Q&A: Steve Harvey of Groundwork Hertfordshire

PUBLISHED: 17:05 13 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:22 20 February 2013

Steve Harvey

Steve Harvey

Steve Harvey, executive director at Groundwork Hertfordshire, tells Louise McEvoy about working around the world, drinking with John Lennon and continual misconceptions about Hertfordshire

Steve Harvey, executive director at Groundwork Hertfordshire, tells Louise McEvoy about working around the world, drinking with John Lennon and continual misconceptions about Hertfordshire

Where are you from originally?
I grew up in Walthamstow and lived there until moving to Hertfordshire in 1987. My parents continue to live in E17. It is an area I remain very fond of.

Where do you live now and how long have you lived there?
We have lived in Stanstead Abbotts for the last ten years and prior to that we lived in neighbouring Hoddesdon for 11 years.

What did you do before joining Groundwork Hertfordshire?
I worked for 23 years for a specialist international marine insurance company. I had a fantastic and varied career. My work took me all around the world and for the last seven years at the company I worked as operations director.

When and how did you first become involved with Groundwork Hertfordshire?
In 2002 I took a four-month sabbatical. I volunteered at Groundwork Hertfordshire for that period and largely worked as an environmental youth worker. Groundwork is an environmental regeneration charity that has been delivering a wide range of projects throughout the county since 1985. I absolutely loved the experience, met a group of people who were motivated by the desire to positively change places and change lives in Hertfordshire, and I saw enormous potential for the organisation to grow and develop.

How long have you been executive director of Groundwork Hertfordshire and what does your job involve?
I returned to the insurance company after my sabbatical and resumed my previous role. In early 2004 I was given the opportunity to join Groundwork Hertfordshire as executive director. Some would say it's a dramatic career change, but the opportunity to lead such a talented and vital organisation was irresistible! The role of the executive director is hugely varied. I lead the team, work closely with our board of trustees, develop partnerships, secure funding, set the future strategy and help make the organisation grow.

What do you enjoy most about your job, and are there any aspects you don't enjoy?
The two aspects of the organisation that attracted me four years ago were the skilled, committed and highly motivated staff team, and the opportunity to play a part in inspirational projects that truly make a difference in my home county. Both aspects continue to exceed my expectations. The one aspect of my work which causes frustration is the continual need to counter misconceptions that Hertfordshire is a universally prosperous county.

Tell us about your family.
I have been married to Tracy for 21 years. We have two children, Elliott who is 13 and Hope who is nine, and they both go to school in Hoddesdon.

What are your hobbies?
Family, Tottenham Hotspur FC (I have barely missed a home game in over 30 years), live music, travel, skiing and the gym. Probably in that order!

If you could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Tough question! A couple of quiet pints with John Lennon would make for an interesting evening...

What are your favourite views in Hertfordshire?
One of the joys of working with Groundwork has been discovering parts of the county of which I previously knew little. My favourites change over time but all involve areas where Groundwork has played a part in shaping the landscape. The sculpture trail in Broxbourne Woods, walking the New River from Stanstead Abbotts to Great Amwell, cycling the Cole Green Way from Hertford to Welwyn Garden City...the list goes on.

Sum up Hertfordshire in one sentence.
A county of many contrasts, but a wonderfully varied, vibrant and healthy place to live, work and bring up a family.

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