This month Gradient Consultants celebrate one year as an accredited B-Corporation, the global accreditation based on doing business in a way that is good for people and our planet. Founder Richard recalls, “our vision was coming together, we were so proud”.
The B-Corp movement is growing fast and not only were Gradient the first Eastbourne based business to attain B-Corp status they were pioneers as construction professionals. It runs in the family as Richard’s daughter Anya, an ex Moira House girl, now works for global B-Corp Ella’s Kitchen.
The idea for Gradient came from sitting in the original Bill’s café in Lewes some 19 years ago. “Clare, my co-founder and I would sketch out how we wanted to be different, to enjoy what we did and build lasting relationships with our clients”. An innovative chartered surveying and compliance consultancy was born.
Richard started his career with Grimsby Borough Council before studying building surveying at the University of Salford and working as surveyor at Lincoln Cathedral. A position as Estates Surveyors for the then Duke of Westminster’s property company, Grosvenor led to a move to London and a post graduate diploma in conservation. Richard’s first Sussex based role was to head up the building surveying team at Owen Williams Consultants in Lewes during which time he completed an MBA with the Open University.
Since arriving in Eastbourne, Richard has been a trustee of the South Downs Learning Trust and is a director of Sea Change Sussex. He has also been an active member of the Chamber of Commerce, serving as its president between 2018-2020. “I love Eastbourne, it is a beautiful place to work, live and play” His B-Corp ambitions extend here too, as one of Chamber’s strategic goals for 2022 is to adopt B-Corp’s Boardroom 2030 concept.
Richard spent 4 years on the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors World Governing Council, travelling across the globe meeting like-minded professionals. “It was enlightening to see game changing economic and public realm developments up close and learn from those who made them happen”.
Making a difference extends into Gradient’s commissions. “We want to work on projects which offer social and environmental benefits at their core”. Recently Gradient managed the new Fishing Quay development on Sovereign Harbour. “This scheme provide a vital hub for the fishing industry in Eastbourne and provides a huge economic boost to our Town”. Gradient is currently working with a number of local authorities on residential schemes for affordable housing and resident safety as well as working as project managers on schemes for Sussex based charities and community interest groups.
Richard isn’t one to sit still and has a prolific list of ultra-marathons to his name. Including the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc and what many regard as the toughest footrace on earth the Marathon des Sables.
So what next for Richard and Gradient? “We are a great team and want to look after our people. Our brand needs to be sustainable and inspire. It is more important we build a better business and not just a bigger one”.