How managers can move their organization from reactive emergencies to planned activities
Angela Testa, senior vice president of operations at American Campus Communities, strengthens operations without compromising a healthy work environment
Is sustainability a fad? Environmental responsibility seems to be at the forefront of many maintenance and engineering managers' decisions, so it's hard to fathom the idea of going green going away any time soon.
That said, one facility manager I spoke with recently expressed concern that sustainability could become another trend in a profession that has seen many initiatives surface, hang around, then slowly fade.
"I have been around long enough, and it seems like things come and go," he told me. "(Certain initiatives) are kind of trendy."
The manager works in a large metropolitan school district and has spearheaded his district's efforts to modernize every school in the city — no easy task. He clearly has bought into the idea of environmental responsibility and the value it brings to an organization. Moreover, he feels responsible for making sustainability stick.
"We need to institutionalize this idea that we have to be more conservative with our natural resources," he said. "I think it's really important for a school district to take some leadership in that area."
Ironically, these comments came only days after our annual trade show — NFMT — during which an executive with the New York City Department of Education talked about the organization's mission to educate students on the way building operations impact the environment. That education process won't happen overnight, but the department is committed to conservation and delivering that message to the next generation.
A change of culture is taking place in these organizations, and such a shift might be necessary to ensure sustainability does not become just another industry trend.
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Chris Matt offers insights gleaned from conversations with managers who make key maintenance and engineering decisions in commercial and institutional facilities.
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