A Day in the Life of Steve Cliff, Electrical Contracts Manager

Since we introduced our Electrical Team back in March, we thought now would be the perfect time to sit and talk to the gentleman who heads the team, Steve Cliff. Steve has been with Connolly’s since Summer 2020 and has built the Electrical Department from the ground up. His drive and passion for the job and his team, has shown in the success of the department. Throughout the last 12 months, they have delivered a whopping 4000no EICRs.

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?

When I left school I struggled to find an electrical apprenticeship so instead, I decided to study electrical and mechanical engineering while I continued to look for the right course. 6 months in, I managed to find an electrical apprenticeship and started on the journey. Once I had qualified, I worked as an electrician for 10 years at 4 different companies before being asked to make the move to management. This was firstly at a site level as an electrical Site Manager, then I moved to Contracts Manager around 7 years ago. I have worked at a wide variety of companies offering a wide variety of work from social housing refurb, large scale solar PV projects, large scale industrial projects and office fit out in central London etc. I was then approached by Connolly’s with the opportunity to join the team and set up the self-delivery electrical model.

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

A moment that stands out to me was when I was asked to join Connolly’s. Being asked to join a great team and set up from scratch an electrical department with the backing and help from everyone has been brilliant. I have been able to handpick my team to ensure we have the best people doing each job and I feel that shows. I can honestly say I have never been happier in my work as I am now working alongside such a great team.

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

I feel the most important skill is having people skills and being approachable and fair. I believe there are two management styles one of which is more of a dictatorship where people feel smothered and pressured and the second is more laid back and supportive. I believe people skills allow you to get more from people and treating others the way you expect to be treated yourself is also key.

Being organised is essential as we currently have a large number of live projects that I have to stay one step ahead of ensuring labour and materials etc are allocated to ensure all projects are delivered to programme and within budget.

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

My first job of the day is always to make a strong coffee and say my hello’s to the other office staff. I like to touch base with as many of my team as possible each morning to get a feel for what each person is planning on doing for the day and see if we need to change plans to pick up any issues etc. This also allows me to see if anyone needs any support with anything or vice versa if anyone can help others. The next job is to catch up with any emails that need action before taking a look over the trackers for each job to see how progress was the previous day.

Part of my role is completing any tenders that require any electrical elements so I get started on any tenders and get them over to the preconstruction team.

I also speak with suppliers daily to ensure we have no supply issues that may affect any projects. I usually end each day by checking in with as many of the engineers as possible, to get feedback on how their day has been and any issues from site that I need to be aware of and act upon.

Where do you see Connolly Ltd in 5 years?

The growth I have seen in the 17 months since I have been with Connolly’s leaves me with no doubt that we will continue to grow and expand at whatever rate the Directors choose best fits the business model.

On a more personal note, I feel over the next 5 years we will see huge expansion for the electrical department. The aim now is to push the department and ensure all past, present and new clients are aware of exactly what we can offer and how exactly we can help them with their needs. Not only do we self-deliver electrical works for the current workload, but we will also be pushing the electrical only offering.

From a compliance point of view we have setup up an exceptional team and as a result, can excel on projects where other contractors are failing. Throughout the last 12 months, we have seen the compliance side grow massively due to the performance that we have been able to demonstrate to clients.

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

I was offered a new role several years ago but at the time I was working for a company that I had been with for 10+ years and moved through the ranks from an electrician to Contracts Manager and the decision to leave was probably the hardest moment so far in my career.

Looking back now deciding to leave was one of the best decisions I had made for my career but at the time it was a hard decision to make. I had reached the limit of any possible progression at the current company and leaving has enabled me to grow and develop.

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

Every time you ask someone this question at Connolly’s, it sounds like they are reading from a script, however, this is a testament to the culture that has been created and the fact everyone buys into it 100%.

In a nutshell, I believe Connolly’s culture is Connolly’s people and the fact that each person matters and their say is heard no matter what.

Connolly’s is a family business and being part of the company is being part of that family and knowing you have the support and expertise of each individual within that family.

What do you believe is the greatest thing that Connolly Ltd has achieved so far?

This would be the reputation that Connolly’s has managed to build and maintain throughout the growth the company has seen.

Connolly has relationships with clients that have been made over years and years of continuous work due to the quality and consistency of the works completed. Regardless of the growth Connolly’s has experienced the quality never drops and the projects are delivered to the same high standards set over the years.

This ensures repeat orders and extensions to contracts across the business and is a testament to the teams at all levels.

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

I get CVs weekly from young people wanting to start the journey into construction and I do understand from my own experience that getting that first initial opportunity can be very difficult, however, do not give up and keep going.

Also while trying to get the start in construction try and do things that will benefit you in the long run like a college course in the chosen field as this will set you above other candidates and show employers you are going above and beyond.

What do you love most about your job?

100% this is the people I work with from my team to all other members of staff at Connolly’s.

Never have I walked into the office and felt any atmosphere as everyone just gets along and whenever needed pulls together to get the job done no matter what. I feel that from a site level up to the Director level, each person has each other’s back and this is a great thing to be part of.

Concerning my team, it’s a pleasure to work with them daily and due to Connolly’s atmosphere and feel we can take a moment out here and there to have a laugh and a joke which does help with everyone’s mental health and attitude towards work.

Finally, if there was one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

This is the trickiest question to answer but I suppose it would be don’t give up and concentrate on the relationships you create in business and work as these are the relationships that have allowed me to achieve and be in the position I am today.