“I am a firm believer in being a life-long learner and will never stop educating myself practically and theoretically. Education is the key to opening your mind. Both practice and theory combined are a powerful tool and will allow you to see business through a different lens.”
You have had a lot of success at an early age. Tell us about your journey to becoming a Director of Operations
I have a passion for working with people and a hunger for management and leadership. I attribute this to being naturally competitive. I come from a household with 6 boys and 1 girl so I got a taste for competition very early.
My background is in highly regulated environments. I stumbled upon facilities management back in 2004 while working as an engineering maintenance planner at a pharmaceutical Biotech facility. This role didn’t provide me with enough room for growth. During an annual review meeting with my then manager, he directed me toward the FM department. I began my career as a Soft Service FM team leader with a team of eleven people.
My 6 months in my new role were difficult. Not all strong individuals make great people managers. I was a young supervisor and I didn’t have the skills or experience in people management that I needed. My career has been a learning journey, and you will not always have the tools available immediately. However, it is important to have the will to learn. This can be through further education, training, personal development, and peer support. I advanced to the position of Soft Services FM after two years and my team grew to almost thirty. Following this, I was promoted to a contract manager and held responsibility for the hard and soft services teams. This was my first exposure to commercial responsibilities and budget forecasting.
I joined Bidvest Noonan in 2011. I held a meeting with the Managing Director of the business who sold me on the culture and values of the company and convinced me to join the business. He highlighted the opportunities he saw for me within the company. Further promotion to Strategic Account Lead and Life Sciences Lead roles followed from 2012 to 2019. Late in 2019, I applied for the position of Director of Operations for the strategic accounts of Integrated Solutions. With a strong business strategy and a path for success, I set about putting my leadership team together in line with the direction that the business was heading.
What characteristics or abilities have helped you most to be successful?
I believe my willingness to work hard and to do whatever it takes to ensure the client is happy, as the reason for my growth within Bidvest Noonan. I am a firm believer in being a life-long learner and will never stop educating myself practically and theoretically. Education is the key to opening your mind. Both practice and theory combined are a powerful tool and will allow you to see business through a different lens.
I find my ability to both think and act like an owner as another reason for my success. I go to work every day with the mindset of “If this was my business I would…”. My father always said to me: “David, dress for the job you want and not the job you have”. My interpretation of his knowledgeable words was to always strive to be successful in the role you have and always make yourself available to support your boss, and their boss too.
You have very strong relationships with clients. How have you built these?
I have 21 years of service in this industry as a service provider. This has enabled me to work closely with some strong and challenging clients. Taking my father’s advice and changing it slightly, I openly engage my clients and try to understand what success looks like for them. When you truly understand your clients’ goals and objectives, both personal and professional, you will be able to design a solution that is built for success.
I believe that all people, irrespective of status or position, should be treated with respect and spoken to with honesty. Relationships are formed and based around trust, and to earn the trust, you must always deliver on your commitment to support your client. I focus on effective service delivery and identify opportunities by challenging the status quo of the service delivery on my client’s behalf.
What was your proudest moment at Bidvest Noonan?
I have had many proud moments working at Bidvest Noonan but among the greatest is seeing the growth and development of my colleagues, many of whom are now leaders within our organisation. If I was to retire tomorrow, I would be happy in the knowledge that I helped develop, mentor, support, and grow some of the future leaders of our organisation.
I am also immensely proud to have overseen contracts that have become winners at our company’s best-managed contracts awards.