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[PODCAST TRANSCRIPT] Episode 6: #IFMAWW16 Recap & Interviews from IFMA's World Workplace

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Carolyn McGary - FM Innovator

Mike Petrusky recaps a great week in San Diego connecting with the FM community at IFMA's World Workplace!

Interviews on this episode:

04:35 Rhonda Rezac, FMP - RSP i-SPACE

10:25 Carolyn "Wonder Woman" McGary, CFM, Facility Manager - JLL

16:40 Corey MacKnight, CPO, Facilities Director - City of Winchester, VA


Show Transcript:

Rhonda: I love to share my story. That's how other people are going to learn and grow and feel like they're not the only one…

Carolyn: If you're not afraid to talk in front of 5,000 of your closest friends who share your same story, then go ahead and do it!

Corey: Met some people, talked about where we're from, what we do…talked about the classes coming up today. It was fantastic, it was great!

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, and how's it going FM innovators everywhere. It's Mike Petrusky, just back from San Diego, after an amazing weekend at IFMA's World Workplace. Where you there? Did you get as much out of this awesome event as I did? I sure hope so! If you did not make it to World Workplace this year, not to worry, you have come to the right place…or should I say the right podcast. We will do our very best here to give you just a little taste of all that went on in San Diego, but really there is so much, I don't know how we're going to cover it all. In fact, this is Episode 6 of The Facility Management Innovator Podcast, and it will be a super-sized one for sure, as I had the privilege of interviewing not one, not two, but three “FM innovators” during my time at World Workplace this week. Wow! Get ready for some really good stuff. Now the theme of the conference this year was “The FM Story is ours to Share”, and it was great. The speakers at the opening session did a wonderful job, really inspirational. There were so many good education sessions. I had the opportunity to moderate a couple of them, which was very cool. The expo hall had so much to offer in the way of innovative products and solutions from our industry partners, and it was huge. I was just being pulled in so many different directions, I could not get to see everyone I was hoping to which is the only thing that disappointed me all week. But what else? We got to hear from IFMA's leadership about their new collaboration with our friends from “across the pond” – RICS. I won't bore you with my attempt at a British accent, but it's very exciting to see IFMA and RICS starting this working together to define professional standards for the FM world, and building a global network for knowledge sharing, best practices, and shared resources. I got to spend some time with my friends from The IFMA Foundation…and they continue to do a fantastic job, elevating FM and working so hard to raise up the next generation of facility professionals. And of course, no World Workplace is complete without a little bit of fun, right? We could not have asked for better weather. The marina area just outside the hotels and convention center was amazing. The Welcome Reception on the USS Midway aircraft carrier was just awesome! It really is hard to describe how cool that was. And the ability to walk across the street and be right in the heart of San Diego, the Gaslamp quarter is what they call it, was just incredible. Great restaurants, networking receptions, happy hours….should I just say #ClubCourt? Many of you will know what I mean. Wow! That was next-level stuff, right? For a second I felt like I was in a Pit Bull video or something… unbelievable! “DJ dropped the beat!” Good times, good times! So, let's get to our interviews, shall we? I had such a great time talking to these three FM professionals, who each have their own perspective, and different roles within the world of facility management, as is so often the case. Just talk with three FMs and you'll get three completely unique insights. It makes it so much fun. First, we will hear from Rhonda Rezac. She is from Minneapolis, “dontcha know”? Rhonda was a real sport as I asked her about her Minnesota accent, and we talked about real sports, so that was pretty cool, too. You will hear, it was “fantastic”. Next, we get to hear from “Wonder Woman” herself, Carolyn McGary. She is the president of IFMA's Denver Chapter, and oh yeah, by the way, she was on the stage at the opening session of World Workplace. That's right! Carolyn told her FM story, and did so with a clever superhero-inspired theme that was really great. Finally, we'll hear from one of our own from the Capital Chapter of IFMA. Corey McKnight is a former Marine and the facilities director for the City of Winchester, Virginia. As you will hear, we may both be from D.C., and we may both be in the same chapter, but we needed to fly all the way across the country to San Diego in order to actually meet in person…amazing. So here we go, enjoy!

Mike: We are in beautiful San Diego at IFMA's World Workplace. Right here, high atop the expo hall…above the expo hall “literally”. We are in the convention center…you can maybe hear in the background some hustle and bustle of all kinds of activity going on just beneath us. But, I do have a guest today so please introduce yourself to our audience.

Rhonda: Hello! My name is Rhonda Rezac. I'm with the Minneapolis - St. Paul Chapter of IFMA, and I work for a company called RSP I-Space where I do FM consultancy as well as enduring the pain of being an FM within my own building.

Mike: Multiple hats! A dual responsibility of being both an FM practitioner, and an industry partner.

Rhonda: Yes, which creates quite an empathetic way of doing business because whenever I talk to FMs, and they tell me their story, I'm like, “I completely understand”. It creates really good relationships because it allows me to share stories of my own experiences, and makes them feel like they are not the only one going out there, and we can swap stories, and build a relationship off of that.

Mike: So let's talk a bit more about you personally. We did meet briefly, but I didn't know you really until your face was in my mailbox every day on an IFMA a brochure!

Rhonda: Yes.

Mike: How did that come about? You were not on stage today, but you were one of the featured stories in the brochure that was leading up to this conference.

Rhonda: I love to share my story. That's how other people are going to learn and grow and feel like they're not the only one. So IFMA reached out to me, and said, “Would you share your story about why coming to IFMA’s World Workplace is so important to you?” I was like, “Heck yeah”! I want more people to come to this, because at the end of this I feel so recharged about what I'm doing, and I know I'm making a difference when I leave here. It’s that feeling that…that gratification at the end of it.

Mike: So, tell me what it's like in Minneapolis - St. Paul? When I asked you to be a part of this podcast you responded via text, “You betcha”!

Rhonda: You betcha!

Mike: That's one of your key signature phrases there?

Rhonda: It is, that one and I'm bringing back “Oh, Jeez”.

Mike: So many of us only know the stereotypical accent from movies…

Rhonda: “Fargo”, yes. Oh gosh, I'm wondering if I can pull one of those out…”Oh yeah, you betcha!” Gotta get the twang in there. If you get outside the metropolitan area it gets pretty thick, and especially Fargo, that's why when they made that movie, I couldn't give it too much grief because it gets spot-on in some of those areas. Wow.

Mike: Were you born and raised in Minneapolis?

Rhonda: Born and raised. You had asked earlier about the kind of the weather and stuff that's going on up there because everyone's afraid of Minnesota because it snows, it gets so cold up there. It does, but right now, believe it or not, I'd rather be in Minneapolis than San Diego because this is the most beautiful time of the year. It is about 70 degrees which it is here, but there's this cool crispness that comes through at night. All of our leaves are changing to orange and yellow and red…it's just beautiful…and apples. We have so many apples. We go to the apple orchards. We go on hayrides. I mean, it's the most beautiful time of the year, and you get a bonfire every night. It is wonderful.

Mike: So how about them Vikings? Are you excited…a Minnesota Vikings fan? Look, I'm turning into you… (with accent) “Minnesota” Vikings.

Rhonda: I love the Vikings! I love the Minnesota Wild even more. We are the state of hockey. So, I do put the Minnesota Wild above the Vikings, but I have to admit, Holy Cow! They are doing fantastic this year. I'm giving all the credit to Zimmer. Like, they could be doing horrible in the first half, something happens in that locker room at halftime, and they come back out you're like, “Whoa! This is fantastic!”

Mike: That's awesome by the way, “fantastic”. So, this podcast is all about finding solutions for the built environment, facing challenges. You have to face some challenges in your job. Please tell me about some of those…

Rhonda: Oh, my current challenge…well, you know, it's like we've been in our building for, I want to say 15 years now, dealing with the same workstation layout, and the workplace evolves, and so really what I want to get out of this conference here is looking at Workplace Evolutionaries, the “WE” Group, and how they are convincing people that they need to change, to help retain and hire really good employees going forward. Especially with an architectural firm, you get your designers in there and they have pretty high expectations. And so, I want to make sure that we have the correct environment, not only because we are an architectural firm, but also because working, how you work, has changed so much in the last 15 years. It's more about “collaboration”, less about “me and my office”.

Mike: So talk to those listening. We have a lot of industry partners who will be listening to this, and they are trying to do their best to be a resource to the FM community. I'm always trying to get them to be in that mode of building a “culture of collaboration”, and bringing their expertise to the table. What are you going to tell them, as far as, the best way to approach an FM practitioner, and also really prove their value to FMs?

Rhonda: So, even in the Minneapolis Chapter we have all of our associate members, and the first thing I tell them when they come on board is, “listen and learn”. Facility managers have so much they want to share, but they want to know that you actually do care about what they're doing. They don't have time to be sold to 24/7. They are working so hard, that if you can share with them tips and tricks on how to make their life easier, they're going to want to come back to you, and ask you more questions, and you're gonna start to build that relationship, and that’s where you get the business. Show them that you genuinely care about what they do.

Mike: Rhonda, thank you so much for taking time to share some of your words with us…

Rhonda: And always my opinion…thank you.

Mike: You know there is a rumor going around San Diego this week…that “the FM story is ours to share”. It's true, it's true, and we are here… I have a special treat for you all, so please introduce yourself to our “FM Innovator Nation”…

Carolyn: Hi, I'm Carolyn McGary. I'm a facility manager for JLL…and I am an “FM Superhero”.

Mike: Yes, you are. You are “Wonder Woman”! One of the featured speakers that shared their FM story at the conference opening session this week. You spoke in front of a very large crowd Carolyn…

Carolyn: A few thousand of my closest friends.

Mike: That's right, I think that was close to 5,000 people! How did you prepare for that?

Carolyn: We found out about 10 weeks prior that our poorly made, handmade videos that we uploaded to YouTube and sent to the staff were the winners, lucky winners.

Mike: Congratulations! So, this is like “America's Got Talent” or “IFMA's Got Talent” audition call, and you put a video on YouTube?

Carolyn: Pretty much.

Mike: Wow!

Carolyn: Pretty much, they were like, “We want people to share their story, if you're not afraid to talk in front of your 5,000 of your close friends who share your same story, then go ahead and do it”. I told my entire chapter, “You guys should do this, you should enter!” I'm not sure if any of the other ones did, but I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of them, and that's when the real fun began.

Mike: I was gonna say, it was a great choice! And for those of you who were not here in San Diego this week, it was one of the most inspiring and really entertaining opening sessions I've seen in the several World Workplaces I've been to. And I think it’s because so many people could relate to at least one or more of the stories that were told. How did you prepare? Because I know that everybody up there looked like they were professional speakers, and it wasn't by accident, you definitely had to do some practice.

Carolyn: Definitely. There were six of us chosen and they hired a professional speaker coach, a TEDx coach, Terry Lipovski.

Mike: Yeah, he was good. He spoke a little briefly before bringing you all out and prepared us and got the crowd motivated…kind of a “warm-up” act for you.

Carolyn: Yeah, he got everybody ready for what they were going to see, which was the first time they've ever done something like this at a World Workplace.

Mike: So, I have to ask you. This week has got to be something of a surreal experience. I mean, you are a celebrity now within the IFMA world! The FM community loves you because of your time on stage. What's that like to be walking around the conference, walking around the exhibit hall, and just people recognize you now, everywhere you go?

Carolyn: It's true. I don't think I was quite prepared for how many people would stop me in the hallway, or just yell, “Wonder Woman, Superwoman… Hey!”

Mike: You have a brand, absolutely, and has anybody asked you for your autograph?

Carolyn: Nobody yet has asked for my autograph.

Mike: Well, I'll be the first one…I actually got your autograph, so that’s going to be worth something someday.

Carolyn: So, I take that back! You were the first one to ask for my autograph.

Mike: Thank you. So you were billed as “The Overachiever” of the crowd, and that is a very appropriate title knowing that I'm looking at your name badge… the number of ribbons cascading from your name badge right now. Have you counted these? How many different ribbon designations do you have here?

Carolyn: 21.

Mike: You actually did count! 21! I see CFM, I see SFP, IFMA Foundation, speaker, moderator, FMP, LinkedIn connections, it goes on and on…mentor. So, it is not an exaggeration that you are “The Overachiever”. You said in your talk that FMs are the real life superheroes, tell me about that.

Carolyn: I had to come up with what I wanted to talk about, what my passion was, and our first session was essentially, what’s your message? What are you going to convey? You need a beginning, middle, and an end. And you need the crowd to be able to take something away from that. And my big thing was I want people to understand the need for increased number of accredited degree programs and realize that we call ourselves the accidental profession, and we need to make it an intentional one, because we really do need to take action now, and save our world of FM, and I wanted to have a fun way of relating that.

Mike: Well, tell me more about our “nemesis”, because you did have an impassioned call-to-action, and so who is “the villain” out there for the FM community?

Carolyn: Our villain is essentially, in a nutshell, the aging workforce, lack of knowledge of facility management as a career, as well as that talent gap that results from that.

Mike: It’s an amazing challenge we face, and you're going to talk about that this afternoon. I'm moderating a session here, “kids can grow up to be superheroes”, that's the theme you have with some of The IFMA Foundation initiatives, so tell me more about that.

Carolyn: Yeah, that was my theme, it was another piece. We hear a lot about how kids want to grow up, and they want to be doctors, and they want to be astronauts, and because we have such a hard time explaining what facility management is, they don't know that they can grow up and be “facility management superheroes”. I mean, just think about any fun commercial you've ever seen…the kids got a little towel strapped to his shoulders, he's running around, and he thinks he's Superman. Show him how facility managers are like Superman, and it's gonna click for them. More of them are going to want to be facility managers.

Mike: I think it's great, I think it's a wonderful initiative. It’s really awesome what you're doing and I appreciate your time today. Thank you so much! I feel like I've landed the “star of the show” to be on my little podcast…so thank you.

Carolyn: Thank you.

Mike: Be careful flying home! (See what I did there?)

Mike: I've got another special guest with me today. Please introduce yourself, tell us who you are, and where you're from?

Corey: My name's Corey McKnight. I am the Facilities Director for the City of Winchester in Winchester, Virginia.

Mike: Just a little bit outside Washington D.C., Corey is a Capital Chapter member, and it took us a couple of years, and a trip across the country, to actually meet in person.

Corey: Definitely, definitely yes.

Mike: How far outside of D.C.?

Corey: It’s about an hour, maybe a little over an hour in the Shenandoah Valley.

Mike: Beautiful country out there, and what is it you do specifically on a day-to-day basis?

Corey: So, on a daily basis I take care of all the city-owned properties, from the smallest little 200 to 300 square foot George Washington museums to the 80,000 square foot courthouse. The City of Winchester has a unique history that dates back to the Civil War. It turned over hands between the North and the South seventy-seven times…that's a lot.

Mike: You've got to be a “Civil War Buff” to know that type of fact, that type of trivia.

Corey: Yes.

Mike: How do you become “a buff”, as George Costanza once asked?

Corey: You know, just through living there, through osmosis of everybody that is so deep into the history. I grew up in Wisconsin, and I don't try to tell people that, you know, because that's the North and they have issues.

Mike: You are on the wrong side of the Mason-Dixon Line!

Corey: I am on the wrong side, yes. So two other properties that I take care of… one of them is the George Washington Headquarters. When he was a surveyor, he was in Winchester, and it's only about two or three hundred square feet, but it's a little museum. And then, Stonewall Jackson’s Headquarters is a house right down from our library. They give tours, too, and the ladies that work there, they dress in the authentic Civil War garb. You know, it's 96 degrees in the middle of summer, and they're in their wool outfits.

Mike: Oh wow, that’s some hard labor, but really makes it cool for the visitors. That’s like Colonial Williamsburg, right? It really makes it interesting.

Corey: True, and we do relate a lot to Colonial Williamsburg. We have a downtown walking mall that we recently renovated. We put seven-and-a-half million dollars into it and added some state of the art facilities, like a splash pad, and a restroom called an “Exeloo”.

Mike: Wow. What's that all about?

Corey: Its European.

Mike: Sounds fancy.

Corey: It is. It's a self-cleaning restroom so after so many uses or so much time, the door will lock, and it will actually clean itself with spray heads and blowers.

Mike: That's awesome! So, innovative technology is being implemented in the facility, literally “in the facilities”…

Corey: Yes, “in the facilities”, definitely. We are one of 25 units in the United States.

Mike: Well, let's talk about World Workplace because here we are in beautiful San Diego at the convention center right now, and talking as the expo hall is open below, you've spent some time down in the exhibitor’s hall?

Corey: Definitely, yep.

Mike: So, what is it you look for you, what do you like to see, and what's most effective when it comes to catching your attention as an FM practitioner?

Corey: This is my third World Workplace, and it seems like every year when I come to the World Workplaces I'm in the middle of different projects, and they've never failed me. This year, we just put the final touches on a design remodel for our city hall, its 116 years old. So, you know we're going from everybody having a little square office to some open spaces, so trying to get some innovative technology as far as work spaces. This year, they didn't fail me. There were a lot of work areas, retractable desks that raise and lower, different types of flooring for different types of traffic. So it's actually been very successful this year.

Mike: Perfect. So let's talk more about the conference here, and the educational sessions going on. What has caught your eye, and what did you learn so far? We’ve got another day or so of education ahead of us, but what have you learned so far here in San Diego?

Corey: The first class I went to this morning was “learning to surf chaos instead of drowning in it”. Like every other FM, you're constantly inundated with phone calls, and emails, and paperwork, and you know, it's never ending. And it was a great class to go to because your brain is made to function one way, and the key to this class is trying to not keep everything inside your brain. Write it down, send yourself an email, put it on a piece of paper, try to limit the amount of stuff you have floating around inside your noodle. It was great. It's about prioritizing and organizing your life so that you can kind of make things flow a little easier.

Mike: We can all certainly use a little more of that, and it sounds like, in your day-to-day, that's essential to keep on top of so many responsibilities. So what about the, I don't want to be remiss and forget we had our big Welcome Reception on the USS Midway aircraft carrier, what was your takeaway there?

Corey: It was fantastic! I hadn't been on a naval vessel… it's not called “a boat”… it's called “a vessel”.

Mike: I learned what “the head” was, by the way, there was a little...

Corey: Yes, yes, “the head”.

Mike: Always heard that...

Corey: It’s like “The Exeloo”, only not excellent, right?

Mike: Exactly. We’ve got a theme running here in this interview. I am not sure how much we want to emphasize that, but tell me more about “the vessel”.

Corey: Yeah, it was great! I've never been on an aircraft carrier before. My brother served on an aircraft carrier, he was in the Navy. We are a military family. So it was just so neat, and they put on a great show. The food was great, the band was fantastic and everybody was just having a really good time. I sat down at a table, met some people, talked about where we're from, what we do, talked about the classes coming up today… it was fantastic, it was great.

Mike: Always a great opportunity to meet people from all over the country, all over the world really. There are some people from West Africa that I was talking to the other day. It's just amazing to have this experience and be here in San Diego together. Thanks for taking some time to talk to us Corey.

Corey: No problem, thank you.

Mike: There you go, Rhonda Rezac, Carolyn McGary, and Corey McKnight, recorded live at IFMA's World Workplace 2016. Wow! Was that fun, or what? I really enjoyed my weekend in San Diego, and I hope you did, too. I had so many great conversations with many of you, and if only I could have recorded all of them would have been great, right? Well, maybe not “all” of them. If you did not make it out to San Diego, then I hope we were able to bring a little bit of World Workplace to you, wherever you may be. I really enjoy putting these podcasts together, and I continue to be amazed by the people I get to meet and talk to, and I really hope you, too, are enjoying these conversations as well. If you are, please let us know. Don't hesitate to drop me a note, leave a rating, leave a review over at iTunes. It really helps a lot. And please continue to tune in to the podcast for more great fun and excitement. Until next time, as “Wonder Woman” Carolyn McGary tells us…”Be an FM superhero”, and I hope you now are even more inspired to… 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/episode6

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


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