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FirstPort colleagues recognised as Unsung Heroes for 2023

FirstPort colleagues have been recognised as News on the Block’s Unsung Heroes for 2023.

The awards, which are into their third year, are in place to acknowledge those in the property sector who go above and beyond to help make residents’ lives easier.

This year’s theme is onsite staff in the leasehold property industry who have gone the extra mile.

All the 2023 Unsung Heroes have been invited to a drinks reception in April to celebrate the win.

FirstPort’s 10 winners are as follows:

Dean Smith – Concierge

As the concierge at his development, Dean is not just the key point of contact for the residents – who are primarily senior citizens – he also takes on the roles of gardener, cleaner, and on-site caretaker. He is the eyes and ears of the development and he’ll always be on hand to assist or report any problems to the Property Manager. Dean has been working at the development for the past 14 years and throughout this time he’s developed a brilliant working relationship with residents by consistently showing a strong commitment to their happiness and safety.   

Martin Hares – Maintenance Operative

Martin is a much loved, familiar face to colleagues and residents alike, and is known for regularly going above and beyond to keep the development safe and well maintained. Prior to joining FirstPort, Martin enjoyed a successful career as a firefighter, amassing experience and expertise that has proven invaluable in his current role. Martin has formed a strong positive liaison role with Kent Fire and Rescue, and he is happy to escort the fire crews round the blocks to ensure they are familiar with layout, as part of routine procedures to ensure the safety of the buildings and their residents.  

Melville Dcosta – Concierge

Melville works in a team of six concierge, supporting a total of 16 site staff. He is a go to colleague for all his peers, from fellow concierge to cleaners, who all look up to him and seek advice if there is an issue to resolve.  In August 2022, he was required to cover a Development Manager’s leave at short notice.  Melville had to take on a lot more senior activity – managing staff, keeping contractors happy etc – he took the whole thing in his stride and did an absolutely fantastic job, proving he was ready to take on more responsibility. 

Stephen Benford – Development Manager

Stephen went over and above without any hesitation to support the Development Manager and residents of his neighbouring retirement development following a tragic incident last October. Understandably, it had an enormous impact on residents from both developments, as well as the Development Manager and the wider community. Since the incident, Stephen has gone above and beyond to help in any way he can. Not only has he worked tirelessly with the insurance provider and contractors on remedial works associated with the incident, but he’s also stepped in as Development Manager for the neighbouring development.

Yesid Rodriguez-Valencia – Concierge

Yesid is a popular member of the on-site team at his development in London and he often goes above and beyond to help residents and colleagues alike. In September, there was a fire in the entrance area of the development. As soon as Yesid was made aware of the incident, he came straight to work and offered reassurance to residents while making sure they were regularly provided with updates throughout the day. The communal doors were shattered during the fire, so Yesid volunteered to remain at the development into the evening to ensure there was someone covering the front desk until an out of hours security team arrived.

James McFerran – Development Manager

James McFerran has been with FirstPort for 12 years and he is currently the Development Manager at a residential development consisting of 204 homes in Reading. James is a much-loved member of the community and is well-regarded by colleagues and residents for his selfless dedication to the smooth and safe running of his development. 

Rhys Brown – Development Manager

Rhys is a dedicated Development Manager who puts his residents and colleagues first. This includes doing what he can to save costs for residents, helping colleagues, and most importantly, providing a positive service to the customer. Rhys is an excellent leader who is happy to muck in with the rest of his team in order to benefit his development.

Juan Garcia – Development Manager

Juan not only facilitated his colleagues’ transition from his assistant development manager to a development manager, he also guidance and support as the colleague navigated the demands of the new role. He is a great person who always takes the time to help anyone who needs it.

Derek Stannard – Concierge

Derek looks after his site to an impeccable standard. He is loved by all and goes out of his way for residents and event their neighbour sites.

Bhavesh Vyas – Concierge

Bhavesh has gone out of his way to provide training to a new team member, by coming in on his days off and creating training plans. He knows his development inside out and always has a big smile. He is extremely passionate and takes a lot of pride in what he does.