RUNNING a business and country park operation requires the combined skills of a hotel, restaurant, leisure and business development manager rolled into one.
In his role as operations director of Stockley Park, near London's Heathrow Airport, Julian Small is responsible for the 400-acre site's 100-seat brasserie, a 40,000sq ft health club, an 18-hole championship golf course, a wine bar, business centre and conference facilities.
Small's career began with management traineeships at London's Café Royal and outside caterer Ring & Brymer. He spent the following five years making his mark in the industry.
From a first job as assistant catering manager at Lloyd's of London, he moved on to the Savoy, where he spent two years as deputy banqueting manager.
After stints as outside catering manager with Corney & Barrow and operations manager at the Brewery banqueting and conference centre in the City, Small returned to the Savoy as banqueting manager.
It was in this role that he began to show his true potential. Then, aged just 28, he was responsible for one of the country's most prestigious banqueting venues, organising dinners to honour dignitaries such as Margaret Thatcher and Edward Heath.
Recognition came in 1990 when, as the winner of an Acorn Award, he proved his worth as one of the industry's most promising 30 people under 30 years old.
In 1991 he joined Stockley Park. Nowadays he oversees a team of 70 full-time staff, includingfood and beverage, sales and marketing and personnel managers, as well as some 20 contracting firms.
Small's background gave him all the attributes required to run what one of the judges described as "Europe's most innovative business park", where multinational firms have headquarters in buildings designed by the likes of Richard Rogers and Sir Norman Foster.
Small combines running Stockley Park with a strong commitment to local people, believing that it is the duty of a commercial enterprise to serve the community as well as its clients.
When he took up the post he opened the park's health club and sports centre to the public, offering discounted rates to the elderly.
He is involved with a local youth group and sixth-form college, as well as overseeing initiatives such as sponsoring a canal boat for use by disabled people.
All this is on top of a sound commercial acumen, which saw the former high-priced restaurant adapting to a demand for value for money and in the process filling 80% of its seats when it was previously empty.
In the words of one of the judges, it is thanks to Small that Stockley Park is fast gaining a reputation as a leader in its field. "Julian Small is a manager whose vision, dynamism and enormous flair will take him far in this industry." n