Darren McLean ‘Our’ 2021 Dee Richards ‘Pride Champion’
The Dee Richards Pride ‘Champion’ Award is the highest accolade an individual within our organisation can receive.
This award is a lasting memorial to ‘Dee Richards’ who epitomised the we clean ethos, providing an outstanding service to our client base whilst displaying the utmost professionalism during her time as Contract Manager and loyal colleague within the business!
With this in mind, our 2021 ‘Pride Champion’ is more than deserving of this Award, having gone above and beyond in his role for over a decade…and that is our very own Darren McLean Estates Cleaning Manager for the highly prestigious Brindleyplace Contract!
Having worked closely with Dee during her time as Contract Manager looking after the Internal Cleaning Operations at Brindleyplace, Darren more than most fully appreciates that by receiving this Award he like Dee has contributed something very special to our business through his committed work ethic, inherent Integrity and genuine desire to do the job right!!
Following Darren receiving his Pride Champion Award, we sat down with the man himself to discuss his we clean journey, his Brindleyplace experience and much more…
How long have you been working at Brindleyplace?
I have been working on the Brindleyplace Estate for over 15 years now initially as a Service Cleaning Operative – I love being outdoors and have a genuine passion for Estate Cleaning, particularly Industrial Pressure Washing.
Within 12 months of being onsite working within the in house Estate Team, I was promoted to Site Supervisor looking after the daily cleaning activities of the team and this was a great learning experience for me and it is amazing to see how Brindleyplace has evolved over this time.
You Transferred under TUPE to we cleanfrom the In-House Operation in 2013, how did you and the team feel about this at the time?
For most people change is always unsettling and we had been given prior notice that the In-House operation was going out to an External Contractor however myself and the team were relieved when we discovered that we clean had been successful in securing the Estates Cleaning Contract as they were familiar to us as having already been on site looking after the internal managed buildings within Brindleyplace since 2009 and we knew they had done a good job!
In-fact it was Dee who spoke to me and some of the team to tell us not to worry that we clean very much appreciated the work of its cleaning staff and genuinely respected and cared for their overall welfare.
Why do you enjoy working for we clean?
As they say proof is in the pudding and here I am some 8 years later having seen at firsthand how the Company looks to support and progress its people, indeed soon after we clean took over the Contract the Directors David and Paul made it clear that I was no longer Site Supervisor but Estates Cleaning Manager giving me not only the responsibility but more importantly the authority to effectively manage the service team and all aspects of the cleaning on site.
They have constantly looked to develop my skills sets and broaden my role within the business and to this end I now have additional responsibilities in supporting Sean Wright and the Estates Cleaning operation at Paradise which is a really exciting development at the heart of the City. David Holmes McClure who was an Estate Service operative at the time of the Transfer here in 2013 has gone on and developed in his own professional career path within the business and is now the Company Health & Safety Manager demonstrating what a great organisation we clean is to work for!
The support I have received not only from the Directors but also our HR Manager Gaynor Powell, Nicki and Gary in the Warehouse Team and Duncan Thomson our dedicated in house Training Manager has been fantastic and it has ensured that the Estates Team on site here at Brindleyplace feel very much part of the ethos and culture of we clean.
Tell us more about your role across the Brindleyplace Estate? What does it entail?
I am immensely proud to be the Estate Cleaning Manager of Brindleyplace such an iconic commercial and leisure district for Birmingham.
I am certainly an early bird, being on-site from 5am everyday Monday – Friday ensuring the Estate is ready for the thousands of workers and visitors we welcome each day. My role is varied and incorporates a number of different disciplines which means no two days are ever the same and certainly keeps things interesting!
We have a team of 10 ‘brilliant’ Service Operatives who help to ensure that the site is safe through all four seasons, come rain, sun or snow with leaf and snow clearance as well as gritting plus watering of planters across the Estate during the spring and summer months.
I carry out daily inspections of the estate and then a more formal weekly i-Audit which is documented with observations, recommendations and photographs and fed back to the Brindleyplace Facilities Management team. With it being such a large, mixed-use estate it is vital that every aspect of our service delivery is micro-managed and overseen closely.
Obviously in more recent times the environment and sustainability targets / objectives have become much more into focus and the management of the waste streams on site here is critical with us managing on behalf of Brindleyplace the collection of food, general, DMR, glass and card waste across the Estate. Hence our own Environmental policies and procedures driven by the we clean GREEN management system aligns perfectly with the overall goals and aspirations of the Brindleyplace Estate!
The Brindleyplace calendar is always a busy one, it is packed full with a variety of events such as the film / food festivals, the annual Dragon boat race which we accommodate and play our part within to ensure the Estate is presented immaculately.
Tell us more about your relationship with the Brindleyplace Facilities Team?
We of course work closely with, and report back constantly to the Facilities Team here, Gary Hawkswood Brindleyplace Estates Manager, Paul Watkins his Assistant plus Jaskiren Deol and James Morson who are the Building Managers. In addition I have an excellent working relationship with Mukesh Puri Regional Workplace Manager at Avison Young who has responsibility for overseeing both Brindleyplace and Paradise. They are all immensely supportive and their drive to ensure Brindleyplace and Paradise are the best they can be at all times and remaining the flagship go to places for the people of Birmingham is very rewarding!
What does it mean to be our Pride Champion?
I was very surprised to be honest, it isn’t something that I saw coming!
It is an absolute honour, even more so that it is an award in memory of Dee Richards who I had a great relationship with. I can remember having great conversations and even banter with her and look back fondly on those years when she was such a prominent presence around Brindleyplace.
She was an exceptional manager with a wonderful personality, a real character with a tremendous work ethic, she genuinely cared for both the we clean brand but more importantly for the many Cleaning Operatives she managed on a daily basis.
To win an award in her name is something that I will always remember and is very special to me, I feel extremely privileged!
Lastly, what does the future have in store for you?
It feels like we are entering an exciting period for the City, the next 10 years are set to be transformative with the Commonwealth Games and lots of other developments. Here on the Estate things are always progressing and it is becoming busier and busier following the easing of Government restrictions and more people returning to work. I just want to say thank you again to both Paul and David this award means everything to me!
Gary Hawkswood, Estate Manager Brindleyplace was more than happy to pass on comment on Darren’s award:
“Darren is a real asset to both We Clean and Brindleyplace and is constantly on the ball right across the Estate, managing the cleaning team and processes diligently ensuring Brindleyplace remains immaculate for the many visitors we welcome throughout the year.
He really is a genuine star and my go to on a number of aspects that affect the daily running of the Estate, I only ever have to ask him once to get tasks done which provides a real peace of mind for me and the Facilities Team onsite with most cleaning issues already on his radar well before we flag them up with him.
Brindleyplace just wouldn’t be what it is without Darren and his team, I would like to applaud his total dedication to, and knowledge of, the Estate and offer my congratulations on him receiving this fantastic and well deserved Award!”