Dave Cook, Commercial Director

Our staff profiles introduce you to some of our incredible colleagues who are dedicated to providing our pupils with the best learning opportunities. In this profile, we talked with Futura’s Commercial Director, Dave Cook.

What’s the best part of working for Futura? 

I received support to complete my MBA.; there’s a positive culture of work-life balance, and the values shout out to me personally.

Who inspires you? 

Anyone who displays resilience and consistent positivity.  My mother is a huge inspiration for this reason.  I love to surround myself with people who see opportunities and positives in the negatives and can find solutions.

What three items would you take with you to a deserted island? 

  1. My AirPods because I love listening to podcasts.
  2. A barbeque so that I can eat.
  3. A blank journal because recording my reflections on living on a desert island will be really interesting.

Why did you decide to work in education?   

It was by accident.  My background is in the sports and fitness industry.  I was headhunted to be a lecturer at Weston College and completed a PGCE.  I worked there before moving back into health club management. Five years ago, an opportunity to run multiple sites across the trust came up, which attracted me.  My background in education gave me a real understanding of the education setting and the level of governance and political stances that you have to work with.

What does a typical day look like?

There isn’t one; it’s varied! I can go from writing a three-year strategy to stacking chairs after an event and everything in between.  I look after:

  • Our two sports centres at Wellsway and SBL
  • School lets across eight of our sites
  • Catering operations across the trust
  • School sports partnership that has a membership of 48 schools
  • Zest Childcare is a product we’re rolling out, which is wraparound childcare in several primary schools.

This is combined with bid writing, project management, strategy writing, etc.

My main aims in my role are to generate significant income for the trust and boost community engagement, which will ultimately impact teaching and learning.

I directly manage six support managers; the team is about 140 staff members.

What do you enjoy most about your role? 

I love the variety.  I love supporting and mentoring the team and watching them grow.

What’s the most challenging part of your role? 

The variety, switching my mind between my various roles, is challenging.  Also, raising awareness of what we do with school-based colleagues so they understand that we’re here to work collaboratively and support them by generating income that will have an impact in the classroom.

What’s your proudest achievement in your role? 

Personally, it’s the completion of my MBA.  For Futura, it’s turning a significant curve after lots of Covid disruption; this year, we’re set to double our projected profit.

What’s your most-used productivity hack? 

Tech, it’s the way forward.  We have eradicated paper within our operation, which has brought many benefits.  The trust is embracing this, and we are moving into that modern, tech-savvy world.

Who deserves a special shout-out, and why?  

The Executive Leadership Group because they have been continuously supportive.  Also, all the commercial services team because our success wouldn’t be possible without them.