Rising Talent in Facilities Management 2014

This Award recognises a single FM professional who has made a significant contribution to their organisation and the FM profession within the first five years of entering the FM arena.


Category: Rising Talent
Winner: Mark Leighton, Cofely
Sponsored by: Sodexo


Mark is an inspirational young man. Not content with working as an apprentice electrician at a large hospital in the North East of England for Cofely he chose to put his life time savings into a part time Leadership and Management degree which he could complete alongside this full time work. He says that completing his electrical apprenticeship alongside achieving an upper 2:1 degree was extremely hard work but that it has given him a huge sense of achievement and pride. He hasn’t looked back and has been unstoppable ever since.

Not surprisingly, Mark’s positive and proactive came to the attention of his management and, in conjunction with his wider studies, ensured entry to the Cofely Graduate Management scheme. Cofely’s graduate programme is a 2 year rotational scheme including four different placements and providing broad experience of a large FM company. Over the two year’s Mark personally mobilised a large scale public sector TFM contract and acted as an interim soft services manager where he drove significant performance improvements. He was given profit and loss responsibility for a major account to which he delivered 750,000 worth of new business.

Mark is full of ideas, many of which have already made a real difference to the projects in which he has been involved. Whilst working at the Queen Elizabeth Park he has worked on the ‘Park in Progress’ tours which had deliberately selected young people and the long term unemployed as recruits. The team’s commitment to the job and the spirit demonstrated made Mark resolve to see what could be done to secure for them longer term roles. He reached out to the wider business to develop a full day of presentations and interviews as part of a job-fair and secured permanent placements for two previously unemployed colleagues at the park.

Not only is Mark’s rapid progression and dedication to the industry impelling but he is a true ambassador for FM. He acknowledges that he can play an important role in attracting more good people into the industry. He delivers talks to schools and been involved with the Prince’s Trust to encourage young people to get involved in FM. He takes part in the Young FMA networking events and one second place for a blog about FM as a career choice. Mark seems set for a bright future but he is leaving nothing to chance. He is fully engaged with a programme of continuous professional development and he says that with both his direct line manager and senior manager currently working on MBAs this is something he would like to aspire to in the future.

“Over the next 5-10 years I plan to continue working hard within the FM industry to grow my skill set and develop as far as I possibly can. I believe in being ambitious and aiming high- going from apprentice to managing director would be the ultimate dream”

The Judges said

Mark blew us away with his amazing passion, innovation and creativity in his approach to everything he does. His story was diverse and highly creative demonstrating dedication and a desire to learn and progress that has seen his rising career take him from apprentice to graduate scheme to a management role. He is an amazingly inspirational young man and a powerful ambassador for FM. He showed clear enthusiasm and boundless passion and promotion of FM as a career with lots of evidence of encouraging and helping other young people to enter and progress in the FM industry.

Mark has made the most of every opportunity that has come his way and has gained a wide and diverse range of experience across a variety of FM setting from the Olympic park to local authority offices. He delivered a diverse range of evidence of his operational impact with initiatives that have improved accounts for employer / client. He has recently been promoted to Business Improvement Manager and has been successful in delivering real operational contributions, impacting on his clients, customers and his colleagues. Mark is an inspirational role model for all rising FMs and an exemplar to showcase to others coming into our industry.