Don Harvey is a “seasoned” and “excellent” construction specialist, looked upon with enormous favour for his leading expertise on the delay side.
Mr Harvey is a managing director at Secretariat (a leading provider of expert services). Mr Harvey provides advice on delay, cost/damages and productivity/inefficiency. He has been engaged on many of the highest-profile construction disputes in the world such as the Panama Canal, Wembley Stadium and the Burj Khalifa. Mr Harvey is known for his independence and common-sense approach. He is one of the leading testifying experts in the construction dispute arena. Mr Harvey is a civil engineer with an MBA in finance.
How would you describe your management style?
We try to hire the best and empower our people which would mean hands-off or a light touch when required. The firm is a great shop for people that don’t require lots of oversight.
How has Secretariat approached the challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic?
I used to be a pessimist on flexible schedules/working from home. We were incredibly flexible with our people, and they stepped up to the challenge and proved me wrong. It’s been great to watch as a manager.
How have you sought to overcome the lack of personal interaction between co-workers and clients due to remote working arrangements?
We tried to do as much as possible on Zoom/Teams etc. I must say I am over Zoom coffees/happy hours.
What distinguishes Secretariat from its competitors?
Without a doubt our culture. Many firms talk about their culture - we live it.
What have you accomplished in the last year that you are most proud of?
We had six people testify for the first time in their careers. It is great to watch people develop.
As the founder of Secretariat, how would you like to see the firm develop in the next five years?
We will continue to grow selectively because we have become an employer of choice. The key will be to maintain our culture and the quality of our work.
What do you think can be done for younger practitioners to ensure they stay connected in a virtual world?
They need to do everything possible to interact in person with our clients and solicitors. I would encourage them to attend as many in-person hearings, meetings, conferences etc. as possible to develop relationships.
What advice would you give to those one day hoping to be in your position?
Maintain your integrity, treat people fairly, and always give more than you take.