A Day in the Life of Nicola Radcliffe, Bid Manager

Our next ‘Day in the Life’ focuses on Nicola Radcliffe, our wonderful Bid Manager. Nicki joined us back in January, following a decision to move companies and hasn’t looked back since. Our head office token Liverpudlian, Nicki has taught our team members a thing or two about the scouse lingo.  Always walking into head office with a big smile and happy attitude (Nicki tells us she brings the sunshine with her from Liverpool most days), She has fully immersed herself within the role in our pre-construction/bid department and is a core member of the team.

Welcome to our next instalment of our ‘Day in the Life of’. A series of interviews with our people here at Connolly’s, providing insight into our day to day activities and our people. 

So, let’s go back – can you give us a brief insight into your career path which has led you to be in the position you are today?

Following an 11 year career in education, I decided it was time for a change and I wanted a new challenge although I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do. I did a brief stint in recruitment and while the hard sales side wasn’t for me, I really enjoyed the softer business development side of things. I was put in touch with a structural engineer who was looking for a trainee BDM/Bid Writer and it went from there. A few years, a couple of moves and lots of learning later, here I am.

Are there any moments in your career, past or present, that stand out to you?

When I first started out in Construction and bid writing all those years ago, I sent an email to Connolly Ltd to plant the seed that I was looking to get into the role and it was definitely a company I would want to work for. Fast forward some years later, the seed took root and here I am 9 months into my career with Connolly’s and I am yet to have a day that I dread going to work. Quite literally the best decision I have ever made was moving here.

What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?

The list is endless, we would be here all day if I listed them all. Time Management, strong organisational skills and being a people person are key, but to be an effective Bid Manager you really need to be a “jack of all trades”, as such, as the role is so varied you need to be able to quickly adapt without missing a beat.

Can you tell us about a typical working day for you?

I get into the office and check my emails and the pre-construction email address for any new opportunities which have come in since the previous day. If any are of interest, I will send a brief review to the directors to see if we will be bidding. I download any documents and set the job up if it gets a green light. Definitely cup of coffee time then and catch up with the rest of the team, it’s never a dull moment in the Connolly office.

I then download any clarifications for ongoing bids and crack on with quality writing. Meetings are always on the agenda and if things aren’t too hectic, I’ll fit a gym session in at lunchtime.

Where do you see Connolly Ltd in 5 years?
I found this question the hardest to answer as I honestly believe the sky is the limit for Connolly’s. The achievements and growth over the last 5 years have been phenomenal and that’s just been the start of the journey. Plans are in place, wheels are turning… watch this space!

Can you tell us about the hardest moment in your career and how you overcame it?

There have definitely been a fair few hard moments over the years but I think the hardest has to be feeling stuck between a rock and a hard place during the early months of the pandemic last year.

At the time I was working for a company that I absolutely loved but there were factors severely affecting my happiness and ultimately my mental health. The dilemma was to stick it out, stay for the security and the positives the company provided or take a huge risk of changing jobs during a worldwide pandemic when the job market was extremely unstable, going into the unknown of a new company where things might not be any better. After lots of thinking, thinking, overthinking and more thinking, I pulled up my big girl pants and took the leap. In the end, it wasn’t a hard decision as I knew from the moment I stepped into the Connolly office for my first meeting this was where I was meant to be!

Connolly Culture is at the heart of the business – can you describe what the culture means to you?

The Connolly culture is at the heart and is the heart! It is cheesy and every business says it but we are all one big family, all working together with the same goals.

Nothing is too big or small for anyone to help with, whether it’s a work issue or a personal one, we all have each other’s backs with the Directors setting the example.

It’s this culture that makes us successful as it’s embedded in every part of the business and shines through to our clients and their customers.

What do you believe is the greatest thing that Connolly Ltd has achieved so far?
The phenomenal growth over the last 5-10 years. The Directors have a vision and it isn’t just pipe dreams. They have put together a handpicked team to ensure the vision is made a reality, cultivated a culture where that vision becomes each and every person’s goal, all while making it look easy.

Do you have any advice for people who want to work in the Construction industry?

The best advice is always ‘Just Ask’…

  • Ask for work experience
  • Ask if there are any vacancies
  • Ask if anyone has contacts in the field you are looking to get into
  • Ask what you need to do to get where you want to be
  • Ask for help

The best thing I have ever done to get me to where I am now is just asking, it’s not always easy but it’s worth it, even a no is a great answer as it redirects you to where you should be!

What do you love most about your job?

Weirdly, the pressure and stress! The best and worst thing about my job is working to deadlines, yes it is stressful but there is always an endpoint to work towards. I thrive on a deadline. If I have too long to think about anything I can talk myself out of things and procrastinate, but the week leading up to the deadline is when I come into my own and get it done!

The best thing about working for Connolly is the people, I’ve never had a job where I’ve looked forward to coming into the office so much, no 2 days are ever the same.

Finally, if there was one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Take risks sooner, in anything and everything, one way or another it pays off! Nothing great ever came from comfort zones!