FMLink Weekly News Digest I September 20, 2022
(Originally published on fnPrimeThe importance of the educational environment cannot be overlooked, whether it is a K–12 facility or higher education college or university. Facilities managers of schools have a dedication to make sure their buildings allow students to learn and grow, all while managing costs and current trends.

“Smarter Ways to Manage Your School or University: A Roundtable Discussion” is available to watch on-demand. The panel discussed key topics education facilities are dealing with – including how to get improvement projects funded, managing energy and sustainability projects, keeping occupants safe from natural and man-made threats, and more.

Government agencies are under pressure to operate with attention to budget, at times, reacting to sudden reductions in facility management (FM) budgets. In a typical government office, as much as 30% of office space is not used to its full capacity during a normal business week. With major changes in the way people work since the pandemic, governments are taking a closer look at their facilities. 

It’s time to explore trends driving change in federal, state and local government facilities management, consider new tools and approaches for improving facilities, and evaluate how an FM partner’s capabilities to support federal defense, civilian and state and local agencies with a comprehensive set of solutions and services will drive value and enhance the performance of facilities. New FM strategies will lower risk, reduce cost, and elevate their facilities to attract talent, satisfy employees and delight constituents.

In August, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its plans to engage and inform communities, states, Tribes, Territories, and stakeholders about up-to-date information on the risks posed by air emissions of ethylene oxide (EtO) from commercial medical sterilizers, as well as EPA’s efforts to address these risks.

EPA is releasing new information on specific sterilization facilities where lifetime risk levels are the highest to people who live nearby and is encouraging impacted communities to participate in a series of public engagements to learn more. Later this year, EPA expects to propose an air pollution regulation to protect public health by addressing EtO emissions at commercial sterilizers.

EPA analysis indicates that the air near sterilization facilities does not exceed short-term health benchmarks. However, the concern is that a lifetime of exposure to EtO emissions could lead to long-term health impacts if some of these facilities continue to emit at the current levels.

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Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, issued the statement below following the preliminary release of the 54th annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, which explores key issues including school security.

"Key findings from the 2022 PDK Poll around school security provide a clear message that ensuring the core need for physical safety throughout our school systems weighs heavily on the minds of communities across the country.

"Combined with the escalating teacher shortage and the growing social and emotional needs of our children, teachers, principals and superintendents are stressed out to a degree that I have never seen in my 54 years in public education. Parents send their children off to school in the morning, trusting they will return home at the end of the school day."

ABM, a leading provider of integrated facility services, parking and transportation management solutions, and electric vehicle (EV) charger installations, recently announced the debut of ABMVantage, its new data-enabled, driver-first smart parking platform. This cutting-edge solution reimagines parking infrastructure by pioneering an enhanced experience that prioritizes drivers and creates unified parking systems designed to generate more revenue with lower operating costs.

ABMVantage offers a flexible solution that integrates with existing infrastructure enhanced by best-in-class technology and equipment, creating a streamlined open systems concept to fit and grow with the evolving needs of parking garage owners and their customers. The ABMVantage Integrated Mobility Solution serves as a central platform that collects data from disparate parking systems viewable through a single hub containing owner and operator dashboards loaded with real-time, actionable data.

AkitaBox and McKinstry recently partnered to deliver facility condition assessments (FCAs)AkitaBox FCA software will give architecture / engineering / construction (AEC) firms and building owners/operators a tool for conducting data collection, reporting and other aspects of a complete FCA.

AkitaBox delivers data-driven software to assess and optimize the operation and condition of facilities. The cloud-based software provides real-time facilities data in an easy-to-use, customizable visual format to help simplify operations, reduce risk and solve complex facility challenges. AkitaBox Pulse solutions include Facility Condition Assessment, Capital Management, Asset Management, Work Order Management, Preventive Maintenance, Occupant Experience, and Inspections.

McKinstry is a full-service, design-build-operate-maintain firm specializing in consulting, construction, energy and facility services, providing a single point of accountability to drive out waste and redundancy.

Facility managers will be walking the line when they reach Nashville to attend World Workplace® 2022, September 28-30. The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) has chosen “Take Center Stage” as the conference theme in recognition of the changing role of FMs in the workplace arena. “As the curtain lifts on FM’s shift from purely operational to indispensably strategic, there’s no business like know business,” says IFMA. “Get your act together — this year’s marquee FM event in Music City Center will prepare you to take center stage in making the spaces you manage your tour de force.”

World Workplace is the largest facility management conference in the world, offering discussions and sessions on FM and the wider built environment since 1995. World Workplace offers sessions in tracks, introducing “Emerging Topics” that consist of new or evolving business functions, external influences, or mandates that have a high probability of impacting the FM profession in terms of roles, responsibilities, and skills and knowledge requirements. The other tracks are FM Solutions; Finance & Business; Leadership & Strategy; Operations & Maintenance; Project Management; Risk Management; Facility Information Management & Technology Management; Occupancy & Human Factors; Performance & Human Factors. Sustainability; and Workplace Evolutionaries.

On a recent episode of the FM Evolution podcast, hosts Shawn Black of CGP Maintenance & Construction Services and Randy Olson of the Professional Facility Management Institute (ProFMI) were joined by Eileen McMorrow, founder of The McMorrow Reports Facility Management & Design Insights and editor-in-chief of FMLink, to discuss the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the “Great Resignation” on the FM industry, and the importance of professional training for staff retention.

One of the biggest questions asked in the past two surveys is if there was a “Great Resignation” in facilities management. What these reports found was that 66% of FM managers and staff had left or were considering leaving. However, they also found that the top three ways that organizations can retain FM professionals are through increased compensation benefits, opportunities for professional development and training, and offering opportunities for internal advancement. Furthermore, 54% of FM leaders say that they have open FM-related positions due to staff retirements.

Education sessions and Product Zones are the most important reason to attend NFMT Remix in Las Vegas, November 2-3. For Pro and Elite attendees, there are 60-minute sessions focused on foundational principals of Facilities Management. The key trends of technology, safety and sustainability tend to be cross-functional and have a major impact on overall facilities strategies. These sessions are geared as more introductory sessions. Think Tanks, for Elite attendees, are 60-minute informal discussions focused around either a specific building type or trend. This will allow you to network with your peers in a small group environment. Attendees can pull up a chair and ask your questions to like-minded facilities managers from around the country. Each roundtable will have an official moderator to help guide the conversation.

Concurrent Sessions run on Wednesday and Thursday, while Product Zone Sessions are featured during the Expo hours between 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. The Women in FM panel and a reception conclude Wednesday’s activities.

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