Name: James Behrens
Degree and university: Reading University – BSc, Cambridge University – Graduate Diploma in Law, Cranfield School of Management – MBA
Job title: Country Director for Gazeley India Private Limited.
What do you do?
I am setting up a warehouse development business in India. The business will support our parent company, Wal-Mart, as well as other existing multi national customers operating in India and Indian logistics companies. Our customers operate in the retail, automotive, and pharmaceutical sectors as well as third party logistics. We are in Europe and China and to date we have constructed 56 million sq ft of distribution development. We opened the office in India in September 2007.
Were you always interested in Transport and Logistics?
I started out as a solicitor and practiced as a corporate lawyer in the City of London. Following my MBA I looked for a more commercial role where I could participate as a principal rather than as an advisor. I also wanted to be involved in a company with international aspirations and which had a product.
What do you most like about what you do?
It’s a cliché, but no two days are the same. I get to meet all sorts of companies and learn about all types of businesses – particularly as nearly every company is involved in logistics in one way or another. I also like working in teams, and as nbso online casino reviews a developer we work with property consultants, architects, engineers, lawyers, accountants, ecologists, environmentalists – the list goes on. Our company is also at the forefront of delivering sustainable warehousing – so we are continually improving the construction and design of our buildings to reduce the environmental impact – of both the development and use phase of the buildings. Given how topical environmental issues have become, it’s great to be involved in a company which is passionate about such issues.
Are there any downsides?
We build large scale distribution facilities – often as part of a logistics park. Because of the size of the projects the timescales can be fairly long and the turnover of projects is low.
What skills do you think you need to succeed in what you do?
You have to be a team player and be able to manage large numbers of people from different disciplines. You have to be able to assess and prioritise the risks involved in each project. Normally the devil is in the detail – and small risks may become big challenges further into the life of a project.
What advice would you give graduates coming into this sector?
Working in the property part of the logistics industry is a fun business to be in – you get to actually see and touch the end product. It’s also a very people-orientated business – so the more people you get to meet, the easier it becomes.