Dan Green, associate director, acquisitions, at Firethorn Trust, on how he got started in property. He also shares some cultural recommendations and reveals which celebrity he’d most like to spend an hour with.
How did you join the property industry?
At school, my strength was working with numbers and I was always focused on a career in property. I completed an MA in real estate investment at Cass Business School and decided private equity and investment was the route for me, so then joined Tristan Capital – which is where I met Peter Mather and Chris Webb, the founders of Firethorn Trust.
What does your job entail?
I lead on acquisitions – from finding new sites to invest in to navigating the legal and commercial negotiations to the point of completion. I have a strong focus on growing our industrial development pipeline, which means plenty of networking and market research to ensure we are investing in the right locations and sectors.
What do you like most about the property industry?
At its heart, the property industry is a people business – you have to build relationships on a daily basis and I love the social aspects of the job. There’s also a sense of achievement in working with something so tangible – transforming a bare field into a developed site. It’s also hugely rewarding that we can make a difference to the everyday. Our new logistics developments may enable next-day delivery of someone’s weekly food shop or manufacture a product they use daily.
And what do you dislike most about it?
The planning process. The UK has a far stricter planning process than many other countries and the stress of a planning committee, and the uncertainty of which way the decision will go, is always a challenging part of the build process.
What do you want to change about the industry?
I’d like to see people’s understanding of developers change – I feel the general perception is that developers only seek to maximise profit at the expense of everything else. However, more and more developers – including Firethorn – are at the forefront of creating best-in-class workspaces that hugely benefit employee wellbeing. There’s also a strong focus on sustainability and net carbon zero schemes. There is a drive from the industry to make a positive difference and this is something to communicate and be proud of.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Despite taking a fairly traditional route into the sector – via a financial economics degree, MA and roles at two established companies – I’m incredibly proud of the business we are growing at Firethorn. It’s fantastic to work for a true market disruptor and a company that is passionate about thinking big. I joined the team from day one – and it has now grown from four employees to 12, with six live projects, within just three years.
What do you value in people?
Openness, a sense of humour and being easy to get on with. Honesty and integrity are also important to me – the opportunity to build trustworthy, long-term professional relationships is something I really value.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
People, people, people… it is so important to grow your network and listen to advice – especially from those with years of experience. Never think you know everything and have nothing to learn.