Winner: Stephanie Welch, Ove Arup & Partners
Stephanie is Head of Facilities Management at Ove Arup & Partners International Limited, where she leads her team with a budget in excess of £10million to service 250,000 sq ft and approximately 2,700 staff.
Her team comprises soft services manager, hard services manager and technician, FM project manager, space planner and a helpdesk team comprising manager, team leader and two helpdesk staff. This wider team is supported by a senior FM coordinator and an FM apprentice.
Welch’s elevation of the FM function within Arup is key to her success. In her two and a half years with the company she has developed Arup’s first FM group strategy, designing it to support Arup’s overall company strategy, and worked hard to increase the FM team’s profile through customer engagement and team empowerment. She also oversaw a re-branding of FM within Arup to encourage more recognition of the function and the services it provides.
Collaboration is a key strength. Welch has developed a forum to enable the FM team to trial and test developments that can benefit the business as a whole. She’s overseen the restructuring of roles and responsibilities within her team, operated as a ‘conduit’ between client and project teams to ensure successful outcomes, and insists that in-house and outsourced service personnel sit together to discuss operational issues, deploying a ‘one team’ approach.
She’s also brought together a working group of experts from across Arup to create ‘FM 2.0’, a report on re-imagining FM for the digital age subsequently showcased at an IWFM event at Arup’s London offices.
Last year, Arup undertook a project to refresh the office space at its central London offices as a part of a wider property strategy. Welch collaborated with the architects, stakeholders and other specialists involved to deliver a modern, bright and effective workspace that encouraged activity-based working and collaboration.
Welch and her team were left with the challenge of bringing other areas not covered in the project scope up to the same standards, whereupon she tasked her team with finding cost effective improvements with environmental and staff wellbeing benefits front of mind.
Biophilia was introduced through a ‘Living Wall’ to the main Reception followed by planting across all the common areas of the building; the firm’s vegan and vegetarian offering in both café and hospitality services was enhanced and oat milk introduced to replace cow’s milk. Installation of Café Brita taps saw sales of plastic water bottles fall and 100% recycled paper has been introduced to all print areas.
Arup also awarded a waste recycling contract that ensured zero waste is sent to landfill, with all non-recyclable waste taken to an Energy from Waste facility.
In recent months, Welch has been key to re-occupation planning for Arup’s return to the office, offering guidance to senior management to feed into regional plans. She has driven her team to introduce process & procedures and making physical changes to the workplace.
Along the way, Welch’s work has led to members of her team taking on greater responsibility and more senior roles. And perhaps what is most striking is the impact she has clearly had on her colleagues, who talk of how she puts her team ahead of everything; of the support and understanding she offers them; of her being instrumental in their development; and how they themselves will be inspired by seeing her win this award.
- Encourages her team members to be their best through training and support, continually supporting the development and growth of those within her team to increase and improve the department’s profile
- Uses her leadership skills to continuously improve operational processes.
- Hugely appreciated by her team, having ensured that it comprises motivated individuals engaged in all of the challenges associated with the day to day delivery of the FM service.
- Key to the mobilising and developing all FM contracts, knowing when to extend contracts due to good performance and cost effectiveness, when to benchmark and when to re-tender (recently re-tendering and mobilising a revised cleaning contract to a regional provider).