30 years at intu - Meet Mick Steele
Published on 16/05/2018

Tell us a bit about your career at intu
I visited the town one day and noticed a huge hoarding surrounding what used to be my favourite chip shop amongst other buildings, and I wondered what was being done there. I saw an advert for a new shopping centre and a security position advertised in a local paper so I applied. I had never worked in security before but after the interview – I got the job!

So, that’s how it began?
Yes. I did the first ever night shift in 1988, the centre was still a construction site at the time. Towards the end of the year, I was promoted to deputy head of security and a couple of years later, as night manager. The general manager at the time asked me if I would look after the night cleaning team. Although I didn’t have any knowledge about this area of work, I got to know the team very well and we were a great team – the centre was spotless! I soon became operations manager and have been in this position ever since.

Who is the most inspiring person you’ve met?
It’s difficult because I’ve always worked with inspiring people! I’ve had seven general managers and I’ve learnt something from each of them. The culture at intu enables employees to be creative, bold and genuine and that alone is inspiring.

Has anyone famous visited the centre?
We welcomed Princess Margaret in 1989 to unveil a vase which commemorated the industrial heritage of Stoke-On-Trent. It was a very special moment for us and shows just how the centre is a vibrant focal point of the community.

What do you enjoy about working in retail?
Meeting customers and helping our 80 plus retailers flourish each day.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen at intu Potteries?
The opening of the fantastic £20 million retail and leisure development in 2015 – it’s now complete with great shops, restaurants and a cinema for the perfect day out experience. This has attracted even more great brands to the centre, most recently Lovisa. It has been a catalyst to drive even more customers to visit from further and for longer.

Tell us about intu’s work for the local community?
intu is very much a people business – its guided by its culture and its values. This very much guides the approach we take with the community. We know that by working with local people, we can create real advantages for the local economy that benefit communities and our business. It’s a great pleasure to work for a company that takes its role in the communities it operates in so seriously.

That explains the famous wall painting at intu Potteries then…
Yes, it does. It was painted by a local retired teacher following a local competition. He painted the walls in the car park at intu Potteries. The paintings feature people who resonate with the city of Stoke-On-Trent. He sat there nights on end painting, and I spent a lot of time talking to him on my nightshift.

The walls feature famous people including Reginald Mitchell, who invented the Spitfire, Captain Smith who was Capitan of the Titanic and famous footballer Stanley Matthews. This location is a hotspot for customers visiting the centre. I’m really proud of the history and heritage of Stoke-On-Trent, it means a lot to me and it’s great to see this reflected in the architecture of the centre.

How would you sum up your last 30 years at intu?
It has been an absolute pleasure. It is a wonderful place to work and an amazing learning experience. 30 years has passed and I’m feeling sad to be leaving – it’s an end of an era! I’ve met the most wonderful and talented people from across the retail/property industry, and have forged long-standing friendships. intu employs great people and nurtures their passion and I have some great memories to take with me on my retirement.

How will you spend your retirement?
I’m going to have a holiday. I want to explore the UK and continue bowling at my local bowling club which I was president for a long time ago.

Any words of wisdom for those starting their careers at intu?
Enjoy the environment, it’s a fantastic place to work!

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