Having spent the last 20 years in Lincolnshire, Johnny Dudgeon couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. The Director at Savills in Lincoln may be a Scotsman at heart, but this county has won him over.
This feature interview was first published in issue 14 of the Lincolnshire Business weekly magazine, now available to read at www.lincsbusiness.co. Subscribe to the email newsletter to receive the latest edition in your inbox this Friday.
Originally from Edinburgh, Johnny was brought up as part of a farming family — but being the youngest of five children, didn’t have the opportunity to farm himself. “Being in the land industry, a rural business, is to me the next best thing. That’s what led me that way.
“I went to Agricultural College at Cirencester for three years and then qualified as a surveyor. I suppose at that stage in my early 20s, I didn’t know that I would necessarily have that career as a chartered surveyor, but I have no regrets.”
With a love of hunting, Johnny came to Lincolnshire for a Hunt Ball 20 years ago. He heard that there was a job going at Savills, so he bought a typewriter, had his wife type up a CV for him and handed it in. After a successful interview at head office, he never looked back.
“If you had said to me that I would end up in Lincolnshire, then I might have said ‘hogwash’ as a Scotsman — but I have and I love it. I feel hefted to Lincolnshire now.”
Johnny has worked his way up through the company over the last two decades and has, for the last five years, run the office on Doddington Road. But this is only a very small part of his job.
“I’m a jack of all trades and master of none. I do arbitration work, expert witness work which is in the courts when there might be a judicial claim or a valuation aspect. I do estate management for a lot of private clients and institutional clients throughout the midlands and I do portfolio evaluation work which is for year-end accounts.”
When it comes to going to court, preparation is key for Johnny. “Most of them get settled on the steps before you actually enter the domain, but providing you’re prepared, then it can be quite enjoyable.”
However, court cases can come in all different shapes and sizes when it comes to property.
“There may be a valuation that was done some years ago and there is a statute of limitation of about six years, so it is in the recent past, and it might be judged to be wrong. I have been called in quite often as a joint court appointed expert to reduce costs. If there is one valuation report done and if that is significantly different to the original valuation, then there can be a few sparks flying around in terms of why the original valuation was what it was.
“Each case is different, so sometimes it’s a house and some land, other times it can be just a farm. There are no two cases the same. That’s what makes it interesting actually, variety is the spice of life.”
Read the full cover interview in issue 13 of the Lincolnshire Business magazine here. Also, look out for the next issue on Friday.