The woman building a multi-million pound construction business in Gloucestershire

Unphased by becoming the first female managing director of a construction firm with a 100-year pedigree, Joanne Casey is quietly shaping a multi-million pound Gloucestershire business.

By Andrew Merrell  |  Published

Joanne Casey has that easy clarity that can make a point strongly without being divisive and a reputation for getting things done well – which helps explain why Scottish firm Mactaggart & Mickel’s chose her to head-up its English operations.

A Glaswegian, her three decades in the construction industry have been marked by a rise from working mum to board level, most recently becoming managing director of Cheltenham-based Mactaggart & Mickel Homes England.

All-in, the group of businesses describes itself as having net assets of £147m with a ‘homes asset base’ of £111m, declaring itself ‘delighted at the trading performance so far in 2021, once the easing of lockdown restrictions began’.

‘We have 10 staff working in Cheltenham House. We started looking around for other opportunities and started to buy land in about 2007/8.

‘It was challenging for a company our size to move into other markets, but we have made good progress,’ said Ms Casey, whose father played professional football, had connections to Celtic FC no less, and later became a bookmaker.

The group has seven divisions – homes, investments, strategic land, timber systems, commercial property, contracts and lettings.

Its Cheltenham offices have been promoting land at a 49-acre site in Churchdown for development since 2010; have been part of a consortium looking to build 500 homes near Tewkesbury; and had made inroads into Oxfordshire too.

In 2019, it declared an aim to deliver 200 new homes per year in the south of England and Midlands and, since 2017, has secured planning consent on more than 400 acres representing land values of £200 million-plus.

Ms Casey is the first female managing director in the firm’s near hundred-year history – as well as its director responsible for sales, marketing and architectural design.

‘I came into the business through sales and there were a lot of women in sales. When I worked for Miller homes the managing director was a women who had also been a sales director and was promoted. So, I never thought of progression as impossible.

‘Perhaps it was rare to see women in more senior roles,’ she said.

A glance at the board of directors of Mactaggart & Mickel shows she is not the lone women around its boardroom table.

Outside of her day-job she is a founder of Business Beats Cancer, along with Yvonne Brady and Jo Milmine, which has raised £350,000 to date to fund research into treatments for cancer.

It is a disease she describes as ‘indiscriminate and brutal’ which, when she was just 22, took her 49-year-old father and her 18-year-old brother.

It is something she remains committed to and passionate about, but currently it is moving Mactaggart & Mickel onwards and upwards through the pandemic that is her focus and she sees great opportunity from the firm’s Gloucestershire base.

By Andrew Merrell

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