2009, what will be your favourite memory of being a BCO Judge?
The camaraderie generated within a group of diverse professionals, focussing together for a day or two at a time on a variety of project outcomes (and not all good!).

What is the hardest part about being a BCO Judge?
The number and diversity of entries to be visited, interrogated, debated and scored in a short time can leave the head spinning by the end of each day – it’s a full-on (but stimulating) process.

What is the best part about being a BCO Judge?
The chance to get “out of the house”, meet and see what other people are doing first hand, how they’re collaborating and innovating in order to provide better places to work.

What advice would you give someone planning to submit an entry for the 2013 Awards?
Don’t hold back, be clear about the aims of the project and what extra steps the team went to for the benefit of the occupiers and wider stakeholders.

Who/what has most inspired you in the Commercial Property Sector? 
I think what Stanhope achieved in the 1980’s at Broadgate and elsewhere, introducing bold and efficient US construction strategies and realising public as well as commercial benefits by developing over transport hubs, has laid the foundations for some of the exciting developments spearheading London’s current boom.

What couldn’t you live without in your daily routine? 
My wife’s fantastic cooking of course!

What is your guilty pleasure?
I’m fascinated by Russia (and in slight trepidation) having crossed much of it on a motor bike and returning by train last year – so reading Tolstoy and listening to Shostakovich at the moment. 

The expertise and commitment shown by our Judges is superb and helps to make the BCO Awards one of the most rigorous judging processes and, therefore, worthwhile in the property industry. If you are interested in becoming a BCO Judge then please click here for further information and details on how to apply.

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