Staff Spotlight: David Cage
What is your role within Geotechnics?
Business Development and Marketing Manager
How long have you been working for us?
Just over two years – since June 2014.
How did you first get involved with Geotechnics?
In my previous role as a geotechnical engineer, I was on the other side of the fence. I was working for a large consultancy and I used to have to procure ground investigation. I obviously knew Geotechnics and their reputation within the industry.
At the time I was based in Oxford and my first daughter had just been born. We decided to make a move back up north to be closer to family and an opportunity arose with Geotechnics.
"You couldn’t have anything without geologists and geotechnical engineers. You need them for everything from motorways, roads, highways, flood defence systems, new buildings… everything needs a geologist or a geotechnical engineer at some stage"
What was that change like?
It was a really good opportunity. It sounded like something really interesting and exciting, and that’s what it’s proved to be. I’ve worked on some fantastic projects and I’m given the opportunity to promote the company and promote Geotechnical engineering – a field that I love. It’s great!
What’s it been like moving back up north?
We’ve moved closer to family which is great. It’s nice to move back up close to an area that I’m used to, and it’s nice to have proper hills around me again as well! I love this area because there are some unique challenges within our sector that the midlands and the north present with their industrial heritage, and it’s exciting to see new investment and new development in this area. It’s great to move back up and be part of it because this is where I’m from.
What is it like when you visit a site?
It doesn’t matter what role you’re in when we’re on site. We all chip in. I still enjoy getting my hands dirty on site, working with the drillers and site teams, and making sure the client’s happy and that everything’s been done to a high standard. At the end of the day, we all work together to get the job done.
Some people may be surprised that you go on site. What other aspects of your role might people be surprised by?
There are two streams to my work. It’s not just the marketing, it’s the business development aspect as well. Everything we do is important, because both streams focus on the company profile and our relationship with our clients, the public and the wider professional community. So the marketing supports the business development and the business development can’t exist without support from marketing. They’re two sides of the same coin. I have meetings with John and Len, the company directors; coming up with new ideas and concepts for where the business is going. As directors, John and Len are steering where the company is going and in my business development role I’m there to support them with new initiatives. John and Len are very forward thinking and very open to suggestions.
But it’s quite a varied work week. I’m working on large scale bids for the company. I’m keeping clients happy and managing the PR and marketing. But I spend a lot of time on admin too, making sure the company’s accreditations are in place and everything’s up to date. I like keeping an eye on what’s new in those areas as well: finding what we need to give us that added edge that clients are looking for.
You mentioned bringing ideas to John and Len. What ideas have you brought to them in the past and how have they gone?
I’m very proud of #GOSAFE. John had the idea to do a standalone campaign called ‘Dig Safe Drill Safe’, but I sat down with Michael Coates, the Health and Safety Manager and between us we thought: why don’t we do something more ambitious and more relevant to the wider construction industry? People on sites are starting to disengage with health and safety. We wanted to make it more caring and more fun.
So we came up with the idea of #GOSAFE. Month on month, myself and Michael have built on that and developed it. It’s got a life of its own now, which is great. We’re proud of it, because it’s completely different to what anybody else is doing.
How has your background as an engineer helped you in your marketing and business development role?
I’d like to think I understand the industry. I love promoting this industry and the people that work in it. I love my job because I get to promote what these guys do. I like to champion what everyone does. You couldn’t have anything without geologists and geotechnical engineers. You need them for everything from motorways, roads, highways, flood defence systems, new buildings… everything needs a geologist or a geotechnical engineer at some stage.
It’s been a pleasure to work with so many talented geologists and geotechnical engineers over the years and bear witness to the positive difference they make. For me, geotechnical engineers generally are not very good at blowing their own trumpet. Perhaps that’s where I come in a little bit more: I’m more than happy to shout about our industry and people.
What do you do outside work?
I have two beautiful young daughters so nowadays I spend a lot of time outside of work with them, which often gives me the excuse to be a big kid.
I have an eclectic taste in music, but in recent years I’ve got more and more into rock, hard rock and metal. Even though I don’t have a lot of personal time I still love reading, and I particularly love Stephen King novels. I also sometimes get the chance to fire up the games console.
I think life’s for the living. I like to push myself when I can. I went canyoning last year, which was pretty good. You climb up a hill in North Wales in full gear - wetsuit and trainers - and you jump off a cliff into a river. Then you traverse the river all the way down to the waterfall and you jump off the waterfall at the bottom. Brilliant!