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[PODCAST TRANSCRIPT] Episode 3: Interview with Mark Schnurr | Bravo! Facility Services

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Mark Schnurr - FM Innovator

On this episode, Mark Schnurr of Bravo! Facility Services discusses building an IFMA legacy and bringing value to the FM community. Other topics covered include the importance of having a "service to others mentality", how to connect and collaborate with facility managers, outsourcing trends and the need to establish best practices in facility management. Mike Petrusky shares some inspiration from Zig Ziglar and opens the debate about who was the best new wave band of the 80's!

PUBLISHED: SEPTEMBER 19, 2016

Show Transcript:

Mike: The great Zig Zigler said, "Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude". Our guest today will share another awesome Zig Zigler quote and so much more.

This is "The Facility Management Innovator Podcast" where we talk with FM industry leaders about workplace trends, challenges, and the future of the built environment. This show is brought to you by Kayrell Connections, providing information, consulting and marketing expertise to help organizations deliver workplace innovation to the facility management community.

Mike: Hey there! How's it going? Mike Petrusky here to welcome you to another edition of The Facility Management Innovator Podcast. This is Episode 3, and I am so ready to introduce you to yet another FM innovator. He has built quite a legacy in the facilities marketplace, and his name is Mark Schnurr of Bravo! Facility Services.


We sat down not too long ago, and we had a great conversation, and you'll hear it in just a few moments. But first, can I just say that Zig Zigler quote at the top of the show has me all fired up, such timeless wisdom from Zig, that quote so perfectly sums up I believe what is absolutely required to be a success, especially in the sales and marketing role or as a facility manager where you certainly face unexpected challenges each day. Just dealing with people, your customers, or your building's occupants; having that positive attitude, it really makes a difference, and is so critical to our effectiveness in the workplace.


You know when I was just starting out in the business world I used to ride around in my car and listen to Zig Zigler cassette tapes all day. That's right kids, a cassette tape, not streaming internet audio, not even a CD, we're going back to the late '80s when we were rocking out to mix tapes on cassette. So there you go! You can picture me wearing my baby blue Members Only jacket, cruising around in my little red Corvette...no wait, that was Prince. I was in a little red Ford Escort. Pretty cool...with my full-on mullet blowing in the breeze. That's right, I had such a great great image in the 80s! But the new wave of music... I used to love Duran Duran, The Cure, Adam and the Ants, Echo and the Bunnymen, Talking Heads, I could go on and on with that list, so please leave your comment on who you think the best new wave band of the '80s might have been, and we'll talk more about that later.


But back to Zig Zigler, he had such a way with inspiring quotes and storytelling in his books, and I remember one story about a guy who came to Zig's house and tried to sell him this automatic pool cleaner, called "the creepy-crawly". I don't remember all the details, but remember Zig saying over and over the product was called "the creepy-crawly". Zig was so good. Anyway, by now I think you're getting a good idea about what this podcast is all about, a little bit of inspiration, I hope, and some motivation to elevate the facility management profession. We did create this podcast as a vehicle to share with you, the FM community, some real life examples of how industry partners are collaborating with facility managers, and how they're using their expertise and creativity to deliver the resources that are absolutely necessary for FMs to efficiently and effectively manage their facilities. That's why our tagline at Kayrell Connections is, "real people, real solutions". Now, specifically on this episode, Mark and I will discuss his career background, and how he has built a legacy through IFMA by working hard to become known as a valuable resource to the FM community. We'll discover the fact that, in addition to that positive attitude, real long-term success comes when you have what Mark calls a "service to others" mentality, where helping others first is a top priority. We will discuss opportunities for connecting and collaborating with facility managers, and we'll also talk about the trends Mark has seen towards outsourcing, and what he has done to help build best practices in facility management.


Once again, I must say, as I mentioned during the last episode, that I am so very thankful to these first few guests, like Mark, who put their confidence in me, and by just sitting down for this interview well before we knew what we were really doing, we were at the beginning of what I call "the podcasting learning curve". So while the audio quality is not totally perfect here, I hope you'll get as much out of this conversation as I did, and thank you again Mark, here we go.

Mike: My guest on this episode is Mark Schnurr, and he is an FM innovator. Welcome, Mark!

Mark: Hi Mike, how are you? Thanks for having me.

Mike: Mark is a senior vice president at Bravo! Facility Services, one of the largest privately-held facility support companies in the country. Bravo provides a wide variety of fully integrated facility support solutions to the FM marketplace, and Mark has also been a longtime member of the capital chapter of IFMA, in fact we met there probably eight or nine years ago at a golf tournament, right?

Mark: Yeah, since 1995.

Mike: And I knew right away that you were passionate about advancing the profession of the facility management through IFMA, and in fact you were the Chapter President at one point.

Mark: That's right, 2003.

Mike: And why don’t you tell me more about that? Tell me more about your involvement with IFMA, and how you went to be known in the FM community?

Mark: Well, I think the way I'd like to be known in the FM community is for everyone to see me as a valued resource for their business. You know when the FM community views you as their consultant, regardless of business area that you're in, someone who's concerned with their best interest, you become indispensable. So that's how I think Bravo! would like to position themselves, and that's what I try to do.

Mike: Absolutely. Many of us don't actually end up here on purpose, the facility management world seems to capture us from different backgrounds. I like to learn about people's backgrounds, and how you became involved with this marketplace. So, tell me a little bit about your FM journey, where'd you go to school, and how did you end up here today?

Mark: Well, I went to Villanova University, BA in economics, minor communications. I started in the financial services industry and that led to an opportunity in the building security industry and that supported the commercial real estate industry, and I leverage contacts and the real estate services world that led me to facility support services, janitorial services, and now I'm stuck. Like you said, I just got here by accident, but here I am.

Mike: Stuck and loving it! Well, let's learn more about you personally, and find out more about what makes you that valued resource to the FMs each day. Do you have a favorite song?

Mark: Yeah, I kind of like "We Are Family", by Sister Sledge.

Mike: Nice!

Mark: So that might be a little bit too old for a lot of people who will be listening to this, but it just makes me happy whenever I hear it. It brings back a lot of memories, and anyone else that happens to be around seems to join in with my enjoyment.

Mike: "Get up everybody and sing"!

Mark: Right, but knowing people for the past 20 years in this chapter makes them a part of my extended family, and I think that song applies here as well as everyone else in my life. So that's probably why I really like that song.

Mike: What's your favorite movie?

Mark: Mike, great question, I have a lot of favorite movies. Without giving it too much thought, “Seabiscuit”. I also read the book and the horse Seabiscuit was not considered elite, not the biggest, not the fastest, not the smartest, but in spite of all odds, he had the heart, will, and determination to be successful, no matter what. And it shows that having heart, will and determination is all you need if you really want something, and I related to that. I think that describes me, and how I am, and so I really bonded with Seabiscuit.

Mike: Awesome. I love those inspirational movies, especially sports movies like... You could be “Rudy”! You're the "Rudy" of the FM world...

Mark: Yeah, I don't know about that...

Mike: Do you have any particular motivational quotes or inspirational quotes that you can share with us?

Mark: There's a couple that I would say resonate with me all the time, and one of them that I learned was, "Help others get what they want, and you'll get what you want".

Mike: Zig Zigler, right?

Mark: I believe in that.

Mike: I think that's Zig, I love Zig.

Mark: So I live by that, and another one was from one of my other favorite movies which not a lot of people would get, but Tom Hanks in "Castaway". Not to get into a speech, but he says, "One never knows what the tide will bring", and really what that means to me is that you really have no control, that control is an illusion, and that ultimately life will surprise you in good ways and bad, and it's best to ride the wave you are on, never getting to high or too low. And so being around the chapter for over 20 years you have some highs and lows, but I've learned to kind of stay right on that wave, and just ride it and never get too up or too down.

Mike: Excellent. You know that first quote from Zig Zigler reminds me of an Albert Einstein famous quote. Einstein said once, "Try not to become a man of success, but rather a man of value." And both that quote, and the Zigler quote reminds me of what your philosophy is about, it’s about bringing value to people first, and the success will follow. So I think we all agree that that as industry partners we must really invest that time upfront, and prepare ourselves first so we can be a value to facility managers. What do you consider your expertise to be, and what parts of your job are you most passionate about?

Mark: I think that last question you asked about the favorite quote is a nice segue into to this question, because I believe in helping others get what they want, and like the late Muhammad Ali said, "Service is our rent for our life on this earth". So to be successful in life you must have a service to others mentality, I really believe that success is not defined by money, but what contributions you make to others in their life, making a difference in their life, and in whatever you do. So that's really how I try to live. I'm very passionate about being the best in whatever it is that I'm doing, whether it's with Bravo, whether it’s at IFMA, in my personal life, and in anything that I can do I try to be the best at it. But really the most satisfaction that I get today is helping others become more successful. I really enjoy that. So that's a part of that service for others, you're helping others get better, and that's where I get my satisfaction.

Mike: That’s great. As someone who's newer to IFMA, and has been able to benefit from the foundation that your work has as laid for the chapter, and for all of us it's really a... it's great to have this chance to hear from you, and I certainly hope you recognize how appreciative the folks within the chapter and the FM community are for the hard work that the early leaders of the chapter did, and the sweat equity that was put into our chapter to make it the success it is today. So thank you for that, Mark.

Mark: I appreciate that.

Mike: And let's talk more about that, that FM community we have through IFMA, and other organizations. There's lots of events, lots of education, conferences, World Workplace is awesome. We see each other out there. Tell me more about some of the IFMA events that you most enjoy, and some of the opportunities for collaboration you've had because of those IFMA opportunities.

Mark: You know World Workplace, like you mentioned, is always great, and the best thing about that is getting away, and really getting to know the people within your own chapter. You think you go halfway across the country, and you go to somewhere and you're thinking "why am I doing that?". But that really helps you connect better with those people from your chapter. So that's been a great benefit. But personally, I really enjoy the holiday events, and the chapter anniversary events. The 25th and the 30th, I was the MC at both of those. So that was a lot of fun for me, and these events typically bring everyone out, and everyone's happy being a part of something that they contributed to, so it's nice to see that, be involved in that, and be a part of it. Probably my most memorable one was many years ago, and I don't want to tell you how many, but it was closer to the beginning of my tenure than the end of it, and I was an auctioneer at IFMA fundraising event at AOL. And we auctioned off a piece of art that was essentially a photo of 4 lemons...we auctioned off one lemon at a time, and I don't think you were there.

Mike: I don’t remember that, no.

Mark: But somehow I don't know how that came about, it was probably the glass of wine or two that I had before that, and that probably helped me, but this was ultimately, this piece of art was sold for a nice amount, and the attendees responded very enthusiastically, and somehow remember this moment and remind me of it from time to time. Sort of my "IFMA Moment" if you will.

Mike: That's great. So you have been around a while, we won't go into the details of how long, but at the same time I want to hear your experience and your perspective. How have you seen the FM world change, over, let's say the past 5 or 10 years?

Mark: From my perspective, being in the IFMA community, but not necessarily being an FM, I see that outsourcing has grown significantly. I'm a part of that. This has brought great challenges to the FM community with respect to future survival in a world moving at light speed. Most experienced FMs are at the tail end of their career, and the new generation isn't quite ready to lead, opening the door for a new model that can adapt to this rapid change.

Mike: Yeah, and that's a trend I see continuing. What do you think things will look like 10 years from now?

Mark: I think the outsourcing will continue, and the FM community will either find a way to adapt, or hold off this change, or become a part of it, so it should be interesting.

Mike: With that in mind, you and I both have college-age children that now are starting their careers in this new workplace, and it's a whole "other world" than it was back when we started. What might you do differently, or might you look back and say, "I'd do that the exact same way", when it comes to if you are new on the job, your first week on the job, what are you gonna do out there?

Mark: Probably, having come out just now, I'd be a little bit more technology & computer savvy. I'm doing okay with that, but I still really believe in that service to others mentality, so I don't think that would change too much. I would probably apply that new expertise from the technology with that mindset, and hopefully that will get me far.

Mike: That's great. I don’t think it ever changes; the need for personal relationships, and building trust. Talk to that more... tell me about an opportunity you've had to collaborate and with personal relationships that were built out of the IFMA community or somewhere else... tell me about that?

Mark: There's been several of those Mike, but typically the most valuable ones are those that result in a best practice, and that's something that I really spent a lot of time working with FMs on. In our chapter, in this FM community, is how can we get better, and what were they doing before, what are they doing now, and what are others doing, and what can we do to make that a best practice?


So Rick Conn, who I've known for several years, many years, he was working at the Corcoran Gallery at the time, he had an internal staff at the time, and outsourced to improve the service and reduce the overall cost. So he outsourced to Bravo!, and while we achieved the primary goals of improving the service and reducing the overall cost, we were also able to integrate a tailored museum training program that was ultimately endorsed by the Corcoran, and then shared with other museums including another chapter member, Dave Samec, who is at the National Gallery of Art. So it extended beyond just helping Rick and the Corcoran achieve what they wanted to, we took it to the next level and then that experience and that best practice was shared with another FM. I’ve talked to Dave and he shared it with others in his community, so that was personally satisfying for me, and it made them better, and again, at the National Gallery of Art, there really wasn't an opportunity there because they have their own staff, but I was still able to share that. It was still appreciated, and I helped make a difference, and I think that's what it's all about.

Mike: And that's what we're trying to do here, we're building a culture of collaboration, and shared resources, and education, and that's what IFMA is all about, and it’s really an honor to be a part of that organization. So, thank you Mark, I appreciate your time today.

Mark: Thank you, Mike. It's been great being here.

Mike: There you go, good stuff and good times with Mark Schnurr of Bravo! Facility Services. What did you think? Please email me your feedback... connections@kayrell.com is the address. Or, drop us a comment over at iTunes. While you're there, you can click the subscribe button so you can keep up with the new episodes as they are released in the coming weeks, and of course, as always, any suggestions you have for interviews, topics you'd like to hear discussed, anything that would help us enrich the facility management community, we'd love to hear from you.


Please Tweet me @MikePetrusky - I’ll look forward to continue the conversation with you, and I sincerely appreciate you listening to this podcast...you guys rock! Thank you so so much. I will talk with you again soon, and until then... Be an FM innovator!® Peace out!

You’ve been listening to “The Facility Management Innovator Podcast”. We hope you found this discussion beneficial, as we work together to elevate the FM community, by building partnerships that lead to innovative, workplace solutions. For more information about facility management collaboration and marketing resources, visit www.kayrellconnections.com.

LISTEN TO THE EPISODE: http://kayrellconnections.com/episode3

SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNES: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/facility-management-innovator/id1154571864

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