SAM BUXTON

Friends of UPco

At UPco, we’re fortunate to have built long-term relationships with some wonderful clients – including the team at Buxton Group, a leading development business that specialises in residential and retirement living. Over the last three decades, we have worked with both the founder of this family business, Richard Buxton, and his daughter Samantha, who has led the way as Managing Director for the past four years. We chatted to Samantha about her journey within Buxton Group, and with UPco.

Let’s start with a bit about you. Can you tell us about Buxton Group and how you came to be MD?

Of course. Buxton Group was first established by my father, Richard, in the late 1960s. He was a builder, and initially construction was the focus of the business – but over the years, he got more and more involved in the development side of things, mainly working with JV partners.

I came on board in 2002. Prior to this, I was doing a completely different kind of work – teaching! I’d really enjoyed being in the adult education space, and I found helping people really satisfying. But Dad had been quite persistent in his suggestion that I join the family business, so I came on board as a humble Marketing Assistant. I had no idea where it might lead; I was just keen to expand my skills.

What’s the journey been like?

To begin with, I worked closely with a JV partner on a specific development, so it didn’t feel so much like I was working for my Dad. But over time I worked on many, many different projects and came to really love the collaborative nature of what we do.

The business has evolved significantly in the 21 years I’ve been on board. Not only have we sold the construction part of the business, the scale of our development business has grown – when I came on board, we were doing one or two developments at a time, and now we’re managing four to seven simultaneously.

Another huge change is that we’ve moved into the Retirement Living space – in fact, we have a separate business dedicated to this: OneToAnother. This now represents a huge part of our business, and it’s a part I’m particularly passionate about. While we may hand over our residential developments, we stay on and manage our Retirement Living communities, so we have this enduring connection to the buildings and the people who live there.

What’s your connection to UPco?

Well, Buxton Group has worked with UPco for many years, long before they were UPco. My father originally met Amanda Ring through my babysitter (who she went to Uni with), then they reconnected when she joined SJB Planning. She became one of his all-time favourite consultants, and we have now worked with her and the UPco team for 35 years! They handle all our Retirement Living projects, which can be complex, so we appreciate having this trusted dynamic and reliable level of expertise.

Anything interesting you’re currently working on together?

Yes, we actually just received a permit for our third Retirement Village in Sandringham (the first two are in Brighton). It was challenging to get the permit, but an interesting challenge. Sales are going well, and we’re starting construction soon. We also have three residential projects on the go: Gladstone Ave in Armadale that’s nearing completion, and two in Malvern.

What do you love most about what you do?

It’s funny… I never imagined myself in this space, but here am I heading up the business. I love everything that I have learned along the way – and I think my proudest moment is when I get to see people use what we create. This is especially true of the Retirement Living space. When a resident tells me that they love living in one of our communities, that they’ve made friends and feel supported, and they compliment the staff – that makes me incredibly happy. I like to think they feel the care-factor that comes with Buxton Group being a family business.

I also really enjoy our collaborations with JV partners. We support a lot of young, talented development houses, and every development has its unique challenges. I love putting our heads together as a team to solve those problems and achieve great outcomes.

How do you spend your time off duty?

I have a ten-year-old daughter who is heavily into sport – and if we’re not running around to five million sporting things, we try to spend quality family time. We love going away, even if it’s just camping. And I always carve out time each year to go hiking somewhere in Australia. I’d love to get into golf more – one day, if I ever have the time!

Do you think Buxton Group will (one day) become a third-generation family business?

My daughter is actually the only grandchild in the family, and I couldn’t bear to put any kind of pressure on her! She’ll be supported to do and become whatever she chooses – who knows, perhaps pro sportsperson! I feel the future of the business is bright, regardless.

Thanks for the chat, Sam, and for continuing to entrust us with your projects. To learn more about the work of Buxton Group and OneToAnother, head to buxtongroup.com.au