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30 innings and not out

People By Richard Stratton, Partner & Managing Director, EMENA – 23 April 2024

Richard Stratton smiling in-front of a camera in a photoshoot session with glass and plan on the background.


Richard Stratton smiling in-front of the camera with his navy blue suit at our Cundall Dubai WELL office

Richard Stratton

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Somehow, it’s now 30 years since I first joined Cundall, which I find hard to believe. And every day, I’m still living the dream!

Trying to condense three decades into one brief story is a challenge – but the most important message I want to convey is that you should be brave and follow your dreams. I have been so fortunate to have achieved mine with time to spare, and I urge all passionate engineers and designers to do the same.

I vividly remember first joining Cundall. I was studying part-time at South Bank University in London while working for a competitor, and someone on my course suggested that Cundall was a great place to work. At the time I was exclusively working on healthcare projects, and Cundall needed experienced people to work on a hospital project they had won.

After being interviewed by Laurie Clark and David Dryden, I was accepted into the ranks as an Engineer. I was very lucky to join the company when I did. I was part of a 12-month cohort of semi-graduate and more experienced engineers in London that had included Tomás Neeson, Malcolm Howe and Adrian Roche before me, and we all have been given amazing opportunities over the years of our collective careers to be creative, collaborate with clients and discover new ways to achieve technical excellence.

Perhaps most importantly, we were also empowered to contribute to the successful development of the business. We all started as young and reasonably inexperienced engineers, with an abundance of passion, desire and ambition, not so much for our individual selves but for team Cundall. This mindset is part of the reason that we all went on to become part of the company’s senior leadership as well as part of Cundall's amazing journey to global expansion and incredible growth - all reinforcement of the values that underpinned the business when it was founded. 

Our own growth has occurred in tandem with the evolution of the broader global community. With the rise in digital connectivity and software as standard in business, data centres became an emerging sector. Many nations outside the UK, including in the Middle East, were fast-tracking major infrastructure projects including rail, aviation, big commercial office towers, and renewable energy generation facilities.

As we seized the opportunity to be part of this progress, Cundall developed our culture of work-sharing across the business, as projects outside the UK also planted the seeds for the global network of offices we are today.

My success did not happen in isolation, and I have many people to thank for my three decades of success including my wife Sharon who has supported me throughout my career and my two children (adults now) who have inspired my passion for preservation of our planet.

Also, in the Cundall family, David Dryden let me through the door in the first place and has been an amazing mentor and friend throughout my journey. Peter Stocks taught me the power of delegation, but more importantly empowerment, and also saw potential in me and gave me opportunities that boosted my experience and progression.  Also, Rick Carr, one of the founding Partners that I worked with for all my 14 years in London, taught me all about work winning and client care. 

Along this journey, I have worked with amazing people at all levels who continually inspire me and give me the energy I need to help drive the business forward - from the other members of the management board to the fantastic support teams and the incredible, talented technical experts we are blessed to have. Cundall’s success is completely a function of our people, my colleagues and friends.

Reflecting back over my 30 years it has definitely been hard work at times, however, it has also been exciting, unpredictable, rewarding and given me such purpose and passion. I have made so many lifelong friendships and seen the degree to which we have all contributed positively to our society and our planet.

I was fortunate enough to meet the late Geoffrey Cundall in 2006, shortly before I relocated to Dubai. He was long retired but remained so interested in the evolution of the business he started in 1976. The joy and pride he showed when I told him about our expansion globally and my pending relocation to the Middle East was infectious. Geoffrey’s obvious unwavering love of Cundall certainly inspired me and reinforced a similar passion in me that I will cherish forever and preserve/protect to hand on to the next generation of Cundall leaders.

I am so grateful to everyone, and so proud of what we have all created.

This perhaps reads a bit like a retirement speech - but I’m not hanging up the spurs just yet. In the spirit of sustainability, I may recycle it again in 10 years or so.