Hungerford-based housebuilder, David Wilson Homes Southern, is bidding a very fond farewell to the division’s managing director, who is retiring after 26 years with the company.
Paul Crispin (pictured), originally from the London Borough of Bexley, first joined the Berkshire developer as commercial director in 1995 and has since led the team from strength to strength, helping to both secure and maintain the company’s five-star homebuilder status for 12 successive years.
Crispin said: "I have worked with the most dedicated team of people over the years, many of whom have over 20 years’ service themselves and we have come through boom periods and the financial crash together. That creates a commitment and loyalty to one another that is invaluable when the need arises.
“Knowing I was approaching the end of my career, and with the pandemic interrupting an otherwise busy social life, the time was right for me to hand the reins to a younger successor. My proudest moment was becoming managing director of the division as it’s a business I have a genuine passion for, but it’ll be the people I work with that I’ll miss the most, for sure."
Crispin worked for Trencherwood plc before joining David Wilson Homes, following the acquisition of that business. After enjoying a stint as development director, Crispin became managing director in 1999. He noted the flagship Newbury Racecourse development as one of the standout projects he’s worked on, but likewise admitted a fondness for the smaller communities. A personal favourite of his was a development in Bucklebury that completed 10 years ago due to its lovely village feel.
Having started his career as a trainee surveyor with Costain Construction in the mid-70s, Crispin has witnessed the industry grow and transition rapidly, even more so in the past year alone. He continued: "Over the decades, we have become far more customer focussed, with a strong desire to ensure customer satisfaction at every step of their journey. Simple things, like double glazing, have become the norm. Paperwork has been replaced by IT equipment and that has allowed us to have better insight to the business improving efficiency.
"In the past 12 months, our focus has been on keeping our employees and contractors safe, while maintaining business trading which has created all sorts of change to our working practices. The majority of employees have all been set up to work from home and our business travel has been slashed, with virtual meetings becoming the daily norm. It’s not been easy, but I’m proud of the way everyone has responded."
As a married man with two children and two grandchildren, Crispin is looking ahead to an enjoyable retirement and plans to play more golf, continue trout fishing and sail his boat to the Channel Islands, France and the Scilly Isles. Alongside his wife, he’s also a keen gardener and will spend more time on his garden at home, while also looking to take up some more charitable work in the near future.
That said, Crispin will look back fondly on his career with David Wilson Homes and plans to keep an eye on the progression of the industry. He added: "Climate change and environmental factors will shape the homes of tomorrow. They will be far more energy efficient, respect the planet and probably made in factories for assembly on site, rather than handcrafted on site as they are today. There are opportunities in all sorts of areas, from land buying to building, right through to digital marketing, sales and finance roles. The rewards for hard working individuals are good and there is strong long-term future for the housebuilding industry."