From paper round to Partner, planning expert, David Ramsay, returns to Vail Williams

March 15, 2018

He may have started out with a modest paper round at 12, and spent some time in prison (working, not doing time!), but for our latest recruit, David Ramsay, a return to Vail Williams was what he really wanted!

OK, we might be over-egging it a bit there, but we’re thrilled that planning expert, David Ramsay, has returned to the Vail Williams ranks – this time as Partner, having spent the last three years at Jones Laing LaSalle (JLL)

Specialising in planning and development for both residential and commercial property, and with experience of working across a number of sectors including healthcare, education and leisure development, David will be based at our Southampton office.

We spoke to him to find out a bit more about what really makes him tick.

Where are you joining Vail Williams from?

I’m returning to Vail Williams after spending nearly three years at JLL where I was a Director, heading up the firm’s planning and development team in the Solent region.

Prior to that, I was based at Vail Williams’ Guildford and Southampton offices for five years as an Associate.

What’s the most high-profile thing you’ve worked on?

I’ve worked on several high-profile projects across the Solent region, from strategic housing developments comprising over 1,000 units, to advising on the new state-of-the-art sports building for Southampton Solent University.

What attracted you to the post at Vail Williams?

For me, it was really about the diversity of the role and the ability to work for such a forward-looking company. Vail Williams’ reputation in the market place – both regionally within the Solent and nationally – has grown a lot in recent years.

This, coupled with its core values, proved a significant pull factor for me and I’m looking forward to playing a role in the future growth of the company, as we seek to exploit new markets.

What are your ambitions in the role?

I’m looking forward to driving the firm’s Solent business forward and helping to further enhance the company’s reputation locally, regionally and nationally.

In the new role, I’ll be looking to grow the planning team and raise the profile of the work we do.

What’s the best thing about working in property, and why?

I enjoy being involved in the delivery of good quality developments and helping to play a key role in ‘placemaking’ – the creation of new and exciting places for people to live and work.

It’s also a particularly interesting area of property advice, because you get to work through the whole property development lifecycle, seeing projects through from inception and design, to planning consent and construction.

If you could work in any other profession, what would it be and why?

I’d be an Architect if my drawing skills weren’t so bad! It’s what I had wanted to do as a child, so sticking with the built environment, I went into planning instead.

What was your first ever job?

I started out with a modest paper round at 12, but my first ‘proper’ job after University was as an assistant planner.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

To take the best attributes from the influential people in your life and try and be that person.

What book are you reading at the moment?

I quite like books where you can learn something about yourself through the experiences of others, so at the moment I’m reading the latest book from Dragon’s Den investor, Sir Peter Jones. It’s called Tycoon and is basically about how you can achieve anything if you simply have the guts, determination and ideas to.

Tell us a surprising fact about yourself

Whilst at University, I spent a fun summer working the switchboard at a prison. I was working alongside a great colleague and it was a really interesting job, as you can imagine!

Have you ever had a hair-raising moment, if so, what was it?

I was once mugged at gunpoint in Manchester, coming out of a video shop (which probably don’t even exist anymore!). That was pretty hair-rais


What’s your favourite band?

I have quite a varied taste in music depending on how I feel, but U2 or Coldplay would probably be favourites – both incredible live.