Interview s Teena Shouse, CFM, IFMA Fellow

Introduction

After enjoying almost 30 years in different roles in the Facility Management, Teena is enjoying teaching, speaking and occasional consulting projects. Her leadership as Chairman of the IFMA Board of Directors and Chair of Global FM BOD enabled her to influence FM on a global basis. Her technical expertise grew as the Employee Services GM at Sprint HQ for 18 years and as the VP of Client Services for FEA until February 2016 when she formed FM Transitions. When not consulting, she enjoys her family, church, friends, travel and playing a bit of golf

 

How long have you been working in the field of facility management? 

I started my FM career in 1989 when I went to work for US Sprint (telecommunications).

When and how did you discover this profession?

I was working for a company called ARA Services (now ARAMARK) and US Sprint was a client of mine.  I got to know the facility managers well and one day the Director of FM asked me to come to work for them.  I was shocked because I really did not know or truly understand what FM was, however, he said that he would teach me.  I have never regrated that decision!!

How would you describe the change in facility management during your professional career, where is facility management today? 

In the late 80s we called our group at US Sprint “Administrative Services”.  We did not do a lot of our own financial planning or real estate transactions.  Since then, a competent Facility Manager is fluent in all 11 of the IFMA Competencies.  We are much more multi-faceted and involved in many of the critical business decisions facing the organizations with which we work.

Have you recently been interested in an interesting project, interesting technology, innovations or procedures in facility management, or unusual cooperation between the customer and the FM service provider? 

Since I have semi-retired, I do not get as much interaction with the outsourced FM service providers.  I work mainly with FMers who manage the outsourced contracts, or they manage most of the services with in-house staffing.  The most exciting technology to come along in the last few years for FMers is BIM aligned with CMMS software.  If we can convince all new projects to include CMMS partnering with BIM in the future, it will dramatically change the way the FMer manages their facilities.

We discuss the importance of the facility manager for your organization. How is the position and role of the facility manager perceived in your country? What is his current position in the company management hierarchy?

Every company is different.  However, I will say that within the last 10 years, the facility manager’s role and position has been greatly elevated within their respective companies.

What did the last pandemic year mean for facility management?

It greatly heightened their role in keeping the facilities clean, safe and more sustainable.  The technicians were also recognized for their role in keeping the HVAC operations working properly to encourage cleaner air flow within the facilities as well.  When we talk about heroes of the pandemic, FMers should be noted.  When many others were safe in their own homes, many FMers were asked to continue working in their facilities to ensure the proper operations of the assets.

Do you have any awareness of facility management in the Czech Republic or Central and Eastern Europe?

Just what I have learned and observed in the past visits (last one was nearly 7 years ago).  I try to keep in touch and aware of happenings in these countries through the IFMA FMCC and other outlets.

Did you meet some facility managers from these countries and how did you perceive their expertise?

I have found these FMers to be very serious and intentional about doing the very best they can in what is sometimes an environment of “unknowing of the value of FM”.  They are trying very hard to raise the awareness of exactly what FM is and how it is so very valuable to the companies, government, and non-profit organizations they serve.  They are very thirsty for technical FM knowledge and learning from their peers around the world.

What advice would you advise facility managers in the Czech Republic? 

Stay strong, continue to stay engaged in FM associations like IFMA, stay connected to their fellow FMers around the world, and never give up trying to educate and make more people aware of their hard work and knowledge about the built environment.

Do you have a life credo? 

“Love what you do and do what you love!”

Thank you for the time and your experience with which you shared with us and we look forward to the opportunity to invite you to our Czech Republic when the current non-standard time passes.

TEXT Ondřej Štrup, IFMA Fellow FOTO Ondřej Štrup

 

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