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Trade Shows are the Perfect Place to 'Talk Facilities'

Senior Editor Dan Hounsell spotlights the importance of managers sharing ideas and thoughts with peers

By Dan Hounsell, Senior Editor  

The conversations at our annual NFMT Baltimore conference last month came in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some were just two facility managers chatting in the registration line. Others involved three or four managers waiting for a session to start, and still others were genuine group discussions that took over an entire conference room. 

Whatever their size or location, these conversations are my favorite aspects of the conference. They represent what our company hoped to create when we started the event back in 2001: a sense of community. 

Amid presentations on KPIs, sustainability, energy efficiency and compliance, among many others, facility managers talked. They shared information, asked questions only another manager could understand, and built relationships based on the shared challenges that come with overseeing complex facilities that support the mission of evolving organizations. 

Two conversations from the event have stayed with me. 

I moderated two group sessions on resilience and deferred maintenance. They started slowly. I asked questions, and attendees began to learn about each other's specific facilities and challenges. Soon, I was mostly an afterthought. They talked to each other, asked each other questions about the topic and shared resources and insights. They were building a community. 

Maybe the best NFMT conversations are the ones I’ll never see — those that take place between attendees when they get back to their facilities and have a quick question for that contact they made in Baltimore. Or the conversation a manager has with their staff to begin implementing the ideas they brought back. 

Wherever these important conversations take place and whatever they’re about, they help create the community that takes shape when managers talk facilities. 

Dan Hounsell is senior editor for the facilities market. He has more than 30 years of experience writing about facilities maintenance, engineering and management. 

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  posted on 4/1/2024   Article Use Policy

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