Jordan Lance, Director of IT, Richter

As the Director of IT for Richter Associates, a civil engineering and temporary works specialist design consultancy, Jordan Lance is accountable for the definition of and delivery of the group’s corporate IT strategy, budgets and digital transformations enabling the business to deliver on its wider strategic objectives and financial goals. With 11 years of technology and IT experience, he has gained expertise in infrastructure, service delivery and strategic planning spanning many sectors, with a particular interest in the Construction and Engineering areas, successfully delivering IT services and solutions to some of the UK’s most complex and innovative construction projects.

Recently in an exclusive interview with Digital First Magazine, Jordan shared his professional trajectory, insights on the three major trends in the construction industry to keep an eye on, the secret sauce behind his success, future plans, words of wisdom, and much more. The following excerpts are taken from the interview.

Hi Jordan. Please tell us about your background and areas of expertise.

I have been in the IT and technology industry for around 11 years now. I started as an IT Apprentice, straight out of school and have held roles like Service Desk, NOC Engineer, Field Technician and Infrastructure Engineer since I started my career. While doing the role of a Field Technician I found my interest piqued with all things IT Infrastructure related; servers, networks, databases, end-user computing, security etc. and wanted to pursue that field of information technology more than any other area. I also have a keen interest in engineering and construction and have spent a good proportion of my career to date within the construction and engineering sector. Working with both small and large construction businesses, delivering IT solutions to some of the UK’s largest and most complex engineering projects. It is something that I am very proud of, and I am equally grateful to the teams I have worked with over the years that have also been a part of these projects. My area of expertise sits firmly within that IT Infrastructure space; however, as my career turned towards leadership, I found a passion for digital transformation and the ‘business end’ of IT within organizations. Leaning on my prior infrastructure and project management experience enabled me to explore IT strategy, and financials, and look at what technology can do, and how it can be used to drive organizations forward. In my current role with Richter Associates, I have the opportunity to use every aspect of my experience gained over the last decade to implement meaningful solutions that solve business problems.

What do you love the most about your current role?

I have been with Richter Associates now for a little over 3 years and no two days have been the same, and it would be hard to find one aspect I love more than another. One of the enjoyable parts of working for a growing SME with big growth plans is that I often get to wear different hats throughout a normal week. One day I may be working with our Director of Finance on budgets and forecasting, the next working with our Head of IT Service and Projects on project delivery and service improvement, and the next delivering new cloud services or undertaking infrastructure migrations. I enjoy that element of my role as it means I am more hands-on. I am not only accountable for the department’s performance and ensuring that we meet our strategy and financial targets, which are important parts of my role, but I also remain closely aligned with what the wider IT team are doing and what challenges and success they are having, enabling me to use my experience to help or provide a different perspective on something they are working on or celebrate successes when they happen and not too late down the line.

What are the three major trends do you foresee in your industry in the next 12 months?

The construction industry is a hub of technological innovation from the way new projects are modelled, conceptualized, and designed to the innovation in construction methodologies by reducing the use of concrete for a more sustainable building or modular/DfMA project to reduce timelines and improve safety on site. The three major trends I foresee coming not only into the construction industry but also into the IT industry are wide-scale Artificial Intelligence adoption, greater adoption of LiDAR and Photogrammetry scanning and advancements in Automation.

AI, I see becoming widely adopted by many organizations after successful trial periods. We are seeing companies and councils like Softcat and Barnsley Council rolling out Microsoft Copilot organization-wide to leverage the productivity benefits that can be achieved. Drone scanning has been around for a while and the explosion in popularity of drones in recent years, forcing the introduction of drone license from the CAA [Civil Aviation Authority] in 2018 means that it is now more accessible for many businesses that may not have been able to use it before. Utilizing LiDAR and drone technologies within the construction industry will continue to increase data accuracy and improve safety. Lastly, I see further advancements in automation across the IT industry reducing human intervention on repetitive tasks and allowing resources to focus on other initiatives that cannot be automated.

You were recently recognized as one of 100 CIO & CTO leaders, achieving number 8 in the top 100. Our readers would love to know the secret sauce behind your success.

Being recognized by Marlow Business School, creators of The International CTO Programme. To be included alongside other fantastic talents within the IT industry, across a wide variety of sectors and be recognised as number #8 in the 2024 CIO & CTO World 100 is a great honour and a career highlight for me. In terms of my ‘secret sauce’ the first small one is “you’ve got to be in it, to win it”, I know many amazing talents that may not have thought about entering or nominating a colleague who deserves recognition. You have nothing to lose by entering, but if you do not enter, you’ll never know.

Second and more importantly to that, as cliché as it sounds, hard work truly pays dividends. Throughout my career, I have always actively looked for opportunities to gain experience in topics, technologies, processes etc. that I may not be familiar with and have always taken new opportunities that are presented to me that will add to my experience and knowledge of other subject areas. In addition, building relationships where you can lean on an individual or a group for help, and not be worried about asking a question is important. No one achieves success in isolation and surrounding yourself with a team that supports each other, shares knowledge and is working towards a common goal creates avenues for success for everyone.

Lastly, maintaining a clear vision for my career has guided me throughout. Since starting in the IT industry 11 years ago I have had my sights set on a goal that I want to achieve and that has been my driving force to continue pushing myself, gaining more experience, getting relevant qualifications and getting comfortable stepping out of my comfort zone. These would be the 3 or 4 things I can say are key reasons for my successful career to date and they will continue to underpin my successes going forward.

If you could have a one-hour meeting with someone famous who is alive or dead, who would it be and why?

A tricky question as there are many people who I’d like to talk to, especially in the technology space but if I have to pick one it would have to be Steve Jobs. Seen as a pioneer of function and form, he was a visionary leader and transformed the technology industry completely, helping to introduce personal computing in the 1970s. Also, the 2015 film based on him, Steve Jobs, with Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet, is one of my personal favourites.

I would like to talk with him about his approach to innovation and how he balanced both technical and creative aspects of some of the most successful technology products Apple has produced like the iPod, iPhone and iPad. I am also interested in his leadership style and how he was able to foster a culture of excellence in every product they produced. In addition, getting his views on the future of technology and how it looks now, I think gaining his perspective on how new emerging technologies can be used would be incredibly insightful.

Is there a particular person you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are?

Many people have helped me achieve the successes I’ve seen in my career so far. As I spoke about earlier on, no one achieves success in isolation, and it would be unfair for me to single out any one individual. That being said, I am very grateful for my family, my parents and brothers specifically, for their unwavering support and encouragement, my stepdad, Paul Giles, who works with me in my team now, for getting me into the IT industry and teaching me lots that I still carry with me today. In addition, I have had fantastic managers and mentors over the years, to name a few, Julia Maclachan in Software Asset Management in my apprenticeship 11 years ago, Matthew Price for his support throughout my time at Laing O’Rourke and afterwards with my professional accreditations and many from my current employer Richter, for example, Abouzar Jahahanshi, Roger Tice, Lee Simm, Shaun May and Colin Harwood for putting their trust in me to take the reigns of the IT and Technology landscape within Richter and its wider, global group.

I wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I have and do what I do now without all the support, encouragement and experience from those named above, and many others who I haven’t named. I want to take the opportunity here to thank them all for their continued support.

How do you keep your mind healthy and stay resilient? And how do you motivate your team?

To keep my mind healthy, I tend to go for a run 2-3 times a week where possible to help maintain both my physical and mental health. Running I find clears my mind and allows me to ‘reset’ and focus on just my running whether that be for a short or long run. Additionally, I use the focus settings on my mobile to help maintain a healthy work-life balance where I can switch off from work mode in the evening and at weekends. Stress is managed by reviewing my workload frequently, delegating tasks and reprioritizing my workload to avoid having too much to do in a short space of time.

My leadership style blends authoritative and affiliative approaches, providing clear direction while fostering a collaborative and supportive environment. I encourage open communication and actively seek feedback through an ‘open door’ policy and regular service reviews. This inclusive approach ensures that team members feel valued and empowered, promoting a culture of continuous improvement.

What does the term “authentic leadership” mean to you?

To me, authentic leadership means leading with integrity, transparency and honesty. You should be true to your values and beliefs and align your actions with these. Authentic leaders have good self-awareness and understand their areas of strength and development and can build trust and foster good relationships with their team members. It is also about being able to lead by example, I believe you shouldn’t ask your team/a team member to do something you would not be prepared to do, and you should be accountable for your actions whether they are good or bad.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

In the next 5 years, I see myself continuing to grow and evolve more as I move into a less hands-on CIO position and aim to be a technology leader across the UK and Europe. I’d like to take on a more strategic role within my organization, where I can continue to drive the business and technology forward, leading larger and more diverse teams and projects that have a positive impact on my businesses and the industry’s success.

In addition, I see myself mentoring the next generation of IT professionals, sharing my experiences and knowledge that will help guide others through their careers. This is something I am passionate about and I would really enjoy the idea of giving back to others what my peers have given to me throughout my career so far. Lastly, I plan on staying engaged with new technologies and industry trends, this may include exploring things like AI, security and more sustainable technology solutions.

Given your experiences and achievements, what advice would you give to aspiring technology leaders who aim to make a positive impact in their organizations and the industry as a whole?

To aspiring technology leaders, my advice is to embrace continuous learning and stay updated with industry trends. The technology landscape evolves quickly, so find and take opportunities for new learning, and hands-on projects to expand your experience, knowledge and skills. Build a collaborative and inclusive team culture and surround yourself with people you can lean on to learn from and work with to achieve the best possible outcome.

In addition, perfection isn’t always a requirement. This is something I personally have had to learn as well, being able to find the balance between a solution that works and meets the requirements vs. the perfect solution is a fine balancing act, but an essential skill to learn. Sometimes delivering something that can be built upon is better than delivering something late.

Content Disclaimer

Related Articles