IFMA Atlanta Members Participate in GA Tech’s FM Capstone Project

Below is a recap the Georgia Tech FM Capstone Project from Assistant Professor Eunhwa Yang with the School of Building Construction.  Several IFMA Atlanta members participated in the project.

Bridging the gap between academia and industry is one of the primary goals of research as well as teaching. As a part of this effort, I invited experienced FM professionals: Ken Stephenson, Robert Dawkins, and Leah Schoenbachler, to be a team advisors for the FM capstone project. The FM capstone project was one of the three parts of the Building Construction and Facility Management Capstone for Master’s students in the School of Building Construction at Georgia Tech. The other two parts focused on program management and construction management.

The FM project consisted of three sub-topics: space utilization and user satisfaction, maintenance work process, and energy and sustainability. And last but not least, students provided a data-driven strategic facility management plan related to the three sub-topics. The students made various creative suggestions based on their data analysis, including survey, interview, observation, environmental measures, and energy consumption data.

The highlight of this semester’s approach was to have an industry professional for each team as an advisor. FM professionals and students met every week for the 5-week project period and discussed the progress and direction of the project. Students left positive comments on this educational collaboration – they said it was great to have both academic and industry perspectives on the project and they felt more connected to the field of FM as working with industry professionals so closely. Industry advisors and I agree that the deliverables of the project exceeded our expectation. This success was possible because of industry advisors’ expertise and guidance as well as the great help of the Facilities team at Georgia Tech as the subject building was an academic building on campus.

I hope students in the building industry, whether their immediate career hat is FM or not, that they understand different stakeholders involved in the FM, including owners, facility managers, FM staff, and occupants. Ultimately, they realize the importance of FM functions during a building’s life cycle and will utilize the research techniques and FM knowledge. Acknowledgment to Laura Hammond, Dan Callahan, and Alejuandro Hunt.