A New Breed of Facility Manager

National Facilities Management & Technology Expo

Fundamental trends are shaping the facility management field and the result is a new breed of facility manager keenly focused on embracing technology.

Wendy Dietzler was detailing those trends to The Energy Alliance Group of Michigan’s CEO Scott Ringlein during the recent National Facilities Management and Technology Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas. Dietzler is the Vice President of Education & Conferencing for the Trade Press Media Group, the company hosting the two day event.

As an event speaker, Ringlein provided a presentation on PACE or Property Assessed Clean Energy (see video). During a discussion with Dietzler regarding PACE, they discussed the trends that are shaping the role of the facility manager.

Dietzler noted that the facility management industry is energized due to demographic as well as technological trends. Evidence of the industry’s energy was apparent in the sheer size and number of attendees and vendors at the two day event.

The demographic trend is a large number of facility managers are now approaching retirement. Those assuming the outgoing manager’s role have “incredible amounts of tribal knowledge which needs to be learned” according to Dietzler. They have been made aware their role is a key component in the overall financial success and productivity of an organization. The incoming managers want to know how they can contribute to that success, and were motivated to learn from the assembled speakers representing those who paved the way before them.

The hottest topic — Technology

The second major trend is due to the extensive new technology facility managers have access to that can make the management of a facility extremely precise. The incoming group was excited to learn about all that is possible through the Internet of Things, Building Management Systems, LEDs, Energy Efficiency, etc.

Wendy Dietzler — Vice President, Education & Conferencing at Trade Press Media Group

When asked what created the largest audience at the event Dietzler noted “all things technology” which was evident in the large crowd swarming the vendor area. The incoming managers were able to learn about technology that was, at best, only a dream for the previous generation of facility managers.

“highly accurate predictions of expected outcomes and the financial risk of not taking action”

But Dietzler’s next point was extremely relevant — she noted the interest in technology is twofold. First is technology’s ability to increase efficiency and productivity, and second, it can accurately measure results and create predictable outcomes.

She noted that today’s facility manager wants to be able to quantify exactly what can be expected from any upgraded technology and how it will benefit the organization. To promote the use of a new technology to company financial decision makers, the managers need to accurately define the expected changes in energy use, profitability, production, savings, etc.

Dietzler noted that helping financial decision makers understand all the financing options available is an expanding role for which facility managers are taking responsibility. Dietzler described her first introduction to Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) through her involvement with the conference High Performance Buildings and Workplaces.

Since learning about this innovative financing option, she realized that solution providers and vendors understand it because it fosters successful project launches. Sadly, she also described how facility managers are mostly unaware of PACE and all the benefits the resource entails. Dietzler predicted that over the next 18 months that will change because of the growing number of case studies proving PACE’s value, and because it’s a cutting edge resource supporting energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Dietzler’s final comment illustrated the chief concern of the new breed of facility manager. She described how they want to know the most effective way of explaining technology upgrades to the C-suite. This includes the use of highly accurate predictions of expected outcomes and, more importantly, what the resulting financial risk of not taking action will be! In short they want to know what resources are available that will enable them to create a persuasive argument for embracing technology instead of maintaining the status quo.

Scott Ringlein’s message supports embracing technological change and he has already been asked to speak at the next National Facilities Management and Technology Conference & Exposition taking place at the Baltimore Convention Center March 7–9, 2017. His presentation is titled: PACE — A Groundbreaking Method of Financing Building Improvement & Energy Efficiency Projects in the US.

For facility managers wishing to get better results in their presentations to the C-suite, Ringlein has created a comprehensive presentation expressly for Facility Managers and available immediately. The presentation includes downloadable documents that can easily be shared with financial decision makers. Free access to the presentation is available by going HERE.

Photo credits: Laurie DeWitt at PureLight Images