“I’m on a mission,”
— said Diane Thorpe, before adding, “Call me Di – all my friends do”.
Our chat, along with Atlas Site Manager Joanne Thomas (pictured), takes place in Duke’s Hall at the Royal Academy of Music, dominated by the magnificent pipe organ at the front of the room. “It was donated by Sir Elton John,” Di informs me.
Founded in 1822, the Academy turns 200 next year. “I’m bringing it into its 3rd centennial,” she continued-
“and I simply cannot do that without Atlas; Jo is my eyes and ears, the one who makes everything work here. Nothing is ever too much trouble”.
Di is the Head of Estates for the Academy and joined in July 2019 and very much sees herself as a custodian of one of the UK’s most austere institutions. “The Academy is Britain’s oldest conservatoire, and I am proud that we can play a part in maintaining its world-class reputation”.
Di led the procurement process when the cleaning contract was put to tender. “It was a six-month exercise and Atlas won it–quite rightly! It’s a partnership and I value and appreciate everything that Atlas and the on-site team do, especially Jo.”
“After the first lockdown, when Atlas had been looking after the entire estate for several months,” says Di, “people started coming back and were all saying, It feels clean! And it did… and does! We don’t get any cleaning complaints at all”.
The team faces the challenge of working in an environment that is occupied and used to the full seven days a week. “My beacon is Attention to Detail,” explains Jo. “Door plates–Brasso! And keeping the glass free of fingerprints.”
One of our environmentally friendly innovations that helped to achieve this is the KILLIS Lotus Pro System that turns ordinary tap water into Stabilised Aqueous Ozone (SAO), nature’s most powerful cleaner. “Fabulous!” says Di. “I love that.”
Di Thorpe is an absolute delight to be around–a fireball of enthusiasm, a powerhouse force for positive change, yet a kind and generous soul who resonates like a well-tuned instrument to others who share her drive for excellence.
Her final word, before being reluctantly pulled away to her next meeting, was direct and powerful.