A Profile of Brooke Bohme
Delivering In-Depth, Inside Building Knowledge to Healthcare Facilities

 

Brooke Bohme
Director of Engineering
Children’s Health

 

Brooke Bohme, the Director of Engineering at Children’s Health in Dallas, Texas, has always been curious about what’s behind the walls.

Growing up in a small town in Western Kansas, she had excellent exposure to building systems through her dad’s rental property business. At an early age, she knew she wanted to work with buildings. Despite some initial discouragement, she persevered and earned a BA in Architectural Engineering from the University of Kansas. Brooke is an architectural engineer, which is an engineer with an understanding of all building systems.

She also got a professional engineering license in mechanical engineering and did consult engineering design of hospital mechanical systems when she started her career.

Brooke was providing consulting design for Children’s Health when they approached her about a job.

“I’ve always been interested in the other side,” she said. “I’d been traveling a lot as a consultant, and had a toddler at the time, and the offer came at exactly the right time.”

One event she’ll always remember is Snowmagedden, the great Texas snowstorm of February 2021. For five days, the entire state was practically paralyzed by snow and ice during the 100-year storm, with treacherous roads and power outages making life a mess for tough Texans.

Schools were closed, flights were canceled, and the governor said it was one of the most significant icing events that the state has had in several decades.

“Our systems are not designed for abnormally low temperatures lasting for days,” explained Brooke. “A pipe burst in our generator room, which put our emergency electrical system at risk.  With the strain of demand on the power grid, having a fully functioning emergency power system was critical. We were able to lean on relationships with our electrical contractors to make an emergency repair which mitigated the risk to our emergency power system. We had planned to have staff onsite overnight and that planning paid off and our patients weren’t impacted.”

She’s leveraged her experience with mechanical, electrical, and plumbing to manage an in-house team who get down and dirty solving problems and doing challenging infrastructure upgrades.

Being in a hospital environment with kids can be intense and stressful, so she’s happy to see things like LED lighting which kids can control with iPads -- making the environment more fun and engaging.

While being a part of a team keeping three hospitals and almost a million square feet of offsite facility space up and running takes focus and attention, Brooke has concerns that keep her up at night including current labor force issues.

“No one is preaching trade schools,” she said. “We have guys hitting 60. We’ve got to train these guys to train the next generation. Sometimes it feels like this issue is a little out of our control. There’s so much opportunity, just not enough labor.”

She also believes in the role of technology in healthcare facility management to give teams the ability to document what requires maintenance and show both past and present building performance data to help make the case to the C-Suite for technology investments.

“Paper has no role in facilities,” she said.  “Nothing should be printed. Information needed to perform facility maintenance should be instantly accessible, not trapped in an office somewhere.”

While a typical day includes lots of meetings and coordination, Brooke believes that it’s important to not work in silos, so she has close contact with clinical teams and is involved in hospital planning design, and construction.

“We want to all be constantly aligned and set up to succeed,” she said.

Brooke’s involvement in several associations and organizations including Women Empowering Women, ASHE, and the Texas Association of Healthcare Facilities Management is important, and she feels that networking should go beyond the scope of facility management.

Brooke’s involvement in several associations and organizations including Women Empowering Women, ASHE, and the Texas Association of Healthcare Facilities Management is important, and she feels that networking should go beyond the scope of facility management.

“It’s great to be able to talk to real people about problem-solving, technology, and troubleshooting,” she said.

For women curious about the healthcare facilities and engineering environment, Brooke offers encouragement.

“Diversify yourself as much as possible. Work hard. Opportunities will come looking for you,” she said.

Want to learn more about inspiring female leaders in facilities management like Brooke? We invite you to follow us on Linkedin and follow our Women in Facilities series.