Special Bonus: Two Decades Of Today's Facility Manager Milestones - Facility Executive Magazine - Creating Intelligent Buildings

This timeline illustrates how the magazine has evolved during that period.

This timeline illustrates how the magazine has evolved during that period.

Special Bonus: Two Decades Of Today’s Facility Manager Milestones

Special Bonus: Two Decades Of Today's Facility Manager Milestones - Facility Executive Magazine - Creating Intelligent Buildings

By Heidi Schwartz
Published in the September 2008 issue of Today’s Facility Manager

Since 1988, Today’s Facility Manager has been dedicated to reporting on the news and new products that make the most significant impact on the facility management profession.

Business Interiors 1988: The first cover – an election year, too!

September/October 1988

After initially being launched by founder and Executive Publisher Susan Coene as a standard sized supplement to Business Facilities (its sister publication), Business Interiors (BI) officially debuts as a bi-monthly tabloid size “news magazine for corporate facility planners.”

Open Offices
1968-1988: “We have gone from an environment of offices with closed doors and high cubicle walls to open floor plans and more teaming environments,” says Jeff Thompson, national product designer at Humanscale. Originally created as part of Herman Miller’s Action Office in 1968, the cubicle evolved into a notorious symbol of

2000-2006: Steelcase reported a decrease in cubicle size from 250 square feet to 190 square feet (a 21% drop) from in its report, “The State of the Cubicle.” The open office is a development created by an increase in employee collaborative problem solving. According to Kirt Martin, director of design at Turnstone, not only does the open office allow for better teamwork and sharing of ideas, but also it “allows the space to adapt and change in a quicker and less costly way than before. People working in the open office are much more accessible and approachable by all.”

May/June 1989

Heidi Schwartz joins the staff as managing editor; ASHRAE 62-1989, the most influential indoor air quality standard of its time and fodder for many articles in the magazine, is introduced.

May/June 1990

The magazine features its first story on the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

November/December 1990

The Buyers’ Guide—an annual facility management directory of products and services—is introduced. The Wall Street Journal predicts corporations will spend over $22 billion on surveillance and security-foreshadowing of 9/11 and a signal for the magazine to increase coverage of this topic.

January/February 1991

BI is given a redesign in honor of its expanded frequency-eight times a year instead of six. It also broadens its editorial focus with the inclusion of telecommunications news.

The magazine is renamed Today's Facility           Manager 1991: The magazine is renamed Today’s Facility Manager.

June/July 1991

The name change for BI magazine—to Today’s Facility Manager (TFM)—is officially announced, and the magazine ramps up coverage of energy issues in sync with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new Green Lights program.

December 1991

Today’s Facility Manager is improved with a facelift that includes new logo, complete redesign, and a more compact size. This issue includes Today’s Facility Manager’s first annual Readers’ Choice Awards, which will move to February in 2009.

January/February 1992

TFM experiences even more growth with an increase in frequency (from eight to 10). Four new special advertising sections (healthcare, security, the ADA, and ergonomics) reflect hot news stories of the past year, and the next 12 months sees the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 and the adoption of the ADA.

April 1993

TFM covers the Internet for the first time in the second installment of its three part series on telecommunications. In a bit of foreshadowing, the front page story of this issue includes a story on the first bombing attack on the World Trade Center (which took place in February 26, 1993).

September 1993

This issue of TFM (now five years old) features articles on hazardous waste disposal, security issues in high rises, ADA lawsuits, and virtual reality-a world away from a first issue that focused primarily on trends associated with the contract furniture industry.

July/August 1994

TFM explores the Internet further when it establishes an e-mail account to encourage direct correspondence between readers and editors.


1994: No one single product had as big of an impact on office furniture in the last 20 years than the Aeron Chair from Herman Miller. Designed by Don Chadwick and Bill Stumpf, the chair debuted in 1994 to critical acclaim. It came in three sizes. It wasn’t padded or upholstered. It did not look like a typical task chair. Consequently, its popularity and success forced other companies to take notice and change their thinking.

Now nearly every major chair manufacturer produces a high end ergonomic task chair to ensure proper sitting comfort. With the introduction of the Aeron, a slew of other ergonomic products entered the marketplace-footrests, mouses, keyboards, desks, and document holders-all developed with the idea to make employees more comfortable and more productive while spending hours in front of a computer.

The magazine goes to 12 issues           per year 1995: The magazine goes to 12 issues per year.

January 1995

TFM increases its frequency to 12 issues per year. It also debuts two new columns, “FM Frequency” and “Product Of The Month.” The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) kicks off World Workplace in Miami Beach, FL.

The magazine is renamed Today's Facility           Manager 1995: Today’s Facility Manager goes online.

August 1995

As Internet usage climbs (some estimate 30 to 40 million “surfers”-a new term when applied to technology), the magazine’s Web site, TFM Online, is unveiled. IFMA introduces its site in 1996.

1994-1998: This could also be dubbed the end of the face to face conversation. E-mail was technology, much like the Internet, used by the U.S. government and universities, before it became an indispensable part of everyday life. Now instead of walking down the hall, traveling to another building in a facility, or even picking up the phone to call someone on the other side of the world, an fm or employee sends an e-mail in the search for immediate answers and information.

While helping fms save money on phone bills and progressing to a “paperless office,” e-mail also forced fms to install a variety of high-tech security measures to guard against spam mail, Internet viruses, and the leaking of proprietary information. Another victim of e-mail: the mailroom delivery person, who according to designer Douglas Ball is “retired and living in Florida getting e-mails from the kids.”

October 1996

Anne Cosgrove joins the team as an editorial intern; she will return as managing editor in February 2005, and her “Sustainable By Design” column will debut in April 2005.

January 1997

Editorial changes include the addition of Jim Elledge‘s “Tricks Of The Trade“—still one of the most popular monthly columns in the magazine.


1997 to the present: Pioneered in 1994 by ad firm Chiat Day and popularized in the later part of the decade as a result of the boom in wireless communications, hoteling allowed fms to create shared work stations for employees who did not spend every day in the office-particularly those traveling frequently. This allowed fms to save costs, such as energy and furniture, associated with a permanent office setting. It made no sense for fms to pay for several separate work areas, when transient employees could basically rotate through one.

While the idea of hoteling set up a situation of unassigned workspace, employees usually needed to reserve the station prior to coming in on a particular day.

April 1997

Betty Anne O’Malley joins TFM as Senior Account Executive.

November 1997

TFM Columnist Jim Elledge is presented with the Distinguished Author Of The Year award from IFMA for his “Tricks Of The Trade” offering and other literary contributions to the field of FM. For more on the longstanding relationship between IFMA and TFM, see the interview with current IFMA President and CEO Dave Brady.

January 1998

FM Issue” is added to the lineup and the magazine covers California’s move to deregulate its electricity market-a decision that residents and politicians in the state will regret during the Enron years ahead.

Facility Forum kicks off in           Florida; it will become the TFM Show in 2002 1998: Facility Forum kicks off in Florida; it will become the TFM Show in 2002.

May 1998

Facility Forum (now the TFM Show) kicks off in Orlando, FL. At the top of the speaking roster are perennial favorites Jim Elledge and “From Where I Sit” Columnist Tim Springer.

June 1998

Springer follows up his speaking engagement with his magazine debut in a roundtable article that scrutinizes career management tactics during times of change. His written contributions will become regular in February 2006.

July 1998

Readers are introduced to the pioneering sustainable design efforts of Vivian Loftness and her work on the Intelligent Workplace at Carnegie Mellon University. Also, Facility Technologist Tom Condon makes his writing debut with “A Brief History Of FM.”

March 1999

Leading up to 2000, Y2K coverage in the magazine increases. While no significant failures occurred, the shake up in the computer industry-particularly with respect to automated building systems-was a wake up call to many fms. Follow up articles from IFMA appear in September and October. In a humorous article about the Pentagon Renovation, readers are also introduced to Lee Evey, program manager of the project, speaker at numerous TFM Show events, and leader of “Operation Phoenix,” the recovery effort at the Pentagon immediately after 9/11.

September 1999

Green roofs are mentioned for the first time in the article entitled, “A Grassroots Movement.”

January 2000

Trends” is introduced in the magazine, and the Y2K bug is put to rest once and for all. IFMA throws its hat into the lobbying pool by hiring a firm to represent the interests of fms around the country.

March 2000

As the tech bubble expands, e-commerce is on the cover, well before the Amazon and eBay explosion had a significant impact on consumer buying habits. Technology comes of age with expanded coverage of cell phones, two way radios, three-in-one devices, and (now the virtually obsolete) pagers.

August 2000

The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program makes its first appearance in a cover article entitled, “Building Green Goes Mainstream.”

June 2001

The introduction of facility tours and a keynote by the late, legendary Michael Brill are a few of the highlights of Facility Forum featured in this issue’s post show coverage.

2001: From the debut of 2G technology in 1991 to the introduction of 3G (2001), which allowed for all-digital and high speed data transmission, nothing has changed the way fms put together an office more than wireless. What started out as a brick size toy for the wealthy, the mobile phone morphed into a pocket size, essential way of life for many. Employees were no longer tethered to their desks by a phone cord or modem.

Additionally, with the development of the PDA from simple organizer to a full fledged mobile office in a smartphone, information and accessibility began to travel around the world in the palm of the hand. Fms could now grab their laptops and/or smartphones (both equipped with wireless Internet cards) and move about facilities with ease while communicating with employees or vendors. The real office has evolved into a virtual office where no one is ever out of reach.

July 2001

President George W. Bush’s National Energy Policy is on the cover and under attack as fms struggle with consumption levels and costs (if we only knew then what we know now). Still, construction booms, and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) predicts the construction of another 38 million buildings by the year 2010.

October 2001

A defining moment in this country’s history, 9/11 dominates the pages of this issue of the magazine. The FM profession mourns the loss of many associates, and those readers tasked with security and disaster recovery responsibilities are shaken, but not deterred. IFMA launches a disaster recovery Web site within 24 hours of the attacks.

The magazine is recognized for its design 2002: The magazine is recognized for its design.

May 2002

TFM unveils the new look and feel that it still displays today (with slight modifications and updates, including many featured in the September 2008 issue). The design wins an honorable mention Ozzie Award from Folio in the business to business category.

July 2002

Showcase” is introduced; it will be renamed “Facility Case Study” in the September 2008 issue. After 17 years (and many horror stories), Group C moves from its Red Bank offices to its current home in Tinton Falls. Jeff Crane makes his “FM Frequency” debut after inheriting the column from his esteemed colleague and TFM Show regular, Maria Vickers.

January 2003

Kelly Olds, vice president of corporate services for West Corporation of Omaha, NE, is TFM’s first Facility Executive of the Year—a competition that recognizes excellence in innovation, strategic integration, bottom line improvements, personnel oriented upgrades, and sustainable design initiatives.

Flat Panel Monitors

2003: Flat panel monitors surpassed traditional bulky CRT screens for the first time. The new wave of monitors was a boon for fms, since they had a smaller footprint on the desk and used less energy. Employees enjoyed the flat monitor, according to Ball, since they “no longer had to face the corner because the bloody big tube would not go anywhere else.” The monitors also provided fms with more flexibility in their floor plan designs.

April 2003

William McDonough, green pioneer and world class architect, receives a standing ovation at The TFM Show, which officially debuts in Chicago, IL-where it will set up camp for the next six years. The collaborative partnership between The TFM Show and the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) will be revived in the revamped mega event, CONSTRUCT2009, set for June 16 to 19, 2009 in Indianapolis, IN.

January 2004

Professional Development” debuts with a column on outsourcing by former FM Frequency Columnist Maria Vickers. This single article generates more letters from readers than any other to date. By 2008, “Professional Development” has become one of the most popular and widely read regular columns in the magazine.

The Green Office
2004: This once meant watering the ferns in the office but has now developed into one of the biggest challenges for fms. Created in 1993, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) prompted fms to account for environmental factors when operating their facilities. What started with 60 firms at an introductory meeting has now grown to an organization with over 16,300 member companies.

The organization’s development of LEED third party certification was created to ensure “the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.” Everything from chairs to lights down to carpet fiber has become an environmental issue in the office. Fms now must ask, “How much recycled material is in that flooring? What can I do with this chair when its life cycle is over? How can I get my light bulbs to give off less heat?” But even today, plants in the office are still a part of being green.

July 2004

The magazine’s first salary survey appears in an issue that also looks at the complicated—and sometimes adversarial—relationship between facility management and IT. Wireless trends are examined as this type of technology becomes more common in the workplace.

March 2005

Loyal TFM reader Pete Crowley of Scripps Networks makes an article suggestion that culminates in a beautiful foldout story about the Food Network‘s move to Chelsea Market. BAM! IFMA turns 25 this year.

The very first post is published on           FacilityBlog 2005: The very first post is published on FacilityBlog.

May 2005

On a very lucky Friday the 13th, FacilityBlog is launched. In a little more than three years, the site has mushroomed to include 2,300+ stories and host 175,000+ visitors (not to mention over 250,000 page views).

October 2005

Emergency preparedness miscues surrounding Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath make the cover this month. On a more upbeat note, Nike’s headquarters in Beaverton, OR, are a green success and a highlight of this issue.

April 2006

Returning attendee Alan Smith of 3M Healthcare in Murray, UT wins $50,000 at the TFM Show by sinking four consecutive basketball shots (including a stunning half court beauty that barely hits the backboard). The action is captured in a five minute video on YouTube.

2006-2008: They are small, powerful, and expensive, but LEDs are the latest evolution in lighting that can save fms hundreds of thousands of dollars over the long term. Now that white light from LEDs is possible, they can be turned into a source for facilities that can last over 30 times longer than a standard incandescent bulb. This would mean changing some bulbs once every 15 to 20 years. And unlike fluorescent bulbs, LEDs are dimmable, creating additional energy savings.

While the upfront costs are about three times those of traditional lighting sources, the savings could be recouped in a few years. This year at Sentry Equipment Corporation in Oconomowoc, WI, the president of the company had LEDs installed on his building’s exterior and most of the interior fixtures at a cost of $18,000, but he expects to save an average of $7,000 per year, according to a July 2008 interview with The New York Times.

September 2007

The TFM Forum, a custom designed program that matches facility executives with product and service providers, kicks off in Houston, TX.

December 2007

Megan Knight joins the art department at Group C Media.

April 2008

TFM Tube is launched. This Web based TV channel provides timely news, substantial product information, and pertinent industry information on demand. It’s an ideal 24/7 resource for busy facility professionals (who seem to work 24/7).

May 2008

Mike Christian comes on board, and the TFM team is officially complete.

June 2008

In a move that reflects its multifaceted offerings, TFM’s parent company becomes Group C Media, Inc. and sets out to build inspiration through its various products and services.

The current           redesign is unveiled September 2008: The current redesign is unveiled.

September 2008

TFM completes a three month metamorphosis that culminates with its 20th anniversary issue. The new logo and tagline celebrate TFM‘s deep commitment to serving the FM profession and reflect the decades of service still to come. Here’s to another 20 years (and more)!

Suggested Links: