John Barry, Southern division sales manager for Freyssinet UK

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Age 39. Irish. Degree in Civil and Structural Engineering & Degree in Construction Management  2005-2011: Site Engineer in Ireland, then Australia  2012: Project Engineer Freyssinet Australia  2014: Construction Manager Freyssinet Australia  2018: Operation Manager Freyssinet UK  2019: Manager – Southern Division - Freyssinet UK  Since 2021: Business Development & Sales Manager – Southern Division - Freyssinet UK 

Passionate and wonderful people

I’m rather independent, adventurousglobe-trotter kind of personso I never thought I’d stay 10 years in the same company. And yet… As soon as I joined Freyssinet, I knew I had made the right choice. On my first job site, which was the structural strengthening of several bridges on Sydney’s M2 freeway, I got the perfect introduction since I was exposed to Freyssinet’s core techniquesexternal post-tensioningexpansion jointsjacking, bearing replacement and construction methodologies… But above all, I met extraordinary people. Highly experienced, passionate, ultra-invested, incredibly helpful people. I wanted to learn everything, how to stresshow to grout, and this first Australian team taught me so much, I could never pay them back. Freyssinet is not only about the interesting projects that you do; it’s also about the people that you do them with, and the level of support you get from everybody. There are mentors at every level of the organisation. I’ve never come across something like that. 

The joy of managing teams

After Australia, Freyssinet offered me to step up in a senior management role in the United Kingdom. I’m in charge of Business Development and Sales for the Southern region of UKwhere our business is growing strongly (especially repair)I oversee strategic business growth, and to my great pleasure, people management. I don’t know if it’s the Irishman or the former sports person in me, but I’m passionate about managing teams. I enjoy being a good captain and I put a lot of work on building a culture of solidarity and responsibility within the teams, in order for us to be more efficient 

Listening to our customers

My job is also to promote a customer-centric culture within Freyssinet, in order to achieve simple logical solutions best suited to the client’s needs. Let’s take an example: a general contractor wants to add 2 stories to a 10-story existing building (that’s very common in London!). We’ll price what the customer wants, but we’re also going to suggest our ExoLeaf® high-performance concrete technology, to reduce the amount of concrete involved in conventional strengthening techniqueswhilst also reducing the site duration of the job from 50 to 25 weeks (as most of the ExoLeaf® formwork is prefabricated off site)extend the overall lifespan of the entire building, give the client some options to go up again in the future, while significantly reducing the site’s carbon footprint. And at the end of the day, win the tender, of course! 

 

Some useful qualities to succeed at Freyssinet?  

Patience. Good communication. Resilience, to constantly face the unexpected! 

A flagship project for Freyssinet?

The Hammersmith flyover repair job. This is a key section of the M4 motorwaythe main arterial route from the west into London, which was closed on Christmas Day 2011 because of structural degradations. Freyssinet did an emergency strengthening to get it back open quickly to motorists, before the 2012 Olympics. Then we developed a 3-year approach plan that allowed the work to be carried out without stopping traffic, and extended the flyover’s lifespan by some 50 years. All of Freyssinet’s DNA is there: complex, quick, adaptive, innovative engineering solutions. 

3 words to describe Freyssinet? 

Excellence, pragmatism, family spirit. 

 

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