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Alex Murphy: How I Won the Young FM of the Year Award

02 April 2015

Alex Murphy, declared young FM of the year at the PFM Awards in November, sat down for an exclusive interview with David Strydom at client offices in Canary Wharf. Alex is a general manager at ISS UK but he works for a financial sector corporate client, the name of which PFM is unable to disclose.

Excerpts from the interview:

Describe your experience of winning the young FM award
The award meant a lot to me. In terms of my career it’s been the biggest achievement I’ve had, and has been enjoyable from that point-of-view. When something like that happens, it’s a big deal for ISS. Obviously people shouted about it and there was much internal communication. As for me, I’ve stepped up my game in terms of day-to-day activities. When you win an award like that, it comes with a certain amount of responsibility because people expect big things. It’s almost a bit of a joke when you meet people and they say – ‘you’re young FM of the year, you should be doing this that or the other’, in a good way. It’s opened doors.

You praise your team highly. How much are they responsible for your victory?
I manage an outstanding team. ISS nominated me because of what we do in the building day-to-day so, yes, it’s been good for the team. After I won, I said to my team: it’s as much about you as it is about me because we work to deliver several services - engineering, catering, front of house. It’s a demanding contract so afterwards I just wanted to say to the team: thank you for supporting me.

What did you make of the night itself?
When I went to the awards ceremony, 600 people, a black-tie event, I realised how important it all is. There were so many different awards and people there, I had no idea it was going to be that big. It felt like quite a spectacle. When they read my name out as winner, I was really shocked, I couldn’t believe it.

Your interaction with presenter Eamonn Holmes was a highlight of the evening…
You see Eamonn Holmes on TV and he fancies himself a bit and is a bit of a smart Alec so I thought I’d have a bit of banter with him. It was all tongue-in-cheek, me saying it was such a highlight meeting him. It’s like that in Ireland. Nobody really takes themselves seriously with a lot of things. That was good and obviously with all the senior ISS people and clients there, they all came up and congratulated me. It was an enjoyable night.

What tips do you have for young FMs who’d like to win the Young FM award?
For your written submission, go into as much detail as possible about the customer and relationships and service delivery, and maybe managing a team. That’s really important, because that’s what a manager’s all about – it’s about managing people. When you get down to the final seven, the presentation has to really show what you’ve achieved. Articulate it with pictures, feature people you’ve met, and make it personal. I tried to show what I’ve achieved in my career but I also tried to make it personal to myself, which allowed my personality to come out when I presented.


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