Rick Herd, CEO of Naylor Love Construction, has spent his entire career in the building and engineering industries. His first role was with the New Zealand Ministry of Works and Development, where he did a civil engineering cadetship which focused on roadwork and bridging. After a 10-year tenure there, he left to join a local construction company as its general foreman, and worked his way up the ladder over the next decade to eventually become the regional construction manager.
“I had been moving around the country, as you do in the construction industry, and it was time for me to settle down with a family, so I did an MBA and graduated in 1995,” Rick explains. “That gave me the opportunity to get involved in general management, and I took on a role as the CEO of a marine engineering company in Nelson, New Zealand. I spent two years there, and then five years with the world-scale engineered-wood products company Nelson Pine Industries Limited. After that, I joined Brightwater Engineers as CEO and grew that to have offices in Perth, Melbourne, Auckland, and Christchurch. I have now been with Naylor Love Construction as CEO for almost three years.”
Rick says his leadership style has changed considerably over the years to evolve into what it is today. “As you would understand, I come very much from an operational background. One of my greater learnings is that as you develop your career, particularly as a CEO, a lot hinges on communication.
It’s about leading people, and about articulating the visions, needs, and goals of the company consistently and regularly so that everybody is aligned.
That’s probably the key focus for the CEO, to make sure that the team’s goals and the needs of the company are very well communicated so that everybody is driving towards the same thing. You need to be making sure you are keeping your head above the trenches and having the troops espouse the need to move in the right direction.”