Talented people excelling in their careers

A special story about three Salisbury helpdesk alumni, who have gone on to do great things in the business. Featured and photographed below are David Winter, Prithika Selvadurai & Luke Deighton.

Talented people excelling in their careers

Starting a career can be a daunting task. However, for some, the answer comes in the form of a job that provides a platform into roles which were, perhaps, almost impossible to see when starting out.

Such is the case for three members of the greater Atlas Family, based in the Milton Keynes offices of the Salisbury Group, our Engineering & Maintenance experts. 

In the attached photograph, from left to right, David Winter, Prithika Selvadurai (often known as 'P') and Luke Deighton all started out with the company in the position of Helpdesk Advisor.

Little did they know when they stepped onto that path quite where it would lead, nor what success they were going to enjoy. Yet they have each capitalised on this unique environment to grow and steadily transform into more complex versions of themselves, as each of their stories reveals.

David Winter

David has been around the longest of the three. He joined by TUPEing over from Carillion in January 2013, working on the extensive HMRC contract as part of the Landlord team, getting problems fixed - roof leaks, for example.

In early 2013,he gained his first promotion to Team Leader, making sure all the SLAs were met, also supporting Maximo, the new Facilities Management software package. David became business lead for the Helpdesk team, helping build the original processes, “…and I’ve kind of never stopped!” he chuckles.

As time moved on, David began drawing on his technical gifts further, designing reports, learning SQL and other computer languages, and running Excel workshops for his colleagues.

David has the travelling bug, and in May 2015 he left the business to go back-packing around Europe. When he returned to the UK later that year, he came straight back to Salisbury as Account Support Manager and began pushing towards IT again.

“I’d always made it clear that this was the direction I wanted to go in and the company has always helped me pick up the skills I need,” David told me.

He left the company to go travelling again in May 2017, spending 4 months in Southeast Asia – using hired motor scooters to get around a village in Thailand. “The roads aren’t brilliant, and you often wound up in the jungle, so a scooter was pretty vital!”

Once again, David gave Salisbury a call on coming back and was given the position of Business Systems Support Engineer in September 2017 which had a Maximo and Reporting focus – workflow design, automation scripts, e.g., doing a custom script to automatically generate a purchase order. He has designed Client Locations – where you can see all your account documentation in one place - as well as creating the current PPM planner.

“I didn’t wait for people to come with a problem, but would come up with new ideas and build the new bits,” says David.

In March 2022, David was promoted again into the role of IT Manager, with additional people management and leadership responsibilities.

“I really enjoy the amount of problem solving that is required,” David told me. “People come to me with issues they are having, and we sit down and figure out the best solution with them. I have quite a lot of freedom to come up with a suggestion and then to implement it.”

Prithika ‘P’ Selvadurai

By contrast, ‘P’ Selvadurai joined the company 7 years ago in September 2015, having initially obtained a degree in Psychology and spending a year working in a school with children with Autism and ADHD. She gradually came to realise it wasn’t for her and enrolled with an agency in Milton Keynes, getting an interview the same day with Salisbury!

As with her two colleagues here, the original role was as a Helpdesk Advisor.

“It was a very different business then to what it became,” P told me when we met. “At the time the entire FM was being delivered by Norland; we were simply the Helpdesk service. Over time, all the staff were TUPEd in and in due course we had our own engineers, with us sitting with the people we used to call!”

P soon started to work with private sector clients, moving on from simple call handling and handing over to the Administrator to take care of the rest of the job detail.

“I was the only one working with private clients,” she says, “reporting direct to the Client Services Director, Olivia Abbott. I had more opportunities to learn and develop more quickly and more broadly.”

P ran the set-up, mobilisation and service delivery of the FedEx contract, recruiting another administrator that she trained, and gaining promotion to Account Support Team Manager, still under Olivia, having to think a lot more strategically and longer term. “Liv allowed me to have all those relationships and increased my confidence to deal with the people,” P explained.

The team grew to 6 Co-Ordinators, as the private sector client numbers grew, and P was promoted again to Contract Co-ordination Manager – responsible for the HMRC Team Managers and their Co-ordinators and the 6 private sector co-ordinators, plus, in time, the original team and their managers.

And then another significant change happened. “I applied for a job as an Account Manager, something I had always wanted to do, the only path I wanted to follow."

"The previous career had happened by itself; having worked so heavily with Account Management previously, I always wanted to be client facing."

In May 2022, she started working on the Michael Page account, alongside University of London, the company's biggest biggest client, with an onsite team of 23 engineers, Mechanical & Electrical Managers, and a Fabric Manager, together managing historic, listed buildings.

For P, the best part of her role is building relationships and interacting with a wide variety of people.

She sums it up by saying that “Managing people can be really challenging – you need to build trust – a quality that you can transfer in life, irrespective of what you might be doing.”

Luke Deighton

It was within a month of P starting that Luke joined the Salisbury Helpdesk in October 2015, also dealing with the enormous HMRC contract, receiving and logging the calls on ‘a pretty simplistic system’.

“I’d left school and was working in a supermarket job and just wanted something more,” Luke explained to me. “Both myself and my partner wanted a more straightforward Monday to Friday office job. The agency I contacted put me into Salisbury and that was how it all started.”

Luke relished the change. At Salisbury, no two days were the same and there was always something new to deal with.

“The Maximo system came in around Spring 2016 and I took to it a bit faster than the others. By July, it had been noticed that I was managing it well and I was moved into Contract Support (now Account Co-ordination), looking after East Anglia and Greater London.”

It meant additional responsibility on Excel reporting and helping to ensure that jobs were followed through and completed.

Luke stayed in the role for 6 months and then move across into Business Support – making sure that anything that we could charge for, was billed for!

In April 2018, Stuart Cook Director of Operations offered Luke the job as Assistant Commercial Manager – making sure that the operations delivery teams are pricing any variations, dealing with reactive billing, and that we are being paid for the work we are doing.

Then in April 2020, Luke was promoted to Commercial Manager which made him responsible for the Projects Division, ensuring that projects are delivered properly, commercially, and legally, according to the original contracts.

In January 2022, Stuart was promoted to Director of Operations, and Luke rose to Business Improvement Manager, where the main job is ensuring that engineering efficiencies are as streamlined as possible; visiting clients to makes sure we are following the Salisbury way and values and making changes accordingly and as necessary.

“I really love the people I work with,” Luke told me. “They are really helpful and I’ve never had a confrontation or an altercation with anyone, certainly not a falling out. There is always opportunity here in Salisbury, if you are willing to work for it and apply yourself. There is no limit. No-one is unapproachable; you can speak to anyone.”

As can be seen above, it’s safe to say that Salisbury Group's Helpdesk has been a great starting point for new employees.

It’s been a place where you can learn the ropes, develop your skills, and be exposed to different clients and industries - all in all, an excellent place to work if you want to develop yourself and jump-start your career.

Well done to David, Prithika, and Luke on their success to date and wishing each of them continued growth and personal development into the future.