We take the opportunity to chat with one of Acumentis’ newest and brightest additions – Regional Director – Tom McDouall. Originally from Armadale, Tom calls Newcastle home and is heading Acumentis’ Newcastle office to some unprecedented heights.
Tom shares a very interesting day in his valuation career, gives a glimpse into his personal life, and opens up about a new role he is about to take on – fatherhood.
Q: Tom, tell us about a memorable day on the job as a property valuer
I’m not sure whether this inspection was memorable for the right reasons, but it made me smile and shake my head, and it’s imprinted in my memory forever. It was a normal workday, I arrived at a house owned by a couple, introduced myself, and briefed them about what I was going to do. They were happy for me to get on with what I needed to do. I inspected the house and then walked into the backyard which had a big workshop. The workshop was unlocked so I took myself in to measure up and inspect. I then found a cool room which was not any cool room, but an impressive hydroponic workshop for Marijuana. I did have to stop as it took me a few seconds to realise what I had walked into. I carried on the inspection and closed the workshop door behind me and walked back into the house. The resident of the house saw me coming in and looked a bit startled. He asked me whether he had left the workshop door open, and I said “Yeah, mate, you did”. His next question was “Will it affect the value of the property?”. I smiled and assured him that it would not which he was relieved to hear. I walked out the door, with a grin on my face.
As I walked out the door, I received a call from Damien Burley Group Executive Director – Regional Operations Acumentis, asking if I would be keen to join the Acumentis team. I was flattered but at that moment I had to excuse myself to get to a significant prestige property – my last inspection for the day. Not realizing at that moment that in a few months, I would be part of the Acumentis team. Anyway, I made my way to Shoal Bay to a prestigious penthouse amongst a very boutique development. The property was breathtaking with panoramic ocean views and state-of-the-art interiors. I soon realized that the very pleasant owner that was present was one of the Australian wine industry’s biggest entrepreneurs. I went about completing the inspection and, on my way out, the owner engaged me in a conversation. I ended up, spending some time with him chatting about all things wine, and sharing a drink at his rooftop terrace admiring the sunset over Shoal Bay.
Now this inspection was definitely memorable for the right reasons. Not just for me to experience a breathtaking property in one of the most beautiful parts of Australia but to meet very interesting people which is a big part of my job that I love. A chalk and cheese day as a valuer, from a “hydroponic workshop” in a home, a significant job offer, and then rubbing shoulders with celebrities in their beautiful homes- all in the day of a life of a valuer.
Q: Why did you choose property valuation as a career?
I was originally studying business and law but realised quickly that it wasn’t for me. I didn’t want to be a lawyer. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. A family friend of ours was a valuer in Armidale and he invited me to join him on a work run for a day, which I agreed to happily. I accompanied him on his inspections and his hours in the office and quite enjoyed it. It was a good mix of both being able to be in the office and out in the field. Maths, analytics, and being out and about experiencing new properties and landscapes while being involved with people on a day-to-day basis, sort of ticked all my boxes for a profession that would be exciting for me. I decided to quit law, study property and agriculture and became a cadet while I finished university the rest is history and I have never looked back since.
Q: You recently joined Acumentis, what made you choose Acumentis?
For me, it was great to see where Acumentis was a couple of years ago and where they are headed in the coming years. It’s pretty exciting for me to be able to be a part of an innovative, industry-leading growth story. I want to play my part in making this business cutting edge and sustainable while evolving with the needs of the market.
Company culture was also a big one for me. I saw through leaders like James Lockwood – State Director Regional Operations North, who I have known for years, how they look out for their own and have our clients’ interest front of mind.
Q: Do you have a role model you look up to?
Not one but I have been fortunate enough to work for some very hard-working and passionate managers in the past, and so has been the case here in Acumentis. Seeing the leaders here lead with passion, relentless energy and drive is something I look up to, and hope I bring the same to the table each day
Q: What do you do in your spare time?
Depending on the time of the year, if it’s summer, we do a lot of water skiing. Probably one or two afternoons over the weekend. Otherwise, you will find me tinkering with anything with a motor or an engine - motorbikes, boats, cars - anything to sort of get my hands dirty, pull apart and bring to life again is my downtime.
At night-time I enjoy reading a good book- I love to read.
Q: How ready are you for the impending arrival of your twins?
I guess I am ready. I don’t think you can ever really be ready for something like this, but I roll with the punches normally, so fingers crossed. We are very excited and cannot wait to experience a very different life with our “double trouble” .
We’ve got the double pram and the nursery has been repainted with new carpet installed, it’s all beautiful.
Q: The final big question - do you know how to change a nappy?
No, not at all. Luckily my wife has scheduled some classes that are coming up so I am sure that will be a skill I’ll pick up as we will be doing twice the number of nappy changes and twice as fast!