The awards proved to be a busy night for Waldeck, with Junior Technician, Connor Penlington, shortlisted for Young Achiever of the Year, Head of Marketing & Communications, Hannah Cook, on the judging panel and Waldeck sponsoring Consultancy of the Year!

Firstly, we caught up with ‘Young Achiever of the Year’ finalist, Connor to find out more about his career journey so far and why he was shortlisted for the awards:

Hi Connor, tell us a bit more about your time at Waldeck so far?

“My career at Waldeck started following the realisation that I was in a role in the manufacturing industry which I felt had no clear opportunity for progression and didn’t suit my long-term career ambitions.

“Following a successful interview process with Waldeck, I joined the team in February 2022, and have since been in a new hybrid role of “Trainee Technician” which sees me working cross-disciplined between both our Lincoln-based Architecture & Digital Captures teams. The role has also seen me working on both single and multi-discipline projects, collaborating with other branches within Waldeck such as Civil, Structural, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering.

“My role as Trainee Technician was a brand-new role for the business, which came about following the amalgamation of two of the teams (Architecture and Digital Capture) under one Director (Stuart Denniss).

“This organisational change created an opportunity for this new hybrid role, seeing me supporting both of the established teams by operating as the linchpin between them, with the aim of improving the collaboration between the two departments to enhance Waldeck’s offering to clients and overall project delivery, through better combining, aligning and utilising the skills from both teams.

“My day-to-day role includes a mixture of office and on-site working, with support from senior members of the team to develop my skills and knowledge across the two different workstreams.”

What has your professional development journey looked liked so far?

“When I joined Waldeck I was in the middle of undertaking an HNC in Mechanical Engineering at Lincoln College. Even though I changed roles during the course, I was committed to finishing it, and Waldeck offered me an opportunity to complete the course alongside my new role, with day-release to College.

“On completion of the course through Lincoln College, I was delighted to come out with the top mark of a distinction whilst also picking up the ‘Student of the Year’ Award. Although this was associated to a different field of work, I picked up lots of different transferrable skills which have helped my transition into the construction industry.

“Since completing my HNC, I have chosen to continue my learning journey through starting a degree in Architectural Technology at Sheffield Hallam University. This is with the aim of becoming an Architectural Technologist on completion of the course.

“Between work and university, I often find myself doing research into new technologies and trends within the construction industry. This is with the aim of not only my own development, but also wanting to help the company adapt to these trends and be at the forefront of championing these new technologies.”

What does being a finalist mean to you?

“My journey started with Waldeck in February 2022, and I have gained a whole wealth of experience in a short period of time.

“This has been demonstrated in the projects I have worked on and the quality of work that has been produced. I have gone from having no experience to being able to work as a member of the project delivery team. I have fully immersed myself into the environment I am in and embraced the opportunity I have been given.

“The role I find myself in, I feel, has been quite a rare opportunity, given the quality of colleagues I am working with and the technology I am also working with, is not something which is lost on me, and I feel as if I have really “taken the bull by the horns” so to speak. I have a strong desire to succeed in my career and this award would just be the beginning, and prove that the hard work does pay off!

“It’s also important for me to share with others that they don’t need to get stuck on a career pathway if they aren’t happy with it, I know I’m relatively young but it’s never too late to do what you feel is right for yourself. Only 9 months ago, I was working in a completely different industry, and since then I have begun to learn the ropes of two new disciplines in a job I can truly say I love.”

Director of Architecture & Digital Technologies, Stuart Denniss, commented on Connor’s performance so far:

“Having read Connors award submission, it’s clear to see the hard work and passion he has for his career and own personal development, but more than that, Connor is a team player and has already proved himself as a valued asset to the Waldeck team.”

“When I first met Connor, he excelled in his interview for his attitude, and although employing someone with no industry experience for such an important role was a risk to the business, I truly believe it has been one that has paid off.

“We spotted Connor’s potential straight away – he has the right attitude and an eagerness to learn. He is proactive, always a positive and warm character in the office and has the necessary people skills to really exceed in his role.

“Connor has proved himself so far and has set himself up well to build a successful career at Waldeck and within the construction industry. So far he has exceeded all expectations in filling both roles and made a success of the opportunity given to him. Well done Connor and good luck for the award!”

Secondly, we caught up with Head of Marketing and Communications, Hannah Cook, who scooped the  ‘Young Achiever of the Year’ Award last year, and joined the judging panel for 2023.

Hannah also took to the stage to present the ‘Consultancy of the Year’ Award to Delta-Simons Ltd, a local independent environmental consultancy who specialise in sustainability services.

Hannah shared of the awards:

“I was absolutely delighted to have been invited back to the awards as a judge by Head Judge, Simon Morris of Gleeds and the rest of the panel.

“Every year Waldeck joins other local organisations at the DoubleTree by Hilton as they gather to praise and congratulate the best of the Lincolnshire Construction and Property industry.

“It was fantastic to see such a breadth of diverse projects and unique stories from this year’s submissions. As a former winner, I hope I brought a different insight to the judging process.

“I’m proud to have been given this opportunity to represent women in the industry and I’m sure everyone who attended will agree, the awards were a great success in recognising and celebrating the wonderful talent we have in abundance across the county.”

Hannah will return on the panel again in 2024, joined by fellow judges Simon Morris of Gleeds, Martine Hamilton-Wright, a renowned architectural photographer, Lee Marshall of environmental building specialists Viridis and Alex Smith, Managing Director of full service law firm, Shakespeare Martineau.