Billy McDavid is a highly trained and accomplished professional Facilities Manager with proven record of planning, executing and evaluating facility operations worldwide, having extensive military and commercial experience at strategic and operational level. Billy is a former Senior Facilities, Logistics and Supply Chain Manager in the Army and since leaving, he has worked as a Project Manager, a Security Officer and is currently a Paramedic.
Job Location Preference: Falkirk/Central Scotland. Willing to commute.
Billy is looking for Facilities Management roles.
SMJ: What was your role in the Army?
BILLY: I was a highly effective, Operations and Facilities Manager with 22 years broad experience of facilities services, including buildings, logistics, security, health and safety.
I was accountable to ensure my team was successful, no matter what the circumstances, through prioritising and delegating, which we are pretty good at in the Services.
SMJ: What were some of your key responsibilities and duties within the role?
BILLY: I operated in many remote locations, harsh environments and conditions that had very little infrastructure and only had portable tools at hand. I was involved in managing and controlling, within the United Kingdom, accommodation offices, military real-estate and training facilities - which included 700 staff. That role also involved liaising with external contractors and service providers, ensuring they delivered on time to the Defence sector. I was accountable to ensure my team was successful, no matter what the circumstances, through prioritising and delegating, which we are pretty good at in the Services. It was about exercising my authority, from action into orders, so the entire chain of command could benefit.
SMJ: What were some of your key achievements in your military career?
BILLY: I consistently outperformed my peers, so at the end of my career I was the equivalent of a Senior Facilities Manager. I achieved 100% compliance during health and safety, equipment care and quality audits. I also led a deployment of 120 soldiers, where I Quartermaster. It was a strategic plan to replace London Fire Brigade in 2002 during a strike. Personal achievements: I always wanted to be an instructor at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, which I achieved for two years. I was also successfully was in charge of an armoured infantry company in Germany for three years.
SMJ: What industries and specific roles were you interested in pursuing when you left?
BILLY: Initially it was Facilities Management. I had colleagues already working in that sector but I ended up doing Project Management in a medium-sized mechanical company and then on the back of that, I also had an interest in security management and working in the public sector - which I am doing now, which is giving something back to the community.
SMJ: What did you do to prepare yourself through the transition phase? E.g. Specific courses, qualifications and work experience. (See CV for further qualifications)
BILLY: I gained a Level 6 City and Guilds Graduateship Award in Leadership and Management, which is the equivalent of an Honours degree. I pursued other leadership and management awards through the Institute of Leadership and Management and completed IOSH Managing Safely course. And now, I have an understanding of Facilities Management in the commercial sector through my role as a Project Manager. Although the role was more project based, it did encompass a lot of streamlined operations, that adhered towards Facilities Management.
SMJ: What advice would you give to help others going through the transition phase?
BILLY: Make sure you understand and can identify your key transferable skills. Identify networking opportunities and attend the Career Transition Partnership workshops. I networked within my area (Glasgow and Edinburgh) and took part in work experience. That gave me a better understanding of Facilities Management and how to break into the industry. So if you have a spare two days, a week, taking part in work experience, it is worth its weight in gold and shows commitment.
SMJ: What key transferable skills (specifically from Armed Forces) do you think will help you be successful in a Facilities Management role?
BILLY: Well-developed written and oral communication skills, experience in producing reports and undertaking a range of briefs. Able to communicate difficult issues with honesty and sensitivity. Equally, listening and supporting people. Strong leadership skills, being a team-player, whether that be working on your own, or in a team. I enjoy problem solving, I am very task oriented. I always relate to a gold standard - where you go in and do more than what is expected.
SMJ: Since you left the Army, you have had experience as a Project Manager, a Security Officer and you are currently a Paramedic. What key skills acquired in these roles will you bring with you in your next career?
BILLY: Collectively, the key skills are teamwork, multi-tasking, planning and prioritising. On top of all that and what I really like doing is providing a customer service.
SMJ: What is your current role and what roles are you looking for now?
BILLY: I am a paramedic. It was during my time in security, that I realised I wanted to give something back to the community. It was also an opportunity for me to go to university and I really enjoyed my year there. At the moment, I absolutely enjoy my job, but going forward, I would like to do something that involves much more of my Army career - which would be Facilities Management.
It is the life experiences within the military that are very difficult to equal. The motivation, the drive to get things done.
SMJ: In your opinion, what training and experience from your Armed Forces career has made you more competitive than other candidates in the commercial sector?
BILLY: It is the life experiences within the military that are very difficult to equal. The motivation, the drive to get things done.
SMJ: What advice would you give to others who are looking to get into the Facilities Management industry and similar roles? Course, qualifications to gain, work experience to take?
1. I know within Facilities Management there is a plethora of responsibilities, so the courses are a major requirement. Something I am looking at is the NEBOSH course and I have already done specific courses (see question 5) relating to Facilities Management.
2. Gain knowledge of building regulations - the big one at the moment is European Energy regulations.
3. I am also a member of the British Institute of Facilities Management.
4. Use Linkedin, which is a fantastic service.
5. Make use of any Facilities Management workshops. Go along and attend because it is a chance to network with like-minded professionals and grow your own contacts.
SMJ: How has SaluteMyJob helped you?
BILLY: SaluteMyJob has given me the motivation to start networking and has really helped with creating a Facilities Management focussed CV. You have definitely kick-started my enthusiasm!
Certainly from my own experience and of my colleagues, we bring a comprehensive management style, once you understand enough about a company’s management style, the Armed Forces style will always compliment that.
SMJ: If there was anything you could advise businesses who want to employ Armed Forces candidates, what would it be?
BILLY: Certainly from my own experience and of my colleagues, we bring a comprehensive management style, once you understand enough about a company’s management style, the Armed Forces style will always compliment that. And it’s always about the people - we are very good at that. Taking care of subordinates and pointing them in the right direction.
SMJ: What do you like doing in your spare time?
BILLY: I have just taken up mountain biking recently. I enjoy reading, I am a member of the RSPB, which is a passion and enjoy jogging.