A man of many talents
Published: 28 Aug 2015
Name: Charles P Skene OBE DBA
Company: Owns a number of businesses in the north-east including Skene Apartments and Inchmarlo Retirement Village. He is also the Holder of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion and a visiting professor of entrepreneurship at the Robert Gordon University.
I am passionate about entrepreneurship and have lectured on the subject for many years. This morning as I drive to meet Professor Gary McEwan at Elevator at the Hub, Bridge of Don to discuss potential involvement with his business students, I am listening to Kaye Adams’ radio phone-in on the subject of Donald Trump and his presidential ambitions.
At Elevator I find the facilities are absolutely first class. I meet with a business consultant and two clients who are starting up their own businesses. New business start-ups are the way forward for the north east of Scotland and I very much support such endeavours. I volunteer to help by teaching some of my case studies based on the Harvard Business School type teaching.
I have just enough time to get back to our offices at Rubislaw Den to attend a board meeting of our Skene Business Centres. We are the oldest provider of Serviced Offices in Aberdeen, having started in 1984. Having recently purchased another building in Queen’s Gardens adjacent to our current business centre, which when completed will provide 150 desks, there is lots of discussion regarding furnishings, building issues and so on.
For lunch I head off to our Inchmarlo Retirement Village at Banchory for a monthly board meeting. Occupancy levels in the care home remain as usual at over 90%. Discussions include the garden party which is to be held in two days’ time. More than 120 home owners and other guests have accepted our invitation for music, drinks and canapés on the lawn.
Julie Mackenzie, our general manager and I discuss our next food tasting dinner, our 43rd where new recipes will be trialled for inclusion in our menus. Over the years I have visited many Michelin starred restaurants throughout the world and although I can’t cook myself, I am always passing on recipes to our head chef Colin. Lunch today is escalope of salmon with Sorrel sauce, the recipe by Jean & Pierre Troisgros and Steamed Treacle Sponge – Rick Stein. Outstanding.
After lunch a walk around the estate with my English bulldog Humphrey gives me a chance to chat with one of our home owners, before I head to the sales office for a discussion with our sales manager about Prince Albert Way, our newest development of six houses. Only one remains unsold so business is good. Telephone discussions follow with our quantity surveyors about our next development of eight homes, which we are scheduled to start building before the end of the year.
Back to Inchmarlo House, our residential care home where Humphrey undertakes his role of therapy pet and speak to the residents. It is delightful to see how they welcome and fuss over him. Humphrey has his own blog, Diary of a Bulldog, and is so gentle and friendly with everyone.
Before I leave I call one of our architects regarding a new workshop for our gardening staff and look into the upcoming landscaping behind Prince Albert Way. One last call with our landscape architect regarding a future development in 2017 and then I have run out of time for another meeting today.
Back in Aberdeen and, after a very light supper I make a couple of calls regarding the proposed redevelopment of additional serviced apartments at Skene House Holburn. I settle down for one of my favourite past times – a good American box-set. Although I am a passionate movie buff, Sky hasn’t got anything I fancy watching tonight, so I turn to an old favourite – Law and Order.