March 22, 2021

An interview with Enrok’s Jordan Mallisch

Jordan started out in construction 15-years ago, bricklaying for his dad. Now, he’s the managing director of his own firm, Enrok Construction. Here’s how he went from working on the tools, to working with some of the UK’s leading developers.

He tells his story to Tracey Wright…

 

When did you realise you wanted to work in construction?

It wasn’t a conscious decision. When I left school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do – whereas some people know they want to train to become an architect or lawyer, but I didn’t have that clarity. At the time, my dad owned a local property development company, building and selling houses to homeowners, so he suggested I work for him as a bricklayer – so that’s what I did. It turned out I was good at it – but I didn’t want to be on the tools forever, that much I did know. But I did my Level 3 Bricklaying apprenticeship and even won student of the year. That was 15-years ago. To this day, I always want to see a perfect brick line!

I guess it would have been an obvious step at some point, to take over my dad’s business – but that wasn’t on my radar. I wanted to earn my own stripes and head down a different path. That’s when Laura and I took a leap of faith and set up ATD. We started out buying and renovating property and building extensions. The big step change came when we were building an £18,000 extension locally, and someone put our name forward for a big turnkey conversion project in Birmingham’s business district. It was an eight-storey Grade II listed building on Waterloo Street, converting 32 apartments. It was by far our biggest project to date with a value of £2.8 million. It was certainly challenging, but then every contract is challenging in its own way. This project propelled us forward – there’s absolutely no doubt about it. From there, we took on two more big developments with a value of around £1.65 million each, in Derby and Redditch.

This is how we eventually found our niche. We discovered what we were good at and what we really enjoyed doing – developing new residential builds for UK developers like SevenCapital, Malvern Homes and Severn Property.

 

What have been some of your most significant challenges – what did you learn?

Building our reputation within the industry and getting our name out there took more time than we initially thought. We realise that when you’re dealing with big contract numbers, building trust  around you and your brand doesn’t happen overnight. Being in a position where we were being asked to tender for projects was a gradual process, projects don’t just come to you – you have to build a solid reputation. We’ve worked hard to achieve that. We’ve built our business purely on recommendation – so that trust is now in place.

This last 12-months, we’ve also had a very sharp focus on marketing and networking, which is now paying off. It took us a while to recognise we needed help to market our business and to find our true identity. There was a time we were riding the crest of the wave, but now we know more about our market than we’ve ever done. We have total clarity on where we add the most value, we understand what drives us and what our core values are. The new systems and processes we’ve introduced has given us a stable structure to grow. As a business we’ve gone from being fairly invisible to being on people’s radar – and we’ve done that through developing our marketing with consistency and momentum and by working with people who are playing to their strengths – which leaves us time to play to ours.

 

What has been your proudest moment?

At work, it was rebranding our business early last year to Enrok Construction. The time was right because we’d grown and were still growing, and we wanted to position ourselves in the market as the go to team to build homes and multi-house sites for property developers and landowners. That’s our real niche. That said, we’re also building Ashbourne’s new Sports Pavilion – and we’re tendering for other non-residential developments. These are coming to us because of our reputation. It seems people are very complimentary about us in the industry, which is great to hear.

On the home front, it’s being a fun dad to our two boys Charlie and Freddie. Watching them grow, encouraging them and teaching them new things. I tend to leave the discipline to Laura!

 

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Doing more of the same but on a bigger scale. I’d like to be overseeing more of our projects rather than the day-to-day stuff. We’re already bringing new and experienced people on board who have a vast knowledge of the sector, and who hold the same values as us – who share our vision for the business as well as our aspirations.

Yes, we want to grow the business but it’s just as important for us to keep the personal touch with clients; I’ll always want to be available to them – no matter what I’m doing.

 

What legacy do you want to leave?

It’d be big smiles all round if the boys are proud of what we’ve achieved and wanted to come into the business when they’re older. And even take the business over one day and bring their own kids into it. They may want to do what I did though and plough their own furrow. Who knows.

But what we’re working on right now is building the Enrok name and brand. I think we all want people to say nice things about us, don’t we – I know we do. That’d be a great legacy to leave and build on.

 

What do you do when you’re not working?

This is an easy one – cars, cars and more cars. I really appreciate a nice motor with a seductive growl. Mix that with a trip to Goodwood, then it really is the perfect combination.

Family is important to me. Laura and I have been together for fifteen years and married for five – we love our unit of four and spending time together. Laura also said to tell you that I can perfect a Rubik’s Cube in under a minute. There’s a little nugget for you to finish off the interview!