UCL News


Spotlight on... Maksims Ivkins

11 July 2019

This week’s Spotlight is on Maksims Ivkins, Building Attendant/Security in the North-West wing. Maks won the “Outstanding Contribution to Staff Experience” award at last month’s Professional Services Awards. Here he talks about teamwork, space exploration and why he loves Lisbon,

Photo of Maksims Ivkins receiving his Professional Services Award

What is your role and what does it involve?

I am the Building Attendant/Security in the North-West wing. My role involves maintaining a safe and secure environment for all students, staff and visitors at UCL as well as reporting on building maintenance issues, controlling access and welcoming and supporting all visitors on UCL premises. As the building is one of the first buildings you see when entering the Quad at UCL, I am often the first point of contact for visitors, so making a good first impression for the university is very important. I work especially closely with the Department of Geography, as well as all professional services and other educational departments to maintain a proactive service.  

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

I have been working at UCL for about seven years. Before that I was a student at Waltham Forest College where I took a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sports, and worked part-time as a security officer at football grounds such as Wembley Stadium and Charlton Athletic FC and at various festivals such as the V-Festival.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

In my opinion, one of the key elements to achieve success at UCL has always been to work as one team. Whether you are in the educational sector or facilities sector we can all make a huge difference at UCL by working together! I have always been committed to upholding that positive atmosphere, to keep delivering great service to all people at UCL and to supporting anyone I can. I have worked in various buildings of UCL together with all kinds of departments – not only have I had a great experience, but I also developed great relationships with lots of people at UCL. As it turns out I have achieved something I have been working on since day one and demonstrated how effective services at UCL can become by working together with staff and students. At the recent Professional Services Awards, I was awarded for “Outstanding Contribution to Staff Experience”. I am very glad that my hard work has been recognised, and that I could make a difference to people’s working lives in the Department of Geography.

Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?

Apart from making sure that our services are running smoothly, and everyone gets the support they deserve, I would love to improve our communications at UCL. Whether you are a visitor, are hosting an event in an unfamiliar building, or a student that was misinformed about the location of their lecture or seminar, sometimes UCL can feel like a maze. My top priority project will be to make sure I support and suggest new ideas for UCL communicators in all sectors by working closely with Departmental Managers, Estates and Customer Services, and student bodies, to improve frontline services and security. 

What is your favourite album, film and novel?

Album: It’s a tricky one, as I enjoy listening to all kinds of songs! I will say it’s Haddaway – The Album.
Film: As someone interested in astronomy, I will always appreciate a good movie about either space exploration or a good documentary about NASA’s plans for future missions! I really loved Hidden Figures – about the African-American women at NASA that made a huge difference during the Space Race and first launches of spacecraft into Earth’s orbit. Not only it was based on a true story, it also shows how hard it is to be a scientist at NASA.
Novel: I don’t have a specific novel in mind, but Iove reading history books, especially about medieval times! 

What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?

How do you know when the moon has enough to eat?

When it’s full!

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

Albert Einstein, but not to speak about quantum physics or string theory – I guess I would avoid showing off my research in physics!
Bruce Lee! It would be an honour to meet someone like him. As someone who spent most of his childhood practicing martial arts, I have lots of things to discuss!
Chris Hadfield, hero astronaut, engineer and former Air Force pilot who also served as commander of the International Space Station! One of the legendary astronauts.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Stop worrying so much! You are doing great!

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I love nature and I love and support science, especially space exploration!

I have spent more than 8 years doing Muay Thai (Thai boxing).

What is your favourite place?

Lisbon, Portugal – what an incredible place! So much in there that I love: the nature, the clear skies and the amazing land right next to the coast! I go there every year with my missus and absolutely refuse to come back – I can’t think of a better place in Europe.