My name is Michael Timmins and I work for AECOM, a global infrastructure and engineering services company. I have been with the company for 13 years and have been based in Chesterfield for much of that time. I trained in Geosciences and later specialised in Water and have been working in the industry for over 20 years. I have been lucky enough to have worked on some really exciting projects both in the UK and internationally – from strategic flood risk studies for major UK cities to water resource, hydropower and environmental studies in Africa and Asia. I am currently a Director leading the Water, Ports and Power business for the North of England and my team are working across a wide range of projects that will help improve infrastructure both in the UK and also overseas.
As a company, AECOM is a global network of experts working with clients, communities and colleagues to develop and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most complex challenges. We operate all over the world and have a team of approximately 87,000 staff who helped to generate $20B of revenue in 2018.
Although we are a global company, we also have a local presence. AECOM (and our legacy companies) has had a presence within Chesterfield for nearly 40 years. Currently we have about 300 staff working in numerous technical design and consultancy roles. Our office is based in the centre of town, and many of our staff live within the borough. Our staff are proud to work in and represent Chesterfield. Many of our staff were at local Universities and have chosen to settle in and around Chesterfield after establishing their career with us. Others were at school or college locally and have been supported by AECOM as they develop their education and professional qualifications.
What are the main benefits of working/running a business in Chesterfield?
For AECOM, Chesterfield offers a great central location with good transport links. Many of our staff work on projects across the UK and so the accessibility of Chesterfield is essential. The local area is also very accessible to our staff for recreational and social activities, with the draw of Sheffield, Nottingham or Derby as well as having the Peak District on our doorstep.
Which local business would you recommend and why?
With the projects we work on, we work with a wide range of suppliers and partners locally and nationally. With 300 staff working in Chesterfield, we make use of a lot of local businesses. Personally, I think the range of businesses in Chesterfield is fantastic – there is a local business to help with just about everything you could think of!
How would you describe Chesterfield to a potential visitor?
We recruit people nationally and internationally to work in Chesterfield and are often asked this question! I describe Chesterfield as an “up and coming town” with a lot going for it. It offers everything you need, has good transport links and is located next to some major cities and also spectacular countryside.
Which development do you think will most benefit the town?
Given our location, I am particularly excited about the Northern Gateway proposals and the Elder Way development. I think that both will not only help to improve the look and feel of the town, but also help to further boost a modern, innovative business environment in the town. I think that HS2 will hugely benefit the town and the proposals to link the train station and Waterside to the town centre are very exciting and will no doubt help to attract more people to the town to live and work. Peak Resort is also an exciting opportunity to help attract more people to visit the area and provide a boost to the local tourism economy.
Which events are working well in Chesterfield and what kinds of events would you like to see in the future?
I really enjoy the Chesterfield Food and Drink Festival every year and am looking forward to the Festival of Cricket as well. Since I’ve been working in Chesterfield the range of events has grown enormously. I’m looking forward to seeing more musical events in the future.
What excites you most about the future of Chesterfield?
What excites me most about Chesterfield’s future is the potential for the town. With the proposed development plans, there are great opportunities for Chesterfield to become a vibrant and modern town whilst still retaining it’s unique character.
Where in Chesterfield would you recommend for a lunchtime treat?
I often go to Speciality Sandwiches on Knifesmithsgate at lunchtime or R P Davidson Cheese Factor in the Market Hall. I also like to visit and support the fantastic Fairplay Gift Emporium in the Market Hall – it has already saved the day on a couple of occasions with a last minute birthday present!
What can we change or develop further within Chesterfield’s town centre to help it thrive?
Town centres around the country are changing markedly. I think that town centres need to become places where people live, work, shop and socialise. A recent Champions’ Breakfast Event focussing on the future of the town centre generated some really interesting ideas. Public wi-fi, open air entertainment spaces, weekend events, flexible office space for SMEs and pedestrian areas were all ideas that I thought could help to boost the current town centre and to help it continue to evolve and thrive.
How does working in Chesterfield differ from where you’ve worked before?
I really like working in Chesterfield. I’ve worked in towns and cities all over the world and not many are as welcoming and friendly as Chesterfield.
What advice would you give to someone establishing a business/beginning work in Chesterfield?