Louise Mortimer – Design Manager at Wernick Buildings
My name is Louise Mortimer and I am the Design Manager at Wernick Buildings. My role is to support the sales team by working on client design concepts and tender documentation.
My design background started with designing commercial kitchens – such as those in prisons, airports and food courts. This involved working closely with architects on those projects and visiting sites – the prisons were pretty eye opening! After 12 years of doing that, I wanted to spread my wings and find a challenge for myself.
That is when I moved into the modular industry. I gained a technical background in design with a modular company where I stayed for five years until I started a family and moved closer to relatives. That led to me working in timber structures – I managed a team of ten – and we designed timber holiday and park homes.
After five years there, I moved over to a steel company where my team helped to develop a light gauge steel structure, essentially a flat pack type system suited to offsite construction. I was unfortunately made redundant from that role due to COVID-19, and that’s when we decided to move to a rural area – living near nature is really important to me.
I approached Wernick Buildings (based in southwest Wales) with my CV and it was decided that I could start in architectural design as there was no specific role open at that time. After that I moved into the Technical team and learnt how everything fits together. My colleagues were quick to embrace me and make me a part of the team, and it’s a very friendly working environment here at Kenfig.
The role is very diverse and allows me to bring experience from different areas to the table. Having experience with many concepts of design helps me to see things from a variety of angles – I ask myself ‘is there a different approach?’ I’ve helped to change minds and encourage others to embrace new ways of doing things – although I’m sure I’ve ruffled a few feathers!
I’m a bit of a geek and enjoy the logical side of things. Integral to my role is the streamlining of processes – and that has so far involved coordinating the Revit roll-out (Autodesk Revit is a building information modelling software) and centralizing our system to allow for better collaboration across projects. This has led to fewer misunderstandings and errors, and it helps us to stay competitive. I’m excited to see the direction we are going in.
Another priority for me once joining the team was to empower my team. During our weekly meetings, I make sure that everyone is confident in their responsibilities for that week and feel supported through their challenges.
Luckily, we get quite a bit of autonomy with the design of our buildings – clients trust us to give them the right solution for their project. Early engagement ensures that we can produce a design that makes the most of our modular systems and the possibilities of offsite construction. Where designs are already supplied by the client, it’s a matter of interpreting the design to fit our systems and managing expectations.
I would absolutely recommend a career with Wernick Buildings. It’s a fast-paced environment, and we all have to work collaboratively and learn from each other – so a team player would be the best fit. It takes a certain type of person to help drive fresh ideas.
Outside of work:
I love the outdoors – which can include hiking, going to the beach, gardening, building things in my garden, paddle-boarding, bike rides and taking my three dogs out for walks.