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Tristan Cooke Managing Director

Having been with the business since 1997, Tristan Cooke became Managing Director of Mila Window and Door Maintenance in September 2015 following the retirement of the man who founded the company in 1987, Dave Cooke.

Tristan’s drive and determination have continued to push the business forward with ‘Innovation’ a key driver for him personally and a key thread underpinning the ethos of the whole company.

In 2016 this emphasis on innovation saw the company win the Housing Innovation Awards ‘Best Repairs and Maintenance Scheme’ for their work with London and Quadrant Housing in which they identified a new way of working, and then implemented it for the benefit of all parties.

“It was a fitting reward for the way the whole team thinks and works, we are always looking at ways we can do our job better, even if this means introducing completely new ideas, and at how these new ideas can help our clients and their residents”.

“We are a service business and my style is to constantly look for ways in which we can be smarter in what we do. Everybody wins – us as a business, our clients, their residents, our supply chain partners”.

“Innovation is our lifeblood and we are committed not only to changing the way we work, but hopefully the way others do too. A positive approach to change is really important – it is what has kept us thriving in business for over 30 years and has seen us complete over 1.1 million repairs to date”.

Tristan is a passionate football fan – he has followed Leeds United all his life, but his love of football goes much further. He gave up most weekends for the last 10 years to coach junior teams in the area, and with great success.

Click here to see a blog written by Tristan about his coaching experiences.

“I am no different to most people, I would have loved to have played football professionally, but it wasn’t to be, so I channelled my enthusiasm into trying to train others who potentially could be”.

“I coached a local junior team from under 8’s up to under 16’s, boys and girls and enjoyed it immensely. We had some success over the years and progressed from a team that struggled to pass a ball to one that regularly competed in finals and won league competitions. It is great to see kids progress through the age groups, enjoy what they are doing, and get something out of being a part of a team. Teamwork is a massive asset in any sport, life or work, and I helped them realise that, which turned them into winners on the field and has hopefully given them something which they can take into all other areas of their life”.

Will Chan Business Development Manager

Will Chan has worked at Mila Window and Door Maintenance as Business Development Manager since 2014. His role covers the Southern areas of the country, offering support to new customers and their customers.

Will has scoped out his current role to provide the best support and assistance for his customers – targeting organisations from within social housing and Local Authority sectors. His passion for the role has lead him to develop several marketing and customer service initiatives, to help support his personal desire to build successful relationships with customers.

“I’m fortunate to have previous marketing experience, giving me a better understanding for developing the needs of customers. Primarily, I target organisations in the housing sector, however, my role has developed to support the business to help adapt our services and attitudes to also cater for the needs of customers in the hospitality, education and commercial sectors.”    

Since joining the business, Will has assisted in the production of several promotional videos to help promote alternative solutions for its customers, “We are constantly looking at ways of assisting our customers to look at alternative solutions, other than just replacing windows or doors.

“In our experience, providing this sort of knowledge and having the skills to deliver such expertise, helps customers make huge cost savings over the period of their contracts with Mila. Add to this, my appetite to build successful relationships with our customers, by getting things right the first time – customers will be getting a winning partnership.”

Will is an avid tennis player – “I’m no Andy Murray, but tennis helps me to wind down after a long day travelling or visiting customers. It also gives me a great social aspect to my free-time, playing twice a week and meeting some great individuals.

A big passion of Will’s is also his involvement in Southern based charity Donations With A Difference (DWAD.org), where he is a Trustee. “I am extremely passionate about DWAD and the difference it makes to the people who we help. Life can hand out some extreme difficulties to certain people and I am so pleased that I am involved with the charity, helping those people to achieve what they may deem in some cases, as impossible.”

DWAD.org provides grants for physical, mental health and educational cases. The organisation aims to provide, through its application process, the funding needed to part or fully help the project/individual be successful.

“We help raise funds through a variety of activities, and then donate the monies we raise locally. Some of 2016’s donations, went towards providing additional storage space for homing food supplies for the homeless, the annual hire of a sports hall for disabled children and providing a young girl with a bespoke wheelchair, giving her the freedom to join in with more activities with her school friend.”

Will also is an enthusiastic Spurs fan – but finds lately, when his sons allow him, it is much easier and more cost effective to watch his favourite team in the comfort of his front room.

Rick Awdas Business Development Manager

Rick Awdas has worked at Mila Window and Door Maintenance as Business Development Manager since 2016. His role covers Northern areas of the country, from Birmingham to Scotland offering support to new clients.

Joining Mila in 2016, Rick has developed his territory with his strong knowledge and understanding of social housing and local authority contracts. Spending most of his career working for organisations in this sector, he has a good affiliation with the needs of clients and the housing sector.

“The experience I have gained working in the social housing arena has played a vital part in my job role at Mila – I have a good understanding of terminologies, practices and processes used by our clients, therefore enabling me to work with them – appreciating their needs.”

Rick’s career has allowed him to practise a range of experiences within the sector, such as; asset management, supply chain management, an appreciation of ‘Value-for-Money’ initiatives and chairing a ‘National Scrutiny Panel’ for a large housing association.

“I was fortunate to stand as Chairman for one of Riverside’s National Scrutiny Committees (NSC), an initiative set up to examine different areas of service for the association. Our group assisted service managers, by sharing our opinions, before projects were rolled out. This gained me a good understanding from a tenant’s perspective and an insight into how the associations develop polices for other areas.”

Albeit, Rick is not primarily from a window and door background, his commercial input to the business has been greatly received by his fellow colleagues, and with their support has aided him to develop his technical expertise.

“I have a strong commercial background, but lacked certain technical know-how when joining Mila. My work colleagues have been fantastic in supporting me to improve and develop quickly in this area of my role –I am very grateful.”

Rick, recently adopted Murray, a two-year-old, cross border terrier, who had been brought into the UK from Spain. “Unfortunately, his family were unable to keep Murray, so we took him in. I have been spending a lot of time walking and training him to like other dogs since his arrival. He is still quite young and very territorial.”

Rick also donates his time at a local football club – FC United of Manchester. The club is structured as a Community Benefit Society organisation, which means it is owned by its members – mainly made up of the local community. Anyone is welcome to a share of the club, allowed to vote on its future.

“In 2015, the club had a new 5000 seated stadium built, costing in the region of about £5/6m. This has given the club a great setting to play in the National Northern League. I have been involved with FC United in one capacity or another, since it was first set up in 2005. I currently, spend most of my weekends when the teams are at home, operating the public-address system at the grounds.”

Dean Bradford Contract Manager

Dean Bradford has worked at Mila Window and Door Maintenance since 2011 and worked as Contracts Manager for the past two-years. His role supports clients and tenants at several national housing associations, alongside providing direction and knowledge to the company’s service engineers.

Dean has spent most of his time in his current role, assisting and supporting several London based housing associations with their ongoing programmes of responsive maintenance.

“I mostly work on-site with the association’s surveyors and contract managers; ensuring a smooth transition with the contracts demands. Each association is different and needs different levels of management. It’s my role to ensure that each contract is provided with the best technical advice and offered the best solution for the problems they face.

Dean has also been working with Northern-based agency – Ongo Housing Association – providing support to the clients refit programme. This is an unusual contract for Mila, in as much that they are providing a full installation service for over 75+ houses.

“Mila is managing the contract for Ongo providing; surveying, measuring, ordering, fitting and completion inspection for their refit programme. I have been responsible for overseeing each stage of the clients need and overall managing the project.”

Dean’s previous roles have included – service engineer and contracts administration.

Dean is blessed with twin children – a boy and a girl aged 12-years old and spends most of his free time transporting his son to football matches.

“My son has been fortunate enough to have won a place with Sheffield Wednesday’s Youth Academy, so most of my free time is spent watching my son train or play football. I played myself from the age of 18-years until I was 30; semi-pro, so it’s lovely to see that he may well following in my footsteps.

“I do get some rewards out of being a dad chauffer, every home match I get to watch Sheffield play, as he normally has to attend the match as a ball boy.”

Dean also enjoys a spot of fishing and annually organises a ‘Boy’s weekend trip’ to Decoy Lakes, Peterborough.

“With 11 different lakes on site, Decoy is a great place to get away and spend some time with the lads. Fishing is a good way of relaxing and taking your mind off the busy demands day to day.”

Richard Smith Contract Manager

Richard Smith has worked at Mila Window and Door Maintenance since 1996, taking on varying roles. He has been employed as a Contracts Manager for the past 10 years. His role supports clients and tenants at several national housing associations, alongside providing direction and knowledge to the company’s service engineers.

Richard provides support to one of the UK’s largest residential developers, as well as numerous other public sector and privately owned clients.

“My role has involved the undertaking of one of our more successful contracts over the last 10 years – working with the London and Quadrant Housing Association. The Association provides over 90,000 homes throughout London and the South East – seven districts in total.

Mila’s involvement has been to assist the client with a quality and rapid repair response service. In his role, Richard ensures the organisation meets the client’s expectations when coordinating staff onsite to carry out repairs, liaising at all levels throughout the chain and managing support to the various departments within the association.

“The role of Contracts Manager is very complexed in a way that you are not only offering customer support and advice on money saving solutions for each job, but you also have to do the best for the tenants when surveying properties.”  

Richard originally joined the business, at ground level working as a service engineer, before being appointed internally to the position of Factory Manager at the company’s former fire door division.

“Prior to moving to our current building, Mila manufactured and supplied a range of fire doors. I worked as Factory Manager at the plant and then moved on to work as a Contracts Manager when the operation ceased manufacturing.

“The experience I have gained from this and other roles in my 21-years of working for Mila, have contributed towards my ability to offer clients good advice on a day-to-day basis.”  

Richard is a massive cricket fan and when cricket season kicks in – he supports his local cricket side, West Bretton Cricket Club by taking care of the grounds. Richard used to bowl for the team, which current sits in division one of the Pontefract and District League.

“Both, my wife and I are involved at the club. I help look after the grounds during the summer months, whilst my wife scores when the team play at home. It’s a fantastic sport and nothing compares to watching a game on a summer’s day.”

Richard is also an avid Barnsley FC supporter, and at every opportunity supports his team. “I would have loved to have played for my home town team – it would have made me extremely proud. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen and now I enjoy supporting them whenever possible.”

Something else, Richard is also proud of is his son, Luke. A keen cricket and football player, he not only played junior cricket for South Yorkshire, but also won a place with Sheffield Wednesday FC Academy at an early age. Luke unfortunately, didn’t make it through as a professional footballer for the team, but found himself, via the academy, a university placement in the US.   

“My son has been living and studying in the USA since he was 18-years old. After leaving the academy, he was given a scholarship at West Texas University to continue his football, but also decided to study chemistry. He is doing really well, loving the life in the US, and is looking forward towards doing a Masters Degree once he graduates.”

Chris France Contract Manager

Chris France has worked at Mila Window and Door Maintenance since 1992, helping David Cooke, the original owner of the business. He is now responsible for supporting Mila’s Contract Managers and Service Engineers.

A major part of Chris’s role involves the coordination of Mila’s service department and to ensure the company keeps up-to-date with the industry latest standards and qualifications – he oversees training and certification for the service engineers.

“My role is quite diverse, I have a proactive part to play, understanding the details of Mila’s contracts, but also ensure our engineers are kept up-to-date with the required qualifications needed to fulfil our client’s requirements.

“It is very much a supportive role, enhanced because of my vast experience within the business, I can lend support and advice if problems occur onsite.”

Chris, started with Mila after being made redundant when the local coal mines were closed in the mid-90s.

“Dave Cooke (the original founder of Mila Maintenance) and I worked together as fitters underground at the mines and after losing our jobs, he contacted me to join the business. I never thought, 25 years later I would still be here!”

Chris understands how important it is to offer the best service to Mila’s clients and enjoys delivering and coordinating the training needed for the engineers. “I’m proud that I have played a part developing so many individual’s careers at Mila, in particularly the youngsters. It’s a great feeling to know you have helped progress and develop them through the business.”

Chris admits, nowadays he likes to spend his time outside of work relaxing. However, he has a passion for shooting and is often joined by his two sons at his local clay shooting ground in Woodhead.

“Clay shooting is a great way of winding down at a weekend. Both my lads are grown-up, but it’s a sport both enjoy as much as me, it’s great to spend time with them on my own, away from the rest of the family.”

Chris’s other interests include watching Barnsley FC play home matches, where he is again joined by one of his son’s, who also supports the club and annual visits to the Lake District.

“Me and my wife have been visiting Bowness every year for the last 30 years. Once, I get there I park the car up for the weekend and jump on local public transport – I get to have a pint without worrying about driving and my wife gets to visit all the local shops and spend my money!”

Sarah Whitaker Office Manager

Sarah Whitaker has worked at Mila Window and Door Maintenance since July 2001, in numerous administration roles before becoming Office Manager in 2015. The main scope of her role is to oversee a team of internal administrators and ensure service is kept to an acceptance level for all Mila’s customers.

Since joining the business in 2001, Sarah has built up her experience and knowledge of the organisation and its customers, through various administration roles which provide support to clients.

“I know the businesses processes inside-out having worked for 16 years in the organisation. Starting off in a junior position, my role has developed to the point where I now have a major input into the commercial and operational activities which affect our clients.

In 2016, Sarah was involved in several major initiatives for the company, along with the acquisition of a competitor’s business in Folkestone, Kent and the implementation of a new software processing system.

“The business acquired the new site in Folkestone to help support our Southern based clients and oversee other contracts the business had at the time. I took a proactive role in providing support and guidance to the existing staff at the site.

“It was a massive learning curve, the site had its own administration processes and systems and my role was to train and guide the staff to bring them up to speed with our internal process, and due to the location, it also meant several days away from home.”

The company has also undergone a series of investments to improve its back-office internal software system, of which Sarah has played a crucial part in implementing.

“The knowledge I have gained through my years working at Mila has been invaluable helping support the implementation of the new software package. The system not only has to run our current processes, but also enhance them so we can support our Service Engineers, Clients and Tenants more now and in the future.”

Sarah openly admits that work is her social life and with three children, it’s no big surprise.

“I work full-time at Mila, and with three children at home you can imagine my free time outside of work is dominated by them and my husband. Although, I do get the occasion down-time to enjoy a glass of white wine.

“Both, my elder sons are into football, so weekday training and weekend matches are continuous during the football session for me and my husband as we play taxi. Mila Maintenance also sponsor my younger son’s team (which my husband Manages) and provide them with their kit.  

“Since a small girl, I have ridden horses, even owning my own horse when I lived with my parents up until I was 16-years old. My ambition would be to have my own horse again and teach my daughter to ride, hopefully one day!”   

Tina Marsh Office Manager

Tina Marsh joined Mila Window and Door Maintenance in September 2016, when Mila acquired the contracts company she had been working for over the past 8-years.

As Office Manager, Tina oversees the commercial operations at the site in Folkestone, managing four administration staff.

“After my previous employer sold the business to Mila, I continued in my role. The owners had developed the business as far as they could, so it was great that Mila came along and invested in an acquisition.

“My experience of working for Mila to date has been challenging and coming from a small, family-run business, to working for a larger, company has been somewhat daunting at some points. However, I am enjoying my time and getting my teeth into all aspects of the role.

“Although, presently our client-base has remained the same, the operational side of the business has seen some changes; the introduction of new software systems and processes to help improve our offering and bring them in-line with the rest of the business. This has been a massive learning curve for me and my staff, but overall the long-term benefits will mean our operation will slicker and offer customers a better all-round service.”

Tina looks forward to developing her role further in the organisation with the assistance of her new colleagues.

Tina has a great passion for travelling and confesses that although she enjoys her job, it helps her to achieve her dream vacations and working hard benefits her to finance the trips.

“I have been to many places in the US including New York, Las Vegas, Orlando and Miami, but I must admit more recently I fell out with America and have started to visit places around Europe.

“My current favourite place is a resort on the coast of mainland Spain. I have a planned visit soon and hoping to take my mother there. It would be my ideal place to retire to, if ever I’m in the position!”

Tina is very big on family life, and although has no children of her own, loves spending weekends with her brother and her baby niece.

“I visit my family most weekend, we are a very close family and I enjoy spending time with my mother and brother whenever I can.”