Our general manager, Claire Mason, recently caught up with Tomorrow’s FM to answer their 10 burning questions — from her first job to her predictions for the future of the facilities management industry.
In case you missed the original article, you can catch up below…
What was your first job?
I’ve never been afraid of hard work, and I was 14 when I got my very first job – at the local fish and chip shop! I soon got tired of smelling like batter and worked in various retail and hospitality roles prior to joining Waterguard – gradually working my way up the career ladder. How did you get into the facilities management industry? I had previous experience working as both a marketing and general manager for the electrical and electronic manufacturing industry. I knew I wanted a role that really challenged the norm, and when I learned Waterguard was recruiting – having crossed paths with them professionally a few times in the past – I jumped at the chance.
How do you challenge the status quo?
We’re in the unique position of being able to view the FM industry from the outside, in – so we can work with our R&D teams to create solutions for the issues we see cropping up time and again. Aside from protecting buildings from expensive water damage, we’re constantly developing our product range, with every single piece of feedback listened to and actioned on. We don’t just say we put the customer at the heart of what we do, they genuinely influence the products we manufacture.
Since you started in FM what has been the biggest change the industry has seen/you have observed?
There’s a notion among insurance firms that ‘water is the new fire’. In years gone by, the focus of all-things-property management was around protecting your assets from fire. Now, as water ingress becomes more of a problem – coupled with a rise in cheaper quality products, and labour – the spotlight is shifting firmly towards how we protect sites from water damage, at all stage of the lifecycle.
Who, in any other industry, do you most admire?
Ramtech Global. The company truly is a trailblazer when it comes to providing leading edge solutions for the construction sector, and we’re hoping to work with them on projects in the very near future.
What is your favourite film?
That’s a hard one! I am a massive Guy Richie fan so I would have to go for Snatch, although Revolver comes in a very close second.
If you could host a dinner party with three guests, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
Controversial, but my first choice would be our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. I think he would generate intense dinner party conversation – particularly with my second guest, Gino D’acampo! Gino can also whip up some delicious food when he isn’t discussing party politics with Boris, leaving me to get all the Hollywood glamour gossip from my final guest – the legendary Marylin Monroe.
Any advice to someone just starting out in the industry?
Never lose your cool. Sometimes work can be stressful, you may have a difficult customer, or it might simply be ‘one of those days’, but it’s important to treat everyone as you’d like to be treated – a cliché maybe, but something that has stuck with me throughout my career.
Also, don’t fear the phone! We’ve all been there, nervous of picking up in case we’re put on the spot with a difficult question – or customer – but it really does help with relationship building, far more than an impersonal email.
What do you think is the future of the FM industry?
It has to be digital transformation. I know it seems like the buzzword of the past three years, but it truly is the way forward. Remote monitoring of systems and alarms – as well as a completely automated audit trail – holds people to account and ensures any issues are dealt with promptly, and properly.
Which area of FM do you think could be best transformed through technology?
Communications and response times. The more we embrace remote monitoring and automated notifications, the more accountable people will be for their responsibilities should something go wrong. The Waterguard system allows us to see, when an alarm has been sounded, if/what has been actioned – and you’d be surprised how far the issue has to be escalated by the software before someone steps in to fix it.