The HeatTrak team has been fortunate enough to speak with Anne Cosgrove, Editor in Chief at Facility Executive about their brand new publication name, how the facility professional position has evolved, and top facility management practices.
HeatTrak: We'd love to know more about the publication change to Facility Executive. How do you see this new name affecting your audience? Will the type of content be changing?
Anne: Since 1988, Today’s Facility Manager has been reporting on issues impacting commercial, institutional, and industrial facilities — writing for the decision-makers in charge of managing these facilities in an efficient, healthy, and cost-effective way. Over the years, we’ve seen the evolution of the facility manager firsthand. It is clear that the job description for facility professionals has evolved over the past few decades. With our firm foundation in the industry, Facility Executive magazine will provide relevant and timely information and insight for our readers to be successful as their responsibilities and goals continue to evolve.
Significant developments have come to the fore over the past decade or so. Against a backdrop of economic, environmental, and technological changes, facility professionals have been shifting from a reactionary stance to a proactive position. This includes a heightened need to align their planning and operations 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. When it comes to strategic decisions, more facility professionals have a seat at the table.
HeatTrak: We are always looking to introduce our audience to new and improved practices and tips in the facility management arena. Could you shed some light on this?
Anne: There are numerous continuing education options for facility executives these days. From degree programs to certification curriculums to industry conferences, there are choices for those who are either launching a career or furthering their professional development.
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 who have been in the field for a few decades. And while this still holds true in some cases, the developments I mentioned above have made formal training even more important. In recent years, the proliferation of degree programs, accreditations, and other certifications demonstrate this demand.
HeatTrak: You said earlier that facility management seems to be a very dynamic and always evolving industry, while a few decades ago the role seemed to be more of a 'reactive' position as opposed to 'proactive'. How do you see it changing even more in the future?
Anne: 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.
Overall, I'd say technology and environmental issues are two areas underlying virtually all aspects of a facility executive's work; and expertise in the various subsets of those areas will continue to be valuable going forward.