Meet the Boss
Established in 2015 by former apprentice Lee Summers, Oakmore Builders has grown to become a leading building company throughout Bromley and across South East London, specialising in home extension projects, luxury kitchens and bathrooms, and all major building services.
Lee possesses more than 30 years’ experience in the construction industry, after starting out as an apprentice at 15, having left school. Since then he has grown to become an international entrepreneur, operating property businesses in the UK and abroad.
“As a former apprentice, I am committed to getting young people’s foot on the career ladder, and it is an exciting time for Oakmore as we prepare to welcome our first tranche of apprentices to the company, over the next 12 months.
“We have grown to become one of the leading building companies operating throughout Bromley and I am hoping to continue this positivity, with further growth and investing in the creation of new jobs.”
Oakmore Builders is expecting to more than double its current £400,000 turnover, as well as add to its 10-strong workforce having achieved double-digit growth since 2015.
The company, which operates across South East London, is set to employ its first cohort of apprentices, with Oakmore expecting to take on at least four over the course of the year.
Get to know the Boss
Q: What is it the company does?
A: We are a residential building company specialising in Home Extensions.
Q: Describe your role in no more than 100 words.
A: I am the founder and CEO of Oakmore Builders. My main duty is winning contracts and managing them. I offer a 24/7 service to my clients giving them complete piece of mind. If my clients need me personally they get my full attention, not an automated answering service in Calcutta.
Q: Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
A: I was expelled from school at 15 years old for being a bit rebellious. I never wanted to learn anything at school as I hate being told what to do, I know what’s best and I know exactly how to get it done. After not knowing what to do with my life, I stumbled upon a local builder who was offering an apprenticeship in Bricklaying, I started learning very quickly and decided that I wanted to do this and do it well. After three years at college, I graduated and kept working for the guy I did my apprenticeship for, he was like a father figure to me and I still respect him even to this day. He taught me so much not just about the industry but about life, how to do things properly and work hard to be successful. A few years later I decided to go it alone but this proved extremely hard. I learnt so much but failed miserably. I took some time out and travelled the world – this was the antidote to my success. After considering my options and being a single father, I decided I would try to start my own business again to work the hours that suited me. This lead me on to thinking more about branding, marketing, advertising as I definitely could not fail this time and there was so much more at stake. I had responsibilities now. Oakmore Builders are now the dominant Home Extension specialist in the London Borough of Bromley and there are not enough hours in the day to keep up with demand which is why we are expanding rapidly.
Q: What do you believe makes a great leader?
A: Honestly, a straight talking no nonsense approach, being firm but fair and setting a high example.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
A: The biggest challenge is keeping the company afloat. Most small business’s fail in their first three years as they cannot manage cash flow.
Q: How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
A: The honest answer is I don’t. CEO and stress are like brother and sister. It’s impossible to switch off. I usually don’t sleep well.
Q: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: A fireman, of course ;-))
Q: Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
A: I hate laziness with a passion. I always trust my instinct. If someone is consistently taking the pee, I fire them…. Simple.
Q: Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
A: In five years time Oakmore will own 100% of the market share in South East London. We also have plans to develop our own properties and an Oakmore Clothing brand is on the horizon.
Q: What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
A: Don’t try and copy us. Not everybody is a genius.
Q: What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
A: I wish someone would have told me I will fail, because I love to prove people wrong.