One perk of being a new hire at a membership organization is getting to be curious and ask lots of novice questions—for instance, about the organization’s past, plans, protocols and (my personal favorite) its members. In my four short months at APPA, I’ve just begun to get a handle on the facilities management profession, and one clear early lesson is that it’s filled with conscientious and multitalented problem-solvers who are always thinking about the future. And boy, do you have your work cut out for you in 2024.
This issue of Facilities Manager delves into those challenges, but I’ll be the first to acknowledge that it barely scratches the surface, given the enormous diversity of your job roles and the institutions where you work. For a feature article based on a broad survey of APPA members, I learned that you’re confronted by growing work backlogs and demands on your time but diminishing resources—human and financial alike—to tackle them. Articles on topics including data management, water emergencies, code compliance, and campus carbon neutrality dig deeper into other front-and-center workplace realities.
Mercifully, there are steps you can take to mitigate, if not solve, many of these challenges, and the articles address them as well.
In a very different article, this issue showcases APPA’s 2023 Awards Program. That list of outstanding programs and individuals includes the recipients of the Rex Dillow Award for Outstanding Article. In “Connecting People to Places: Michigan State University’s Use of Mobile Technologies,” Dan Bollman and Adam Lawver of Michigan State University outline how their department leverages “technology to augment our workforce capability and capacity so we can achieve more productive work with less waste-in-process and at a quality and standard of care that is both professional and acceptable to our students, faculty, and staff.” Terrific videos provide a closer look.
This Facilities Manager brings some changes, too. For one thing, we’ve made it easier for you to find additional content that may be relevant to your work. Want to learn more about energy- and utility-related innovations in the Power Tools column? Or see more of other recurring columns, such as The Bookshelf, Facility Asset Management, or Technology + Trends? Simply click on the link at the top of those articles to see previous columns, as shown here:
We’ve also made it easier for you to find additional content related to the “four cores” that broadly categorize much of the work you do. At the bottom of many articles, mouse over the “tag” for Energy, Utilities, and Environmental Stewardship, General Administration and Management, Planning, Design, and Construction, or Operations and Maintenance. And feel free to share or save articles on social media, using icons at the bottom of each.
On my first day at APPA, I confessed to my new colleagues that I had no intention of staying here for 41 years, as my much-missed predecessor, Steve Glazner, had done. But who knows? Science promises amazing advancements in longevity, and there’s no doubt that I would still have much to learn and improve on even in the unimaginable year of 2064. In the meantime, I invite you to email me any time with your questions or ideas for how we can better document and advance your work within educational facilities.
Leah Thayer is APPA’s director of publications and the editor of Facilities Manager. She can be reached at [email protected].
Coming in the next Facilities Manager:
- Earning That Seat at the Leadership Table
- Three Universities Become One