Luke Smith - Maintenance Manager

Published on : 5/8/24
  • Tenacity has been a defining characteristic of Luke Smith’s career, with an appetite to learn, unflappable self-belief and the ability to ‘roll with the punches’ seeing him continually succeed, grow, and thrive.

    Starting out as a relief Health and Lifestyle Coordinator (HLC) with Sodexo, the young battler has stepped up in various roles—including Assistant Village Manager—before taking on his latest challenge as Acting Maintenance Manager in Jabiru. 

    “It’s a far cry from where I started, but I am proud to have the opportunity to expand my skills and knowledge in the business,” Luke said. 

    Reflecting on his career growth, Luke expressed his pride in seizing opportunities to broaden his expertise, highlighting Sodexo’s recognition of his potential and his candidness about his learning curve. 

    “I am the first to admit when I don’t know everything, and the first to call on others to get the best possible outcome for the client,” he said. 

    He now manages a vital range of responsibilities, looking after both temporary and permanent accommodations and well-loved facilities in a unique self-contained township. 

    This role challenges him to manage a diverse array of policies, tradespeople, and work orders, demonstrating his substantial impact on service improvement—a factor that led to the client's request for his permanent involvement in the project. 

    “My role was supposed to be short stint, but a couple of months in the client specially called out my work and recognised the change in service that I have introduced. They wanted me around on a permanent basis,” he said. 

    “That comes close to one of the proudest achievements of my career.” 

    Luke’s crowning achievement is the astronomical growth he has had with the business—going from running fitness sessions for 6 or 7 people to managing a team of 26 who look after more than 400 residents every day. 

    As Acting Maintenance Manager, Luke is across 172 policies, oversees 15 trades, and completes more than 300 work orders a month. He has certainly ignited is career in FM. 

    Taking the punt

    Like all good stories, Luke’s journey with Sodexo started with a punt. Having studied for a health and wellness career, Luke set himself a challenge to go beyond personal training. 

    “I paid my own flights and travelled to Perth from New South Wales to interview with Sodexo’s National Wellness Manager. I was committed to making a strong impression,” he said. 

    By the end of the interview, he had a relief role with a determination to build and deliver a program within the business. 

    Sway with the breeze

    Once Luke was placed on a permanent Fly-In, Fly-Out (FIFO) roster out of Perth, it was only a matter of time before he started climbing through the ranks. 

    “It was never my intention to diverge from my original career goal, but when the chances came up, I thought to myself ‘I just have to do it’,” he said. 

    “I went from relief HLC to a HLC Program Manager on a site, then into an Accommodation / Assistant Village Management role with strong understanding of workplace health and safety.” 

    With opportunities coming thick and fast for someone like Luke who demonstrated leadership, Spirit of Service, and a willingness to get stuck in an learn new things, things came to a head when he was offered progression in the management space.

    “Management sounded interesting to me, and something that wasn’t so daunting with the resources Sodexo had for the transition,” he said. 

    “I had great interpersonal skills, organisation, and a solution-focussed mindset, which made me a great candidate for upskilling and additional responsibilities—it also meant that I was prepared to pick up and move for the right role.” 

    Coincidentally, that ‘right role’ existed in Jabiru.

    Heart of the Australia’s Largest National Park 

    His move to Jabiru, located in the heart of one of Australia's most secluded national parks, marked a significant life change for Luke and his family. It presented a unique living and working environment that Luke and his family have embraced as an enriching experience 
    “When I moved here with my family in a new place and a new role, I started from ground zero again. It felt like my first day at Sodexo all over again,” Luke said.

    Not everyone can say that they have lived and worked in one of the largest and most remote national parks—let alone a world heritage site. 

    “I’m super grateful to Sodexo for the opportunity, and really see this as an incredible experience for me and my family,” he said. 

    “I know that some people would look at me and ask what I am doing, I have been with Sodexo for nine years. But they don’t understand the variety and breath of work available to me.  

    “A couple of years ago I considered a Village Manager role as a stretch for me but now having ticked that role and moving on to the next. Every day, I am learning new things and building out a skillset that will help me take on the next opportunity with the company when it comes along.”

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