The Caterer

Acorn winners 2017: Martin Miller

09 June 2017 by
Acorn winners 2017: Martin Miller

Head of residential services, University of Leicester

Nominated by Chris Harrison, deputy director of campus services, University of Leicester

Proudest moment "A few years ago when I was seconded at short notice to manage allocations to the university's residences at the busiest time of the year. During this period, conversion to halls of residence improved by 5% on the previous year."

Greatest inspiration "Successful, determined people who are forward-thinking and able to make positive changes through innovation."

Ambition "To build on my experience and to work towards senior roles in management, particularly in the higher education sector."

As a University of Leicester graduate, Martin Miller has put his insider knowledge to good use, not least by helping the residential services department to engage more student customers by finding out what is important to them and giving them that information at open days.

Indeed, Miller's refreshing approach marked him out when he did an internship with the department in 2011. His initial project was to provide a feasibility study for the creation of a university-led, privately rented student accommodation scheme. His findings were so useful that he landed himself the newly created role of business analyst, assessing the commercial competitiveness of the services.

By June 2015, he had been appointed acting accommodation manager and a year later was promoted to his current role, leading 140 staff across customer service, sales and marketing, cleaning, portering and "residence life". As part of the senior team, he is working on a five-year plan that includes developing up to 1,000 bed spaces close to the main campus.

So far, he has increased occupancy from 95% to 98% and boosted income generated by the residential estate from £22.1m to £22.8m. He has also restructured the team to improve the 24/7 customer experience and led the development of the Welcome to Leicester project, which will give new students structured arrivals and induction processes.

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