NFMT Baltimore Blog

2/23/2016 11:30:00 AM

Focus on Federal Facilities at NFMT

—Amy Brown highlights some of the special programming for Federal Facilities taking place at NFMT 2016.

1/8/2016 1:15:00 PM

What's New for NFMT 2016

—Amy Brown and Gina Rudella discuss new elements of NFMT Baltimore 2016 - find out what's in store and what you have to look forward to at the #1 facilities conference & expo.

3/12/2015 4:00:00 PM

NFMT Baltimore 2015: It's a Wrap

3/11/2015 4:00:00 PM

Day Two Highlights from NFMT 2015

3/10/2015 4:00:00 PM

Day One Highlights from NFMT 2015

3/9/2015 4:15:00 PM

2015 NFMT Exhibit Hall Set-up Time-lapse

—Watch the exhibit floor take shape!

3/9/2015 4:00:00 PM

Take a sneak peek at NFMT 2015 - Live from the show!

3/6/2015 1:30:00 PM

Join the Best of the Best: Win an FMD Achievement Award

NFMT Baltimore is a great time for us to mingle with readers of Facility Maintenance Decisions magazine. We enjoy speaking with maintenance and engineering managers from institutional and commercial facilities to learn about your concerns, get your thoughts on our magazine and our website, and listen to the good (and not-so-good) experiences that you have in the workplace.

As you attend sessions and tour the exhibit hall next week, we at FMD want to remind you to start thinking about entering the sixth annual Facility Maintenance Decisions Achievement Award competition.

The FMDAAs represent our chance to shine a spotlight on the accomplishments of maintenance, engineering, and grounds departments in institutional and commercial facilities. The awards recognize the central role your departments play in the successful and efficient operation of your facilities.

The Achievement Awards are free — and easy — to enter. Visit the website at, which has all of the information you need to enter.

If your maintenance and engineering team has accomplished standout results in the following categories, we encourage you to apply:

·      Renovations and retrofits (HVAC system, plumbing system, roofing, grounds care, etc.)


·      Financial management (budgeting, savings, capital planning, etc.)


·      Sustainability (water savings, energy efficiency, green purchasing, recycling, etc.)


·      Personnel management (training, staffing, recruiting, outsourcing, etc.)


We are accepting submissions for the awards at the website. Winners will be determined later this year by a panel of experts that includes the FMD staff as well as voter input.

As mentioned earlier, NFMT provides us the chance to meet with readers. If you see me on the exhibit floor or hosting a session, please take a moment to introduce yourself.

Also, I encourage you to stop by the NFMT booth (Booth 713) at 1 p.m. each day for “Office Hour,” to introduce yourself to us and chat. Come with questions about the FMDAAs or just to say hi and talk about your job and the magazine.

Safe travels to Baltimore and see you at #NFMT15.

—Dave Lubach, Associate Editor, Facility Maintenance Decisions

3/4/2015 4:45:00 PM

Final Reminders before NFMT 2015 - NFMT Video Blog #6

—With NFMT 2015 just a few days away, here are a few final reminders from Amy Brown and Gina Rudella.

2/24/2015 5:15:00 PM

Highlighting FM Programs at NFMT - NFMT Video Blog #5

—Edward Sullivan, editor of Building Operating Management Magazine joins Amy Brown to discuss the FMXcellence Program that will be featured on Tuesday March 10 at NFMT.


Top NFMT Sessions - NFMT Video Blog #4

—In the lastest blog post Amy Brown and Wendy Dietzler discuss a few of the most popular NFMT 2015 sessions! .

1/20/2015 1:45:00 PM

Earn Free CEUs at NFMT - NFMT Video Blog #3

—Wendy Dietzler and Gina Rudella discuss how to earn free CEUs at NFMT!

1/5/2015 3:00:00 PM

15 Reasons to Attend NFMT 2015 - NFMT video blog #2

—Join Wendy Dietzler and Amy Brown as they share 15 reasons you can't miss NFMT in 2015.

12/29/2014 2:45:00 PM

Headlines and Headaches: How would you respond to a sudden situation in your facility?

It has been the mainstay of procedural police shows since the 1980s: A plotline ‘ripped from the headlines’ and referencing a recent crime that gripped the nation’s attention. Names and locations may be altered for the fictional account, but the consequent debate about what could – and should – have been done to avoid the tragedy takes place in both the real-life and televised versions.

Today’s headlines afford facility professionals an almost unlimited array of situations in which to play “what would you do?” within their environments as well. Take, for instance, the recent Ebola scare that had medical facilities reexamining their hygiene protocols in anticipation of a deadly outbreak in their facility. Or the recent storms along the west coast the prompted the closing of San Francisco’s public schools for the first time in decades. Or the St. Louis protests that spread to other major cities, some accompanied by property damage throughout business districts.

At the 2015 National Facilities Management and Technology Conference & Expo, attendees will have the unique opportunity to see how a panel of seasoned facility professionals would react – in real time – to a variety of scenarios in the “Facilities Management in the Headlines” general session, taking place Thursday, March 12 at 8:00 in the Baltimore Convention Center.

The session will prompt the panelists to respond to a number of issues, some acute (a flood knocking out generators in the building) some not (a widening skills gap as more senior-level staffers take retirement). In either case, the FMs will have no advance warning of what types of emergencies await them until it is revealed Thursday morning.

After seeing the panelists address a number of situations, attendees themselves will have an opportunity to examine their own reactions to an assortment of emergencies, and test their own responses to the unexpected issues that crop up at unexpected times. NFMT 2015 is free to attend, and online registration is open now at

—Wendy Dietzler, Vice President of Education and Conferencing, NFMT

12/14/2014 2:30:00 PM

NFMT 2015 offers insights into preparedness beyond the planning phase

“I have reviewed over 500 emergency plans in the last 11 years,” says Bo Mitchell, founder of 911 Consulting, an emergency planning and training consulting firm in Wilton, CT. “Guess how many of them are OSHA compliant? One.”

Mitchell points to a common flaw in practically every organization: The failure to plan – and beyond that, to drill. And when an issue arises – whether it’s a natural disaster, workplace violence, equipment failure, or even the departure of a valuable employee – the lack of preparation can profoundly impact the coming days, weeks, months and even years of any organization.

For many facility professionals, the benefits of planning are widely acknowledged. The time and resources necessary to execute such plans, however, are routinely scarce. That’s why Mitchell is among the industry’s leading experts who will address the need to better plan, drill and execute a variety of facility management initiatives at the NFMT 2015 Conference & Expo, taking place March 10-12 at the Baltimore Convention Center.

In addition to emergency planning, the conference will host an exchange of ideas on how to best prepare for future of all things facilities-related. Among the sessions dedicated to helping FMs, engineers, owners, architects and executives manage in turbulent times:

• Lessons Learned from Ebola

• Technology and Maintenance Planning

• Making Sense of Fire Sprinkler System Inspection, Testing and Maintenance Reports

• ADA for Facilities Operations

• OSHA’s Enforcement and Significant Changes in 2015 NFPA 70E

• GHS: 2 Deadlines Hit in 2015: Are you Ready?

• Preventing Snow Load Collapse of Large Box Buildings

“To train is to teach to drill is to test. Training is not drilling, drilling is not training. No matter where your building is’” says Mitchell. “We don’t yet get it in the United States. We don’t yet do this right.” Join Bo for his session on Wednesday March 11 at 3:10 p.m.

—Wendy Dietzler, Vice President of Education and Conferencing, NFMT

12/1/2014 2:30:00 PM

Welcome to the NFMT Video Blog

—Join Wendy Dietzler and Amy Brown as they discuss exciting new opportunities at NFMT 2015.

3/1/2014 8:00:00 AM

Session Highlights...

Here are a few sessions we think you should be on your list!

• The conference kicks off with the fifth annual, “FMXcellence: Elevating the Role of Facilities." This is one you don’t want to miss. You’ll be inspired and motivated after hearing the stories of our six organizations that will be honored. (Tuesday, 8:00-8:50 a.m. in room 316)

• Another fifth annual event, “Women in Facilities Management 2014 Edition,” will be a highly interactive session with a panel of women across North America discussing facilities management and getting the opportunity to network. Also, there will be a reception afterwards until 6 p.m. to continue the conversations and socializing! (Wednesday, 3:10-4:00 p.m. room 345 is the session and from 4:00-6:00 p.m. is the reception, out in the Howard Street Lobby)

• Thursday’s general session, “Complaints: How to Deal with the Negativity,” will be a humdinger! Hear about some of the bizarre and potentially shocking stories some FM’s have been faced with, and have the chance to share your own! A panel of industry experts will offer insight on some strategies for handling particular situations. (Session will be held from 8:00-8:50 a.m. in room 316)

• The “Stump the Experts” session is one you should try to stick around for. You will have the opportunity to ask three experts any questions you want and see if, and how, they answer! (Thursday, 3:10-4:00 p.m. in room 345)

Along with thsee highlighted session NFMT will feature 115 session in nine different tracks. Make sure to refer to your NFMT directory for a full session listing.

Registration opens at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.

—Gina Rudella, Event Coordinator, NFMT

2/28/2014 1:30:00 PM

Just Days away from NFMT Baltimore...

We're only a few days away from the start of NFMT 2014 in Baltimore! Are ya'll excited? We are! We can't wait to welcome you to this annual event, as it is packed with valuable and informational sessions as well as a full exhibit floor. I'd like to go over a few housekeeping things and some highlights everyone should keep in the back of their minds:

• When you arrive at Baltimore's Convention Center, please enter through the Pratt Street Entrance (Pratt and Howard Streets), take the escalator up one level, and there you will find check-in and registration. Check in is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, the 4th and Wednesday, the 5th from 7 a.m. and from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, the 6th. Members only can check in on Monday afternoon from 1 - 3 p.m.

• I know you all will work up an appetite after taking in the wealth of information, exploring the exhibit floor and, well, just walking around the convention center! Please note that in your tote bag you will find a lunch coupon and you can use this at any of the concession stands in the convention center. Below is a link for the complete list of concession stands and hours. Concession hours/locations

• Since your legs may not work so well after doing all that walking, NFMT is offering a shuttle service from the Camden Yards-Lot C parking lot, to the Pratt St. entrance of the convention center. You will be able to hop on and off, as the shuttles will run a continuous loop. They will be available at the top of the hour and half past the hour. Shuttle Service Hours: Tuesday: 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. Wednesday: 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. Thursday: 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.

• Remember to pack the following items: business cards, pen and paper, comfy shoes!

• If you want to take your NFMT experience to the maximum, consider joining the NFMT Attendee Membership Program. You’ll have access to exclusive content, experiences, and benefits at NFMT Baltimore, as well our NFMT Vegas conference, which will be held in September of this year. Membership is year-long and only $99 and truly something to think about!


When it's time to get on the exhibit floor, be ready for more excitement! Every hour, twice an hour, you have a chance to win $50 if you're wearing your NFMT pin that you will have received at check in or registration. Make sure you're wearing the pin so the NFMT Prize Team has the opportunity to select you to win!

Also, every day of the conference, at the end of exhibit hours, we will be giving away $1,000! All you need to do is fill out the ballot, which can be found in your tote bag, and drop it in either of our co-sponsors booths. DTZ-booth 2129 or Polaris Industries-booth 2123 The drawings will be held in the Exhibit Hall (you have to be present to win!) on Tuesday at 3:45 p.m., Wednesday at 2:45 p.m., and Thursday at 1:45 p.m.

Looking forward to seeing everyone in Baltimore next week!

—Gina Rudella, Event Coordinator, NFMT


Reducing Operating Costs through Smart, Proactive BMS Technology

Heating, ventilation and cooling operations are a major burden on any building’s operating budget, especially in the face of increasing pressure from owners and tenants to improve energy performance. But this burden can be an opportunity with the right technology. New technology that optimizes your Building Management System (BMS) is a low-cost, easy to implement strategy for tapping into the hidden savings that are blowing out of your vents as you read this.

In the last few decades, building owners invested in BMS to centralize and automate the basic control of a building's HVAC. These systems drive vast improvements over pneumatic controls and enable more efficient and uniform delivery of target temperatures throughout a building. However, the BMS still relies heavily on manual oversight, and regardless is subject to significant drift and requirements for re-tuning during a building's operating life.

Over the last the last few years, a number of major technology trends have set the stage for significant advancement in the building automation industry. These include pervasive broadband, low-cost computing power and storage, and the increasing acceptance of cloud services, combined with the opening up of building operating data from Industry Protocols such as bacNET. New waves of building energy management applications have emerged to bring better information, transparency and analytics into building operations. While a good improvement, these newer technologies are "passive", and thus require intervention (either of building operators or capital), in order to translate the new data transparency into actual improved building performance.

What if an even more advanced form of automation existed? One that could utilize these types of analytics but also "close the loop" and turn the data into savings without requiring your people or money to do so? This is the next wave of proactive BMS technology called building optimization.

Building optimization not only automatically drives efficiency in kwh consumption, without burdening your building operations team, but also future proofs you from the coming evolution in energy pricing. The current energy market is in a major state of change, where pricing programs are moving from flat rate or time-of-use tariff structures to incorporate demand response and critical peak pricing programs. Ultimately we see the market as moving towards real-time pricing, where the rate you pay at any minute is determined by the actual cost of energy at that point in time.

Similarly, as the price of energy becomes more complex, the management of energy systems will increase as well. Real-time pricing requires a proactive, real-time solution. BMS technology that uses predictive analysis and optimization to make automatic, real-time changes to building operations are able to leverage these changes in pricing to create real savings.

Join me on March 5th at 3:10pm for the session Smart Building Management: Reducing Overhead and Headaches with Proactive BMS Technology during NFMT Baltimore to learn more about the next generation of BMS and how your building can save you money.

—by Michael Zimmerman, Founder and SVP Business Development, BuildingIQ

11/25/2013 3:15:00 PM

Are you a healthcare FM? How busy are you?

A recent article published on, evaluates whether or not an investment in healthcare facilities is recommended. From a personal finance standpoint, healthcare facilities appear to be a pretty good bet if you’re in the market to buy some stocks. Forbes says, “Despite high fixed costs and increasing competition, hospitals have shown steady historical growth in part because of government assistance through legislation.” Sounds like a smart way to grow your portfolio. However, the article tells another story if you read between the lines.

If you’re an FM, the public’s interest in healthcare facility investments is another signal that the market is booming. New hospitals, urgent care centers, ambulatory surgery centers and long-term care facilities are popping up on pace with Starbucks. According to FMI, the largest provider of management consulting, investment banking and research to the engineering and construction industry, “Health care construction growth is expected to grow to $52.6 billion by 2015.” The rapid growth in new construction and expansion is placing some hefty demands on our industry.

What does this mean for facility managers? Is demand outpacing supply for talent and resources? What new benchmarks and best practices are in place to direct FM decision makers? Which technologies and solutions are hot now as a result of this growth? Is it a bubble? What about legacy facilities?

That’s just the tip of the question iceberg and the reason why the NFMT educational track Healthcare Facilities Today, sponsored by the industry news website of the same name, is getting a lot of attention. From Healthcare Facilitiy Management Compliance to Ensuring a Clean,  Green & Healthy Indoor Environment, the sessions you’ll experience at NFMT 2014 will help you navigate the complexities of the healthcare market.

It’s interesting that in the Forbes article, particular attention was placed on the FM, albeit it indirectly: “There are many key drivers, some of which are out of the companies’ control. However strong fundamentals, including operating efficiency, should allow taking advantage of the key drivers.” So, no pressure, folks. But you’d better register for the Healthcare Facilities Today track sessions while seats are still available!

For more information, check out the Healthcare Facilities Today educational track here.  And be sure to visit our sponsor,Healthcare Facilities Today online for your daily dose of information and insight for the healthcare facility team.  

—By Cory Ampe, NFMT Marketing Manager

4/17/2013 3:15:00 PM

The Critical Facilities Summit debuts as Data Centers et al get their time in the spotlight

The article ran in a Sunday edition of The New York Times with a short, simple headline: “Power, Pollution and the Internet.” The lengthy piece was the result of a year-long investigation into the purported energy misuse and inefficiency among the world’s larger data centers. Earning assessments such as “a sloppy failure,” “inaccurate,” “oversimplified” and “downright misleading,” the column nonetheless sparked a debate that continues to this day and in so doing, bringing a more mainstream focus on the mission critical building universe. 

For facility managers who oversee the operation  (and often  the design and construction) of mission critical buildings – data centers, labs, hospitals, banks and trading floors – optimizing reliability and performance has always been a priority.  And a new conference, bowing this October in Charlotte, will finally provide a real-time platform for an in-depth discussion mission critical facility management from the FM perspective.

The Critical Facilities Summit, taking place October 21-23 at the Charlotte Convention Center, will feature an educational conference and expo hall cultivated specifically for facility managers, consulting/specifying engineers, design-build professionals and contractors who face the unique challenges of constructing and operating data centers, labs, hospitals, financial institutions and other critical facilities. With tracks dedicated to design, maintenance and operations, efficiency and case studies, the conference will address topics such as UPS, fuel cells, capacity, air distribution, staffing and training, legacy data centers, sustainability and reliability. Among the scheduled sessions:

• Greening the Mission Critical Building

• Keys to Solving Air Distribution Issues

• Assessing the Aging Data Center: Where do you go from Here?

• Maximizing Reliability in the Mission Critical Facility

• Sustainable ROI for Health Care and Labs

• Lab Design Trends

• Six Steps to Total Cost of Ownership

More information and registration is available at 



—By Wendy K. Dietzler, Director of Education, NFMT


Gone But Not Forgotten

As NFMT 2013 winds down, NFMT 360 ramps up

As this  year’s NFMT 2013 Conference & Expo wrapped up in Baltimore this past March, I was reminded of one of Yogi Berra’s most popular quotes: “It ain't over ‘til it’s over.” I realized that, like a lot of our attendees, I wasn’t ready for the event to end. There was more to learn, see and discuss – there just wasn’t enough time left in the week.

With the biggest exhibit floor in event history, and more attendees than ever before, it’s no surprise that I left Baltimore with a few outstanding items on my NFMT to-do list.  Fortunately, there’s NFMT 360: the year-round, online conference and expo resource for the facility management industry. From conference videos to supplier brochures to exhibitor information, NFMT 360 lets me tap into the information I may have missed at the show – or reinforce some key concepts I picked up onsite.

New videos are added to the site weekly under the ‘conference videos’ tab, and are organized into key topic areas such as energy, building automation, leadership and sustainability. For those of us unable to get to all 500-plus booths in Baltimore (reminder to self: next year, pack roller skates), the ‘showcase’ area of the website features videos supplied by our exhibitors offering an in-depth discussion of the latest building technologies and services.

Another resource on NFMT 360: The ‘suppliers’ area, which offers a sneak peek at the exhibitors lining up for our next live event,  NFMT Vegas, taking place September 17-18 at Mandalay Bay.  As it turns out, there is enough information on the NFMT 360 site to keep me busy for quite some time. As it turns out, it ain’t over, after all.

Visit NFMT 360 today at

—By Wendy K. Dietzler, Director of Education, NFMT


Before you head to Baltimore

Just a few housekeeping items as you prepare for the big event.

1. Arriving early? If you plan to arrive in Baltimore on Sunday, please be aware that the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day festivities will impact traffic.  The Shamrock 5k run starts at 1:15 and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade kicks off at 2:00 p.m. More information here:

2. Several sessions are at capacity. Just because you registered online, does not mean you are guaranteed a seat. Please arrive early for all conference sessions.

3. Pens and paper are not provided in the education sessions. We suggest you bring a few.

4. Wear layers. As an FM, you probably can relate to building occupants who are always too hot or too cold… and sometimes both at the same time. The Convention Center uses building occupancy sensors and sometimes it takes a while for the system to catch up with a newly full classroom.

5. Membership – Are you an NFMT Member? You should be. Members enjoy a plethora of benefits like a speedy, members only registration counter, discounted webcasts throughout the year, a t-shirt and access to presenter hand-outs before the show starts. For more information about membership, ask a staff member with a gold badge or check this out:

6. Comfy shoes. Comfy shoes. Comfy shoes. Don’t forget to wear your comfy shoes.

7.  Everyone is invited to the NFMT Tweet Up. Regardless if you are a seasoned social media expert, or a newbie, you are welcome to join us. We will be meeting Tuesday at 3:15 in front of the Main Stage to talk about how social media impacts facilities management.

8.  Looking for a good place to eat or grab a drink after the show? An excellent resource is the Baltimore City Paper. Check it out online at

9. Bringing Kids? While kids are strictly not allowed at NFMT, some attendees travel with families. If you’re looking for some entertainment options for the wee ones while you’re enjoying the show, visit Kids Love Downtown Baltimore

10. Don’t forget to join us for the opening night party in the Pratt Street Lobby on Tuesday from 4:00-5:00 p.m. Everyone is invited to mingle and enjoy drinks and refreshments. 

—By Cory Ampe, Brand Marketing Manager, NFMT


Love, Facilities Style: Why passion makes for a better building (and why women want to talk about it)

I recently attended a presentation by the owner of a local chain of fitness centers, which had just acquired the club where I occasionally teach group exercise classes. The meeting was scheduled to give the staff a sense of what to expect under new ownership. As I found my seat, the owner approached me and introduced herself. “I’m Kay,” she said. “And I love this industry.”

Even if she hadn’t offered that insight during our conversation, Kay’s remarks to the group at large clearly revealed the passion she has for the fitness world. But more than that, her presentation demonstrated a clear understanding that a well-run facility is the bedrock upon which a thriving organization is built.

Kay shared her growth-through-acquisition philosophy and highlighted some of the major renovations and additions over the company’s 25-year history, including a 35,000-foot expansion in the middle of a recession. Willingness to invest in the facilities, she said, is key to business growth.

And then she said something that really made my ears stand up: "It breaks your heart to spend $50,000 on air-conditioning units that your members can't see, but they definitely feel the effect if you don't put money into certain things. So please, feel free to tell them what we’re doing here.”

She went on, urging staff to tell members about the new AC units that will make their court time more enjoyable, and the new laundry machines that will get their towels cleaner. About the plans to completely renovate the lobby in 2014 so the building is more welcoming and user friendly.

I couldn’t recall the last time a connection between building systems and occupant had been emphasized to such an extent. And when a staff member asked Kay why funds were being primarily directed toward capital improvements versus new weights or treadmills or bikes, she smiled and responded, “It needs a woman’s touch.”

It begged the question: Was that really the reason? Is there an advantage having a woman’s perspective on building’s capital improvements? Are women more in tune with big picture occupant needs, and how the facility can help meet them? Or is it about having someone who truly is passionate about the role the facility plays in the organization’s overall mission?

I’m not sure I know the answer to those questions just yet, but I do know that I’ll be looking for additional insights into the subject at the “Women in Facilities Management” session taking place at the NFMT 2013 conference in Baltimore next month.

This session is entering its fifth year and has consistently provided excellent food for thought for all who attend. This year’s panel, which features Teena Shouse, senior FM consultant at Facility Engineering Associates and Gabriela Stephenson, vice president, Brand Management Facility Solutions and CTM at Sodexo Healthcare, is poised to explore a variety of topics, including global trends, mentoring and work-life balance. The session is always among the most interactive and attended by people who – just like Kay – love their work and their industry.

The Women in FM 2013 session takes place Wednesday, March 13 at 3:10 p.m. 


—By Wendy K. Dietzler, Director of Education, NFMT


Brushing up on COBie. And BIM. And CMMS, CAFM and IWMS

Do you remember when Federal Express officially changed its name to FedEx? Or when the YMCA became the Y? The formal acknowledgement of an acronym already in use often prompts no more than a shrug of the shoulders (although I can tell you that our own transition from The National Facility Management & Technology Conference and Expo to NFMT prompted a rush of relief to the keyboarding fingers of many in our offices)

So while it’s common to hear a ‘so what?’ response about converting to an acronym, the decision to do so still carries a certain significance. For one, it indicates a broader recognition of a product or organization. In addition, it helps to streamline the awareness building process about said product – and I’m happy to say that we’re seeing that in awareness of the construction operations building information exchange, or COBie.

COBie is an international standard for data that populates Building Information Modeling (or – acronym alert! – BIM) for construction projects. As building designers specify systems and equipment, they input information relating to a specific manufacturer, model number, and performance criteria. Once that data is entered, contractors add serial numbers, warranty information, maintenance procedures, and operating conditions. Then the information is passed along to the facility manager, who accesses the data for ongoing maintenance.

For the last five years or so, the National Institute of Building Sciences and its Facility Maintenance and Operations Committee have worked tirelessly to bring awareness and understanding of COBie’s many benefits to the facility management marketplace. Now, after several years of serious groundwork (including several innovative educational sessions at previous NFMT conferences), the standard is ready for prime time.

“COBie is moving from an R&D focus into the realm of industry-wide adoption of a proven, but relatively new approach to life-cycle facility management,” says Angela Lewis, P.E., PhD, LEED AP, a member of the NIBS FMOC and project manager Facility Engineering Associates. Lewis is developing several COBie-specific education sessions at NFMT 2013 in Baltimore, including “Making the Most of FM Data: COBIE Standards and Resources,” which will help FMs gain an understanding of what COBie is and its relevance to facility management as well as potential for cost savings and improvements, better-defined facility management practices and enhanced  utilization of a facility’s CMMS.

Lewis cites two key markers that indicate COBie’s growing acceptance among many in the FM industry: more than 1,000 members of the COBie group on LinkedIn, and COBie’ adoption as a requirement for government work in the United Kingdom.

“Our goal is to educate and reach out to attendees to participate in the process of transforming the facility management industry from generally reactive, to proactive data driven decisions,” adds Lewis. “Data and data standards are an important part of the future of the facility and maintenance management industry.”

—By Wendy K. Dietzler, Director of Education, NFMT


Today, Tomorrow, and the Day After That

Looking back as a means of seeing what lies ahead

It’s my annual back-to-school-time ritual: Cleaning out my desk. And file cabinets. And Rolodex … and – lo and behold – my favorite coffee mug! And that’s not all: I also found a February 1992 issue of Building Operating Magazine and was immediately transported back to a time when CAFM was the new kid on the block, CFC-11 chillers were still in vogue and ‘the environment’ was a cause in search of a certifying body.

It was the editorial, however, that really caught my eye. Titled “Facilities Management Joins Corporate America’s Quest for Improved Quality,” the column focuses on a new emphasis on soft skills FMs should investigate in order to ensure “quality management success over the long term.” I won’t go so far as to say our editors were the only ones voicing this sentiment, but I do think the BOM editorial team was among the first. It’s worth noting that in the two decades since that editorial was penned, our industry has seen a major beefing up of its business acumen, management strategy and focus on how the quality of the facilities department directly translates to an organization’s overall success.

So what will the next two decades bring for the FM industry? Two sessions that we’re including in this year’s NFMT Vegas conference will get the conversation started. The first presentation, delivered by Dr. Dean Kashiwagi, Director of the Performance Based Studies Research Group at Arizona State University, illustrates the new FM role of the future – one who can deliver value and performance at a lower cost and use a leadership based structure to create a new organization that uses the latest technology (but with very little overhead) and offers outstanding value to its shareholders. Dean tells me that he’s including plenty of case studies in his session and if you haven’t been to one of his talks yet, you really owe it to yourself. Get your seat early; his sessions always fill up.

On Wednesday morning, Larry Morgan, Head of Operational Excellence & Sustainable Initiatives for North and Latin America, SAP Global Facilities Management, tackles what lies ahead when it comes to identifying and cultivating the next generation of facility leaders. Larry posits that the facilities management industry is at a crossroads, experiencing the much-dreaded “brain drain” due the retirement of many engineers and managers, and the increasing reliance on technology to run buildings. The result: the need for an FM “hybrid” who understands – and quickly adapts to – current technology. Larry never pulls a punch, and his honest discussion of the necessary skillsets for future facilities managers or engineers is sure to provide some serious food for thought in regards to your own career as well as the careers of those you may soon be managing.

My issue of Building Operating Management survived a 20-year hibernation in the back of my file cabinet. My coffee mug? Not so much. And I’m pretty sure FMs can’t afford to shelve their own career designs for anywhere near that amount of time. Come on out to Vegas for a career strategy tune up.

—By Wendy K. Dietzler, Director of Education, NFMT


Final Day ... Or is it?

Well, Wednesday was so successful I didn't have time to blog. We started the day off with Solutions Exchange. Nearly all the tables were full and some of the discussions carried on long after the speed-learning event finished. Another highlight of the day was the special Women in FM panel. The high-power leaders shared the keys to their professional successes in facilities management and together the group discussed career advancement, corporate culture and managing a work-life balance. The exhibit hall was once again packed and it was great to see smiles abound. Business as well as freindships were clearly forged at the same time.

Today is off to a great start. Idustry veteran Lenny Jachimowicz shared wisdom from his 40 years working for Marriott International in our special general session. A nice big crowd woke up early to learn about the 5 C's of Facilities Management.

I personally am looking forward to the I Survived Series today. At 10:00 Michael Abels will be sharig his experiences working as an FM pro in the Arctic Circle. Wondering how he'll feel about the unseasonal 80 degree weather in Baltimore right now! 

If you are a social media person, be sure to follow NFMT on Twitter and Facebook today. I have prizes to give away and would love to meet you in person.

Hoping everyone enjoys the final day of NFMT and returns to their facilites better equipped to manage with excellence ... even more so than before. And the good news is that NFMT doesn't end when the convention center doors close today. and NFMT Virtual carry on the networking and learning from you computer after you get back to your desk.  We also hope you'll join us for NFMT Vegas Oct. 2-3 at the Mirage Event Center this fall. 

As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, please don't hesitate to contact an NFMT staffer either today at the show or after the event via email. 

Travel safely!!