Moving Parts | Facilities Manager Mark Rogers

Moving Parts is an INEOS TEAM UK series looking at the invaluable work of different members from across the team. This time we are looking at Facilities Manager Mark Rogers.

The INEOS TEAM UK base in Portsmouth holds a special place in Mark Rogers’ heart. He even likens it to his “first child”. That is no surprise for someone who helped build the place and has looked after it ever since.

Mark grew up in Portsmouth and aside from a short stint in Spain, has never left. As a child he would go fishing with his father where INEOS TEAM UK are now based. In 2014 Mark had been working as a ground worker for six years for several different companies when a new project kick-started, the build of a new base for Ben Ainslie Racing in his home town.

“When I first came here it was basically a stop gap. I was working for a building company at the time that ended up receiving the contract to build the base in Portsmouth. I thought I would only be here for a month or so max. I started on the build here in 2014 and then by June 2015 I had joined the team permanently and I have never left!”.

After one year of construction the brand new state-of-the-art facility was completed and open for business, the first professional sport team base to receive a BREAAM excellent rating for sustainability. With his work on the build finished, Mark was offered the role of Base Maintenance Assistant, helping to look after the new building.

“At the time the team offered various apprenticeships. Being offered to take an apprenticeship, regardless of your current career status, is great if you can do it at any point in your life. I ended up doing a Facilities Services Apprenticeship and that then went on to a Facilities Management Apprenticeship”. Mark was not the only current team member to join via apprenticeship with current members of the support and engineering teams all going through a similar programme.

Halfway through Mark’s apprenticeship, however, he was offered the promotion to Facilities Manager.

“My apprenticeship was three years long but halfway through 2017 I got the job of Facilities Manager for the team. That meant I was doing my full-time job as Facilities Manager at the same time as doing my apprenticeship. Not your usual route but that’s what’s great about working in a sporting team they always encourage you to push yourself.”

Being the Facilities Manager for a 74,000 square foot facility in which over 150 people work every day, however, requires Mark to be no stranger to hard work and he is the first port-of-call should anyone have any issues related to the building.

“The role is a very varied one. I generally get in every day between around 5AM-6AM in the morning. The first thing to do will be any paperwork and everything from building walkaround checks to any reparations. Then there’s the regular tests that need to take place at specific times, from fire tests through to back-up generators and everything in between.

“With this being a facility for a professional sports team, it’s a different level of standards. Everything must be perfect to take nothing away from the preparation for the ultimate prize, the America’s Cup. It’s a challenge, especially with all the legislation and regulation that impacts every area of the building, but it’s one that I enjoy.

“Beyond the building side I also look after the cleaners, security and health & safety for the entire team. I look at my job as ultimately to problem-solve for general issues that team members may have”.

Those problems can be anything. They can range from all the health and safety procedure planning through to repairing a leak in the base. In recent times, however, Mark has been challenged with a new problem that he never saw coming; the distribution of COVID-19 PPE face shields to key frontline workers in Hampshire.

In the past month INEOS TEAM UK have been working with partners Mercedes-Benz Applied Science (MBAS) and Spinlock to produce over 1000 PPE face shields a week which are being distributed free-of-charge to frontline NHS workers. Mark has been closely involved in that project, working with the team to support the co-ordination of getting the face shields to the frontline workers, and then distributing them himself to those who need them most.

“With the ongoing crisis the team withdrew from our winter training camp in Cagliari, Sardinia in March and decided to return home to Portsmouth. That meant we had to get the base ready for all the sailing kit to come back, including Britannia herself. That has been tough to manage as, working within the Government guidelines, we can’t have that many people in the building at the moment, so there have only been a few hands to help with that.

“At the same time, we have this PPE face shields project going and of course we all want to give every little bit of time that we have to it to be able to help out.  Me being one of the few people still going to the base with a car I volunteered to distribute the face shields that we produce here to the relevant people. When you hear the stories from the frontline workers it’s hard to imagine what they are going through and to be able to see their faces when you give them the PPE face shields is hard to put into words, it clearly means so much to them. Ultimately we are just behind-the-scenes trying to help them as much as we can.”

Mark’s role in the team may be mostly behind-the-scenes but it is one that to this day he remains very proud of.

“This building was built around an America’s Cup team. Every single part of the building has been built with the purpose of bringing the America’s Cup back home in mind. It’s been incredible to see how the team has evolved over the years and the building has always been up to the challenge.

“So much goes into a Cup challenge, from the sailors to the design work to the boat builders. It’s been such a unique experience to be part of a team that all pulls together to help each other out to do our jobs to the best of our abilities and ultimately strive for that single goal, the America’s Cup. To bring the Cup back home would be incredible, not only for the team and country but also for Portsmouth and the community here.”