Who are you? My name is John Lockhart, and I am Company Chairman, and the Director of Marketing and Business Development. I graduated from Cirencester in 1984 and founded Lockhart Garratt in May 1998.
What do you do? Pretty much anything and everything, and I am told that I even make a pretty good cup of tea. In my early career my focus was in forestry and woodland management following in my father’s footsteps. However. now my principle activities are focused around some of the larger cross discipline projects where I aim to bring a wider land management focus and help to guide and coordinate our technical input. I have been heavily involved in Green Infrastructure and more recently Natural Capital, in particular how this can help to guide and shape major development activity to deliver truly sustainable environmental gains.
In addition to my professional work I lead the business marketing and in particular spend time developing relationships with key partners and influencers across all of our professional sectors. I also provide support and guidance to members of our fantastic team, hopefully helping them to become better more rounded professionals. Finally, I provide support to the sector principally, through the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in helping to develop policy and share knowledge across the sector.
What projects have you found particularly interesting to be involved with? There have been many over the last twenty years, but the one that really stands out was securing planning for the development of the 85 ha Stanion Lane Plantation at Corby. Through positive engagement with the stakeholders and the client we were able to bring parties together to consider the wider context for a development project and explore where it could deliver real benefits and opportunities in the wider Green Infrastructure network. Despite the challenges of the 2008 property crash we were able to maintain a positive dialogue across the project teams and it is fantastic to see the project finally come to fruition this summer.
On a completely different tack, I was delighted and privileged to be involved with the Royal Forestry Society’s woodland creation project in the National Forest; Battram Wood. This project now stands out as fantastic example of what can be achieved through the creation of a genuinely mixed purpose commercial forest. It is quite something to think that it will be still there providing pleasure to many generations long after I have departed this mortal coil.
Last and by no means least it has been fantastic to be instrumental in the establishment and development of Lockhart Garratt from its humble beginnings in 1998 to the business it is today. There is something uniquely satisfying in bringing a fabulous group of people together and see them flourish and grow over the years. It will, I am sure, be equally rewarding to see how we can develop over the coming decades.
Favourite Lockhart Garratt moment to date? It is again very difficult to pick any one moment. However, for me the ones that bring back the happiest and proudest memories are where we have been able to bring the staff and their families together to meet a joint challenge. In 2013 we took on the 34mile Corby Round Walk to raise funds for the Lakelands Hospice with many staff, families and friends completing this gruelling challenge, despite hosts of blisters, sprains and exhaustion. I recall that as we sat on the steps of the Queen Eleanor cross at Geddington, the collective spirit to crack on for those last five miles was amazing. Many happy memories that can still bring a smile to my face.
What are your interests and hobbies? Time always seems to be at a premium, but in my spare time I enjoy country sports and am a keen shot and fly fisherman when I get a chance. I also enjoy a round of golf and have been privileged to play some excellent courses over the last few years not least the “Goldfinger” course at Stoke Park. I also enjoy cycling and have helped organise a number of long distance trips, including the C2C route with our local village cycling group. I also helped establish and ran our local Walgrave music and beer festival ‘Groove on the Green’ for the last ten years. This year I have finally been able to pass on the baton and I am really looking forward to enjoying this year’s event as a punter. If you are around on the 1st September you should come and check it out, great bands, beer and cider. Most recently, after my wife Katherine bought me a wood lathe I have become hooked on wood turning and have had hours of pleasure turning some interesting pieces and allowing the woods real beauty to shine through. Quite a fitting hobby for someone whose professional career has evolved around woodlands and trees for so long.