By Anne Cosgrove, Editor-in-Chief
Even before facility management was recognized as a distinct profession, the men and women working in this field were integral to the success of the organizations for which they work. Any organization occupying a building and grounds requires someone to operate that space reliably. And those who oversee that work are expected to make these things happen while keeping related costs under control.
For many years, facility professionals were largely working in a reactive manner—responding to the needs of the building and the people it serves. Or at least that is how most people viewed it. Really, the job calls for one to be very proactive—proficient in anticipating needs, recognizing potential problems, and finding a good solution.
Against a backdrop of economic, environmental, and technological changes, facility professionals have been shifting from a reactionary stance to a proactive position. This includes aligning their plans with the strategic goals of their organizations. For many organizations, real estate and associated operating costs represent a significant portion of their assets. Meanwhile, employee satisfaction and productivity is closely linked to workplace design and layout. The facilities department is a primary source of information and expertise in both of these aspects.
The impact that facility conditions have on an organization’s overall well-being has become increasingly apparent to those at the top. More senior executives are starting to view their facility departments as integral, not only to employee productivity but to the bottom line. When it comes to strategic decisions, more facility professionals are finding a seat at the table. After all, their work requires them to have insight into myriad aspects of an operation.
Historically, the path to a facility management career has not been clear-cut. Many have told me they didn’t start out in facilities. Rather, they were asked to take on some building responsibility, and from there the job description expanded. This is especially true for those of you who have been in the field for a few decades. And while this still holds true for some who are newer to the profession, it’s clear that there is both the need and the desire to formalize a path to entering a career in facility management.
In the United States, educational programs for facility management professionals have been available since at least 1980 (with the founding of IFMA—originally the Facility Management Institute and Cornell’s Facility Planning and Management (FPM) program, the first university FPM degree program in the world). In recent years, the proliferation of degree programs, accreditations, and other certifications demonstrate the demand for some level of formal education for those who work in the field.
For more than 25 years, Today’s Facility Manager has been part of this profession. We’ve reported on the issues impacting facilities and connected you with experts in the field. We’ve seen the evolution of the facility manager firsthand and it’s evident in the profile of our readers today. From my conversations with readers over the past 10 years, and in the stories featured in the magazine and online, it’s clear that the job description for this field has transformed over the years. Fortunately, there are so many of you to deliver on what’s needed.
To continue to deliver what you need from your industry publication, we’re pleased to announce that in January 2015, our publication will become Facility Executive. We’re making this change to recognize who our readers are, and our editorial coverage will continue to deliver information that you can use to be successful in your career while helping to propel the success of your organization.
I am excited about this transformation and covering the issues that are important to you in 2015 and beyond. As always, please send your thoughts, suggestions, and questions to me at [email protected].