Q&A: Born into the Business – Ollee Koster, Project Manager

8th Feb 2022

Every so often, we receive a phone call and the client will ask “Does Johan Koster still work at White Horse Contractors?”

Whilst that is no longer the case and Johan is enjoying retirement, his grandson Ollee has excelled in his role as Project Manager.
From work experience to today, we discuss his journey at WHC.

Hi Ollee, where are we today?

Hello, we’re at one of our equestrian sites in Wiltshire. We have built up a very good relationship with the client and we’re returning to their estate to redress an indoor arena.

We constructed a polo pitch last year here and this is the start of another phase in the project. It’s a really exciting time for the family and for us, it’s great to come back to a site we know, and to feel trusted to get on with the job is great!

You’ve been a Project Manager for a year now, how did you get to this point in your career?

You could argue I was born into the business! My Dad worked here in the past, my brother had a stint here in the noughties, but most people probably know my surname because of my Grandpa, Johan (seen in our new brochure).

He was a key part of White Horse Contractors in the 60s, predominantly when we were becoming industry leaders in land drainage, irrigation and water supply services.

He gave me a summer job washing machines in the yard, this led on to becoming a Trainee Fitter, a Groundworker, Site Foreman then a huge career shift into the office to become a Project Manager. The pathway is there for people who want to progress here, providing you put in the work.

Some would say you’re the WHC swiss army knife, we’ve seen you do almost everything in your 8 years here!

I have always had a hands-on approach which really helps when you're discussing any projects with our operatives. When they see their Project Manager is happy to jump on a tractor or survey a farmers field to show them what they want from a task, they know I'm not expecting them to do anything I haven't done in the past. I believe in that way of working. I don't want to tell them what to do, I want to show them what we can do as a team.

What projects have you got lined up for this year?

I’ve got a number of exciting equestrian, sports and agricultural projects in the pipeline. I’m also pricing some business park projects that fall into our green open spaces services. Just by the volume of enquiries we’ve had in that sector, you can see businesses are looking to enhance their outside spaces to encourage staff back to work.

Want to know more?

White Horse Contractors and Group partner S&C Slatter have recently completed works for a new sports hub project including a new at the Winnersh Triangle Business Park as part of a £6m investment into the "Reworking Winnersh Project".

Find out more on our green open spaces and infrastructure page.

Winnersh Triangle Sports Hub project in Berkshire

Talking of business culture, what do you think is the best aspect of working at White Horse?

The people here are special. Admittedly, I’ve grown up around quite a few of them, but you get a sense that people enjoy working with us. Both internally and externally. Clients know us because we are friendly and fiercely loyal when it comes to their projects.

Our aim remains the same, we work to get the best out of a project site and communicate regularly with our clients to achieve this. We treat all sites with the respect they deserve, and when we complete the job, we ensure the best possible outcome for all parties. I think that’s why we have gained the trust of the people we work with. We earn it.

You’ve recently bought your first home with your partner. Congratulations! How are you settling in?

It was an absolute whirlwind over the Christmas period. We finally moved in on New Year's Eve!

Amy and I work full-time, when we get home we're straight back to work renovating our house! As you can imagine, it’s a crazy time but we’re very excited to finally be in!

For more information call 01865 736272 or email whc@whitehorsecontractors.co.uk