There are three reasons why your membership in professional organizations like APPA is so important:
1. Who else will understand what you are going through as a professional and leader within your institution? There is so much to gain from like-minded individuals who speak the same language and live the same challenges as you do every day. Many of these benefits are only reaped if you are an active participant in the organizations that you deem effective to your own institution, but when you engage (and fully engage), you will reap rewards much greater than the amount of time you invested.
2. The M*A*S*H principle is in full effect. Those of us who were old enough to watch the original television series M*A*S*H, as well as those of us who watched reruns with our parents when we were kids, are blessed with understanding how Corporal Klinger was so effective at his job. Sure, he was never effective at getting discharged with a Section 8, but he was very effective at networking and finding resources in a place where resources were scarce—and sometimes almost nonexistent. We are living in crazy times, where markets and resource availability are doing crazy things. Organizations like APPA give us the means not only to be effective, but to do our very best work—and often to do a lot with very little!
3. Professional development. Facilities departments are not the revenue-generating assets of the education business—and that’s as it should be. The professional development dollars needed to develop and sustain effective training at the university level should be directed to faculty and profit-making assets. Therefore, for facility professionals to grow progressively better at their jobs, investment in organizations like APPA is required. And that’s not the only reason such an investment is important. Most of the time the physical facilities of a university are the largest asset on the balance sheet—and the best business minds will always advise you to protect your assets. So, membership in APPA seems like a very sound business investment indeed.
You Make It So
Membership in any organization is only as valuable as you decide it is for your institution. Throughout my career, my perspective has been that APPA and organizations that provide similar services are worth the investment.
Will we see you at the CAPPA Conference in October? I do hope so!
Andrea Smith is director of project management and facility services at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD. She can be reached at email@example.com. This is her first article for Facilities Manager.