Danielle Gillespie of Gilbert – Ash Q & A as a Design Manager

Danielle Gillespie of Gilbert - Ash gives insight into her career as a Design Manager.


Why I chose a career in construction?


At secondary school I had a keen interest in buildings, and I completed work experience with an architect. This interest developed into design and I completed a BDes(hons) Interior & Environmental Design at University of Dundee. After graduating I worked in Scotland and at home in Northern Ireland in design and contractor roles. After a few years I had opportunity to work in Macau SAR China which launched me into the international world of construction on multi-billion, dollar projects. Working for world renowned architect Aedas, I had a site-based role on two Sheraton Hotel Towers. There is no better place to gain invaluable construction knowledge than when you are based on site, seeing all elements of the build come together. After project completion, I moved client side and changed roles to Design Manager working on hotel brands Ritz Carlton and JW Marriott.

After moving home, I was keen to find a Design Manager role. I was fortunate to join the team at Gilbert-Ash, working on a diverse range of projects from Hotels to a Performing Arts School and my most recent project, the Restoration of a Grade II listed Building which will be used as art galleries when it completes next month.

I could not imagine working in any other industry however at one point I had considered a law career which I still have an interest in although this is being fulfilled by the construction law element of my MSc.


What challenges can be found within the industry?


The challenge for me is sometimes achieving a good balance between work and home life as construction is not a 9-5 job. It’s a demanding, fast-paced industry which I really enjoy and the rewards for me are the learning and the relationships you build working as a team on each project. Handing over the project at the end to a happy client is also very rewarding.


What are your ambitions?


I achieved my CIOB in May last year and I am currently studying part-time towards an MSc Construction and Project Management at Queens University, Belfast but one day I would hope I could progress to Director level within Gilbert-Ash.