After 35 years in the corporate world, David Prescott never thought with just 10 years away from retirement, he’d be pushed to explore a new type of career path through independent consulting. But he did. And he is. And he shares his journey with us, and his experiences of developing his own consulting value.
David worked within the same organisation for 25 years. Starting out as a family-owned business, David has seen the effect that buyouts and takeovers has on any organisation. Originally from a manufacturing engineering background, David started his career with family-owned business Harmer and Simmons as manufacturing engineering manager, it wasn’t long before David’s capacity as a problem-solving, project-managing business entrepreneur was recognised, and he was asked to become involved in the organisation’s IT and Operations functions.
Although the business changed hands several times, David’s dedication to getting the job done was second-to-none which resulted in him being awarded opportunities to develop and diversify his own career path further.
Adapting to business culture changes
“Although we fundamentally worked for the same business, the dynamics of the organisation changed substantially over the years. We went from a family-run English business, to a typically Parisian, French company, followed by an American cultural shift and then coming to rest within a German corporate culture.”, he tells me. But as with many business transitions, there comes a time when cost-cutting is necessary, and as people started to leave the organisation, David started to take on more and more responsibility which eventually saw him head up the organisation as acting Managing Director.
Once a permanent Managing Director had been sourced for the business, David took on a more formal Project Management role within the organisation. “When I look back at my career, and specifically my involvement in the various projects within the organisation, I realised that although I was never specifically trained in Project Management, the decision I took and the actions I drove, were sensible. I already had the inclination to get things done”. And it was this getting-things-done sentiment that saw David move through his career and eventually saw him appointed as the Global IT Projects Manager for the organisation and finally to Global PMO Manager, with responsibility for the full portfolio of business improvement projects. Formal project management certifications followed with a commitment to the profession, taking up a volunteer role as secretary of a regional branch of APM.
Full circle perfection
Having only recently started his independent consulting journey, his first project has seen him provide business process improvement consulting to family-run Grays of Cambridge – the well-known sporting goods manufacturer. “It’s interesting to me to be back with a successful family-run business, it has that great team ethic, and I am really enjoying it”, he laughs. Perhaps David’s entire career path was equipping him with the business know-how and the project management expertise to work with organisations of various business cultures and structure – which places him in the perfect position to serve a company like Grays.
I want it now!
But, ask David about the thing that has surprised him most within the independent consulting world. Without hesitation, he tells me, “The first week, I didn’t have a job. The second week I didn’t have a job. I didn’t even have a hint at a potential opportunity. But by the third week, I was working. Things come up when you don’t expect them to, and the beauty of organisations working with consultants is that they usually require someone who is able and flexible to start immediately.”
And with David’s wide accumulation of skills within the operations, IT and project management field, there is no question that along his career path, David has been instrumental in delivering business success within these, and other business functions, both locally and globally.