A Day in the Life of: Connal O’Brien, Managing Director – Eric Wright FM

Describe your role and what you do on a day-to-day basis

As Managing Director of Eric Wright Facilities Management (FM) Ltd my focus is on performance, both current and future, as well as the strategic direction of the business. This includes achieving annual financial targets (revenue and costs) as well as managing the expectations of our group board and trustees; as the Eric Wright Group is wholly owned by a charitable body, meaning all profits (after overheads) are retained by the trust.

We deliver facilities management services to clients in varying sectors, specifically in healthcare, education, commercial and transport. Our service offer is bespoke and due to our size and flexibility we are able to give our customers what they need, rather than a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Our main focus it to deliver value for money services to all of our clients through innovation and expertise.

What type of people do you work with?

Our greatest asset is the people that we employ and the values that underpin our business model. We work with local individuals and service partners to ensure that the communities that we operate in and their economies all benefit. My job is made easier by the talented team I have around me. Everyone has a different area of expertise and combined with their levels of experience, contribute to solving all of the daily challenges that the FM sector throws at us. Honestly, no two days are the same in FM.

What do you find most challenging about your job?

When I started with Eric Wright Group back in 1997, as a building surveyor, I was the only operational staff member looking after a small portfolio of commercial and industrial units. Fast forward to today and we employ more than 140 staff, managing 150 properties across the North of England. My biggest challenge has definitely been letting go and allowing the team do the everyday detail, all whilst retaining a general overview of the business. One of the challenges we face is explaining to customer organisations the importance and value FM service delivery can bring to their core business. In our experience, this is best delivered by a number of methods including:

  • User group meetings
  • FM workshops
  • Social media streams
  • Governors meetings (Education)
  • Exhibitions

What advice would you give someone thinking about working in FM?

For anyone thinking of entering the FM sector, I would absolutely encourage you to do so but please bear this in mind:

Our subject matter and areas of expertise are very bespoke, with no two buildings or businesses the same. Herein lays the challenge and the fun that is Facilities Management.