NAME: Ian Surtees
YOUR BUSINESS / ORGANISATION: Vertas Group Limited
YOUR TITLE IN THAT BUSINESS: Chief Executive Officer
WHEN DID THE BUSINESS LAUNCH
Eastern Facilities Management Solutions Ltd was formed in 2011, as part of Suffolk County Council’s divestment programme. The business rebranded as Vertas Group Limited in 2015 and moved to a new home in Beacon House, Landmark Business Park in Ipswich.
ELEVATOR PITCH – TELL US WHAT YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS DOES IN A NUTSHELL:
Vertas Group Limited offers bespoke facilities management for over 400 clients across the East of England. Our specialisms include catering, commercial cleaning, property management, equipment maintenance, grounds design and maintenance, security, energy consultancy and fleet management. We also offer courier, postal, design and print, reception and concierge services.
In layman’s terms, you’ll find us looking after the fabric of local libraries and children’s centres, painting lines on college playing fields and transporting children to school in our colourfully-branded Vertas minibuses. We proudly cater for 40,000 school children each day, from Cromer in the north, Newmarket in the west to Southend in the south.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR BUSINESS’S USP OVER YOUR PEERS?
I think it’s our agile approach to business.
Our governance arrangements enable us to fulfil our shareholder responsibilities whilst allowing the Board to be autonomous and operate as a commercial business. This supports our ability to meet client demands and any unexpected commercial opportunities.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST BUSINESS CHALLENGE SO FAR?
A full reorganisation of the business model including processes, procedures, and hierarchy. These changes have underpinned our recent growth, improved our service delivery and client relationships and enhanced our reputation.
AND YOUR GREATEST SUCCESS?
The cultural change within the organisation. We now have structured, self-motivated, client-focused teams delivering excellent services across the entire business.
WHAT DOES THE NEXT 12 MONTHS HAVE IN STORE FOR YOU?
Further growth! Organic, service density, joint venture initiatives and acquisition. We are also focused on innovation within the Facilities arena and developing our people via internal and external routes.
AND IN FIVE YEARS TIME YOU’D LIKE THE BUSINESS TO?
To be respected within the FM market and known as the ‘best in class’.
To have a national presence.
To have a reputation that supports career development, succession and be a fun place to work.
NATURALLY, YOU WANT TO REACH CUSTOMERS AND SUPPLIERS AND THOSE WHO CAN HELP YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS SUCCEED. WHO MIGHT YOU WANT TO HEAR FROM (TYPES OF SERVICES OR BUSINESSES)?
We would welcome the opportunity to have conversations with anyone operating a business in need of facilities management. We are always on the look out to acquire successful businesses which complement our current service.
Attracting the right talent for our specialist divisions is sometimes a challenge so those seeking a new challenge are welcome to browse our careers page.
New suppliers with innovative products may also get in touch with us.
Partnership is one of our five brand values so all new connections are welcome!
WHEN YOU FEEL TROUBLED OR ‘BEATEN’ AT ANY STAGE IN BUSINESS LIFE, WHAT’S YOUR SECRET TO RALLYING YOURSELF?
Take a deep breath, reflect, decide on my next steps, implement, review.
Being a ‘self-starter’ is a prerequisite in this job…………
DO YOU HAVE A MENTOR, OR HAVE YOU USED ONE? IF SO, HOW WAS THAT?
I joined the local Vistage group and could not recommend it highly enough. The opportunity to confidentially discuss issues in a supportive ‘peer to peer’ environment is priceless.
I also use a business mentor that specialises in stress management and emotional counselling when I feel that I need support.
WHAT’S CHANGING ABOUT YOUR INDUSTRY THAT MAKES IT SUCH A GOOD SPACE TO BE IN?
Providing facilities services is all about enabling our clients to undertake their ‘core’ job. Whether that’s educating young people, providing a great community space, or catering for computer games programmers. No two days or clients are the same.
The facilities management industry is increasingly embracing lean engineering principles to deliver services more cost-effectively, battling with the challenges of Brexit, attracting new talent into our sector and utilising technology to deliver highly repetitive services.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO SOMEONE WANTING TO ENTER YOUR INDUSTRY SPACE?
It is hard work and relentless but the rewards are thoroughly worth it. Go into it with your eyes open. Have a career plan, stick to it and develop your skills around it.
THE PLUG BIT:
LinkedIn: Vertas Group Limited
AND NOW THE SLIGHTLY LESS CORPORATE BIT:
BEST THING ABOUT EAST ANGLIA:
People, scenery, culture.
YOURSELF IN THREE WORDS:
Driven, ambitious, humorous.
Own a home overseas
FANTASY DINNER PARTY GUESTS:
- Shaun Ryder
- Kevin Keegan
- Gordon Ramsey
- Lyndsey Vonn
- Micky Flannigan
- Suzanna Reid
- James Spader
- Mike Tyson
WHERE YOU LIVE, WHERE YOU’RE ORIGINALLY FROM (AND WHAT BROUGHT YOU HERE), HOW OLD YOU ARE, WHO YOU LIVE WITH:
- North East of England
- To travel the world
- Wife Shelley, Children: Georgia, Nicolle, Adam and the dogs, Max and Ted.