Facilities Focus Six Insights from Facilities Professionals

Facilities Focus   Six Insights from Facilities Professionals

Facilities Focus
Six Insights from Facilities Professionals

The facilities environment presents daily challenges. The good thing is that facilities folks are resilient, persistent, eager to learn, and excited to share their accomplishments, observations, and solutions.

Here are six perspectives on pressing facilities topics from our friends in the facilities world.

Superior Survey Skills

Melissa Petracca, from Matheny Medical & Educational Center, shared that her greatest accomplishment at Matheny has been conducting a Joint Commission Survey, specifically the documentation review for the environment of care portion, by herself. “That was a tremendous confidence builder,” she said.

Female Mentorship in Facilities

As others have challenged and supported her, Maria O'Callaghan-Cassidy from the University of Richmond pays it forward. She said the facilities management field lacks female mentorship. And with the percentage of women in executive FM level roles under 8%, she said there is an immediate need for “accessible, structured female mentorship and networking.”

ARC Facilities is working to expand the Women in Facilities community with a collection of inspiring profiles. If you need help reaching any of the women we’ve profiled, contact jack.rubinger@arcfacilities.com.

Creative Customer Service

Josh Duran, Texas State University’s Ingress Management Supervisor of Facility Operations, receives about 700 key requests and 700 work orders per day, so customer service is always on his team’s mind. “We average about 12 minutes per request. Then another 30-40 minutes going to student’s rooms. Plus, there’s paperwork for each request to keep an audit trail. We’ve analyzed the workflow which is broken into micro-tasks,” he said. “We say it’s like shoveling snow when it’s snowing. When we have free time, we all keep journals, and we write with our non-dominant hand. It’s a technique that helps us decompress and de-stress.”

Early Exposure to the Built Environment

Then there’s Beth Fasching, NextUp’s Director of Strategic Partnerships. Her dad was a hotel manager in the Twin Cities, and he brought his daughter to work when she was growing up. He managed his properties best by walking around so Beth went along too, to the boiler room, the kitchen, the laundry room, up on the roof, and other places most people don’t see. Here, she received early exposure to the built environment, and interactions with the people behind the scenes who create welcoming and wonderful experiences for guests.

Technology and Decision-Making

Chance Sullivan, University of Rochester, shared his perspective on a topic that’s growing in importance -- the influence of advancing technology in facilities management. He said, "There's a million technologies available for facilities teams. What we're trying to do is knock down those walls to increase communication to make better decisions." He encouraged organizations to leverage technology to improve communication and decision-making.

Seriously Certified

Adam Thodarson, the Director of Facilities Management for Bouldering Project LLC, a recreational bouldering facility with ten locations, spends his time working on capital budgets, hiring, and training facility managers, and designing the company’s entire facility management program. He’s also responsible for health and safety programing, emergency action plans, employee safety manual protocols, as well as IT networks, deployment, and management. He attended the University of Washington and majored in visual arts and sculpture. “When I started at the front desk, I didn’t know anything about facility management,” he said.

But if you want to accelerate that process, learn to speak the language fluently, show initiative, and become an invaluable asset to your organization, then pursuing certifications is a great idea – particularly since the facility management position looks very different at every organization, and responsibilities may vary tremendously depending on team size, region, the age of the organization, and the state of the buildings.

There are lots of certifications offered by professionals in the field who you would never get a chance to meet because you’re onsite working.

Thodarson recommends that FMs pursue The Certified Facility Manager (CFM) certification, offered by IFMA. He also suggested looking into courses offered by the Project Management Institute because FMs are always managing projects.

If there’s a topic you’d like to us tackle, we’re open to new ideas. Contact jack.rubinger@arcfacilities.com. Thanks!

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