People of NOMA: Meet Dan Hyde

NOMA’s innovative neighbourhood-led design offers outstanding connectivity, embraces Mancunian culture and exists to keep people and the community firmly at its heart. This series of blogs shines a light on some of the faces behind NOMA who help create this sense of place, showcasing why it’s such a vibrant and thriving place to live, work and play.

Meet Dan Hyde, Development Director at MEPC – who believes passionately that places are better when people are involved in making them. We find out a bit more about what makes him tick outside of work, as well as some of the challenges and opportunities he’s had in the industry.

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What’s it like being you?

I am constantly juggling my role at MEPC, spending time with my wife and three children – as well as my all-important allotment.

What got you into the built environment?

I grew up in Fiji and before returning back to the UK when I was six. During our time overseas, my family and I visited Australia. I remember seeing the Sydney Opera House on the waterfront for the first time, and that moment still sticks with me now. That feeling of awe and pure amazement was fantastic, and I remember thinking that I would have loved to have been a part of creating such an stunning and iconic structure.

What has been your biggest career challenge to date?

Considering my previous career was as a professional rugby player, the transition to a 9-5 working week was a huge change. Going from intense periods of hard work but then having off-season periods when I could recharge and relax, to then a ‘typical’ working week was quite challenging. I had to really focus on not burning myself out and maintaining a healthy work-life balance, which I feel like I’ve now got a hold of.

The Neighbourhood

Luckily for people like Dan, the new NOMA development has been designed to allow work and play to coexist, with a variety of outdoor spaces, restaurants, shops and bars. By designing NOMA around the people who work there, the campus aims to improve wellbeing and employee attraction and satisfaction.

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What have you worked on that you’re most proud of?

The 20-acre NOMA development in Manchester’s city centre is genuinely something that I have become extremely passionate about – I feel really proud of what we’ve achieved so far, and I can see our vision coming to fruition. As we near completion on 4 Angel Square, the first operationally Net Zero building to come to market, I can honestly say NOMA is leading the way in creating a sustainable, collaborative and creative neighbourhood.

4 Angel Square

4 Angel Square is leading the way towards a more stable climate and sustainable future. This Net Sero 200,000 sq ft contemporary office will operate from a 100% renewable energy supply and will bring over 2,000 workers to the buzzing community of businesses, residents and creatives.

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What do you think your best quality is?

I think I developed some of my best qualities through my rugby career. There are lots of traits in sport that can, and have, been applied to my work in the built environment; honesty and integrity, loyalty, teamwork and enjoyment.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

Diversity. Whether it is construction, or the overall property sector, there needs to be a real drive for better diversity across the industry. Bringing more opinions and perspectives forward into discussion about the future of place-making is vital and it’s paramount to making sure we are creating areas and neighbourhoods for all, not just the few.

MEPC is helping to tackle gender inequality within the construction industry by setting up the Women into Construction group. The group is currently working through a 12-month training programme to help main contractors, and related professional organisations, become inclusive leaders of diverse teams.

What’s your most prized possession?

I remember when I stopped playing professional rugby, I was finally able to represent Yorkshire at senior level in the County Championship. So, my first Yorkshire cap or my Championship winners’ medal from Twickenham has to be up there.

What’s a secret skill we don’t know you have?

I can play the didgeridoo – with circular breathing!

What single piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in your profession?

Closed minds lead to nowhere. Be open-minded. You don’t know where or who the best piece of advice is going to come from.

Collaborative working spaces

The collaborative working spaces available at NOMA are a great way to meet new people and provide brilliant networking opportunities. The cross-exposure of skills, knowledge and life experiences allow for rich conversations and professional collaboration.