Creative, tick. Inventive, tick. Resourceful, tick. You could be our next General Manager
With 5,000 acres, 17 miles of coastline and a further 14 miles of estuary, four historic properties open to the public, 16 holiday cottages, a harbour with a harbour master and numerous rental properties and farmland, the Isle of Wight is fantastically varied. That’s one of the reasons Tony loved his role as General Manager.
Tony’s background includes working his way from Tree Surgeon to Foreman Forester in the South West, before moving back to his homeland to act as Senior Ranger for 10 years. Tony did not settle as Senior Ranger; he became Head Warden, Countryside Manager, Property Manager and finally moved into the prestigious role of General Manager. He has an impressive history of moving up through the ranks, which should be shared and celebrated.
His role as General Manager required him to lead from the front, turning strategy into reality and delivering across a broad range of operational areas. To do that, he spent a lot of time building relationships with the local community. “It’s really about meeting people and talking to them as much as possible, keeping them updated with all the work the National Trust is doing here,” explains Tony. “Some issues can be a bit difficult, especially when it comes to coastal change for example. But it’s my job to reassure them that this work is for the best and what’s likely to happen and why.”
He also explains that his team are integral to his ability to do the job: “My team are fantastic. A lot of them have been here for a long time and their knowledge of the island is extensive, so I am always respectful of that, and it’s down to them that we’ve achieved all that we have.”
Tony explains that being an island the sea affects everything he does. “There’s a lot to do with the changing coastline, maintaining access, how we go about informing visitors and locals of that change and what the future might look like. But also our buildings, they are all affected by the sea and it really permeates through everything we do.” Tony goes on to say that there’s always something to do or something to revisit. “There’s constantly some way of improving the places we look after – and it’s not just physical improvements, like maintaining a building restoring a wildlife habitat, but making sure that visitors can relate to those places and get the best out of them.”
The Isle of Wight portfolio is certainly better equipped to deal with visitors than when Tony started as General Manager 22 years ago. He explains that he has developed and diversified the portfolio on offer to appeal to the changing market of weekend and short holidays. “This really highlights the need to be adaptable in the role of General Manager – you need to be inventive, creative and resourceful to make the island successful,” says Tony.