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Marginal Gains

Surrey based developer and landlord Richard Simmons talks with Richard Bowser

Ten years ago in 2012 many watched the London Olympics with a renewed sense of national pride as athletes from Team GB outperformed the international competition to win an unprecedented haul of gold medals. Dave Brailsford was then in charge of the UK’s cycling team and is credited with endorsing the concept of ‘marginal gains’, improving performance by 1% in every aspect.
It’s a philosophy shared by Richard Simmons in this month’s investor interview as he described his previous career prior to becoming full time with property development.

“My career background was completely unrelated to property as I was for many year involved in coaching national and international athletes after graduating from Loughborough University and becoming a PE teacher. I had to retire myself from athletics at just 21 due to injury and then got involved in coaching and sports administration at a quite early age. Within a few years, due to the success of the athletes I was coaching, I was appointed as one of the National Athletics Coaches for what is now called UK Athletics, with responsibility for the south east region.

“I then went on to run the GB Junior programme for the national under 20 age group and it was a very successful period from 1987-91 with the UK being the number one nation in Europe. After establishing a new Under 23 age group programme for the sport, I then became the national head coach for sprinting just prior to the Atlanta US Olympics including the relays. From 1997 to 2006 I  worked for the British Olympic Association with day to day responsibility  across the 28 summer sports and seven winter sports for each Olympic Games in that period. My role as Olympic Performance Manager included all the logistics in setting up the training camps prior to the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 summer Olympics and also the winter games in Salt Lake City 2002 and Turin in 2006. In total, I was lucky enough to be involved in a total of 10 Olympics in a variety of roles from personal coach to team leader.”

So how did you get into property? - “By 2008/9 I was at a stage where I needed to move on and like many was then too experienced and over-qualified in a niche activity and basically was ‘too old’. So I took stock at what I thought I might be useful at and set up a property services company to learn whatever I could about property and projects and that is what I am still doing some 15 years later.

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