The Blade is a fully serviced office, and our in-house team ensures a smooth experience for all occupiers. Mark Nanney is The Blade’s resident maintenance engineer, responsible for keeping everything running smoothly every day.
What does your role entail?
I’m responsible for keeping The Blade running safely and soundly. There are lots of aspects of the job, from keeping the building up-to-date with the latest health and safety legislation to maintaining our water cleanliness, checking electrical alarms, monitoring fire alarms, and keeping the temperature just right. I also jump in to trouble shoot and problem solve with issues such as leaks. Part of my role also means I carry out a planned maintenance schedule to ensure everything is safe and working as it should be.
How long have you been at The Blade?
I’ve worked at The Blade for five years. After training as an electrician in 1976 I worked as a Production Technician at Glaxo Smith Kline PLC, and as a Technician in Reading’s brewery. After the brewery sadly closed I moved into building services.
What is the strangest or most challenging request you’ve managed?
Strange requests are a regular basis! We have a lot of filming and rooftop photography taking place here, given our stunning views. One event which particularly stands out is when Katherine Jenkins joined us to film BBC Songs of Praise from the rooftop. It was my job to guide her upstairs to her team, and I knew some of our staff were particularly excited about catching a glimpse of her. So rather than take the direct route I guided her on a slight detour though the main office, so everyone could get the chance to see her.
What makes The Blade such a special place to work?
The Blade is a truly iconic and beautiful building, but the most special thing about it are the people in it. The team are hard working, friendly and helpful, and there’s a really positive working culture.
Your special talent?
I’m not sure I have one but I do love my job, and keep active doing it - I usually manage 17,000 steps a day and cycle into work so make use of the bike storage which we have on site. I’ll also do my best for all the people working here – one year we all arrived at The Blade on 2nd January to a dark and cold building following a huge power outage which was the result of a freak accident – a leak above the main breaker had tripped the building’s power and our UPS back up. My challenge was to get everything running as quickly as possible, and establish what had happened. After an old friend - who works in adjacent building - called to ask why we were in darkness we discovered there was a secret switch which restored the power. Everyone was back in and working by 12pm.
Hobbies and interests?
There’s nothing better these days than enjoying a glass of wine at home with my wife. I think my favourite things to do involve music and drinking! For 15 years I was part of a rock band called The Vandells with my son, playing Lead Guitar. We enjoyed performing in the pubs and clubs of Reading. Today I like to be in bed by 10pm!
Claim to fame?
One of the loveliest projects I’ve been involved in at The Blade was encouraging the Peregrine Falcons to nest on the roof. After disturbing what I thought was a pigeon we realised we actually had a Peregrine Falcon up there. It was suggested we install a specialist nesting box but even after doing so the birds didn’t return. We were told that the box had to be moved and face due north. A simple switch around and they returned! I worked with our IT team to install a web cam so we could keep an eye on the birds, their eggs and even see the chicks hatch! The story was picked up by BBC Radio Berkshire and I was invited for a live interview along with a bird expert. Sadly I got my bird names mixed up and referred to the pigeons who were avoiding the roof as Penguins. When I got back to The Blade lots of my colleagues were doing a penguin dance!
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