FM Frequency: Introducing The Department Of Homeland Facilities

By Jeff Crane, P.E., LEED® AP
Published in the December 2004 issue of Today’s Facility Manager

As I reflect on the painfully long presidential race this year and hope for a period of national unity following the elections, I can’t help but believe the “facilities management voting block” (FMVB) has been largely ignored. Since politicians aren’t shy about making campaign promises to “special interest groups,” I wonder why they rarely cater to our industry.

It seems like both sides consider parents, farmers, and the middle class—the only politically acceptable groups worthy of tax breaks, subsidies, and other economic goodies. Don’t you think the FMVB deserves some political pandering? Since I’m a patriot, and I know the president is a very busy guy, I would like to offer him a blueprint for buying, I mean earning eternal FMVB loyalty and guaranteed future votes for his party. I strongly suggest the creation of a Department of Homeland Facilities. This would include a cabinet level appointee and an obscenely huge budget.

Clearly, the newly appointed Homeland Facilities Czar (HFZ) would run this department. He or she would rule with an iron fist and unchecked power over the department’s budget, staffers, Camp David (the president’s retreat), Marine One (the president’s helicopter), and the official White House pastry chef.

Let’s stretch our imaginations and pretend the president tapped—oh, I don’t know, how about me—to lead this effort? Naturally, my first order of business would be the preparation of my acceptance speech, which would be delivered in the Rose Garden of the White House. While all TFM readers will be invited, I’ll share this draft of my speech with you in case you can’t join the rest of us at the official festivities.

My dear friends (dramatic pause), today (with echo sound effects or just repeat the words, “today, today, today”) I’m honored to be appointed to serve this administration and the people of this great country. (Another pause, this time for applause.)

As you know, I supported this president’s campaign from the beginning. And now that it’s time to reflect on his victory and the work ahead of us, I look forward to meeting with him and his lovely family at Camp David this weekend.

You might be wondering why this great nation needed a Department of Homeland Facilities. (Pause for crowd reflection, but not too long.) Well let me tell you something (raise voice convincingly, feigning anger), there are too many facilities operations that are underfunded, undereffective, understaffed, underefficient, and underworn. (Note to self: see if “underworn” is an actual word, or if it’s the past tense of the word “underwear.” Network censors and FCC might react in a negative way.)

I’m here to promise that this administration is committed to some pretty big changes around here, and this new Department is going to deliver them to you (loudly with echo, or just repeat words, “you, you, you”)! Right now I will look into the camera and promise that before my work is done, every facility in America will be equipped with the following necessities, which have previously been considered as amenities:

  1. Gourmet coffee in every breakroom.
  2. Metal detecting, drug sniffing, embezzlement proof turnstiles.
  3. High protein, low carb cookies, cakes, pies, and ice cream. (To think you questioned the need for the White House pastry chef!)
  4. Wireless voice, data, and electricity.
  5. Natural light photons captured and stored on hard drives during the day to be displayed at night.
  6. Live lobby entertainment from 1980s rock-n-roll “hair” bands.
  7. Super charged, automatic, robotic dusters and vacuum cleaners.
  8. High volume, turbo flush, super duty toilets.
  9. Clean, reliable, free solar power plants.
  10. Unlimited operating and capital budgets.

My fellow facility executives, this is a great day. (“Day, day, day” echoes off into the distance.) I want to assure you that the President is committed to us and our buildings. He has further assured me that his first legislative priority will be to ban pollen and all allergens from every one of the 50 states.

Once I accomplish these worthy objectives with the assistance of the President, we’ll tackle other facilities related issues. For example, if appointed for a second term, I’m committed to passing a national law that will require men, women, children, teenagers and yes, even plumbers to wear pants above their waists. And for safety purposes, belts will be required. (Pause for applause and standing ovation.)

Thank you, thank you, thank you! (Hold until applause stops) The President and I appreciate your continued great work and support. I will now take questions, but only from reporters who know what the acronym “IAQ” stands for. Do I see any hands?

Crane is a mechanical engineer and regional property manager with Childress Klein Properties, a leading real estate developer and property management services provider in the Southeast.