Following his education at Uppingham, Robert graduated from Birmingham University in 1973 with an Honours Degree in Civil Engineering. He joined North Midland Construction from University, commencing his duties as a site engineer, progressing over eleven ensuing years through the roles of agent and estimator into the functions of general management and executive divisional director managing the Utilities Division. He is a Chartered Civil Engineer.
In 1984 Robert was appointed to the board, whilst continuing in his role as executive director of the Utilities Division. He was appointed chief executive in 1990, implementing a strategy of development that has taken the group from the position of a regional to that of a national contractor and created two new subsidiaries North Midland Building Limited and Nomenca Limited. He combined the role of chairman in 1999 and was appointed FICE in 2008.