“Advocacy Day event on Sept. 11-12 in Washington, D.C.” By Gean Leyba

This year I had the pleasure of having Christy Jellets attend with me as part of our rotating participation. This will be my second year attending as last year was Dan Walther’s second year attending. We have established that as a member attending this event, we attend for two years and then rotate out so that other members can attend. So next year Christy will attend with a new attendee from our chapter and the program continues on for the next two years.

IFMA is working with a Broad Industry Coalition to support the “Civilian Property Realignment Act and the Federal Buildings Personal Training Act. The Civilian Property Realignment Act is a bill to identify properties that can be repurposed or sold off as a way to relieve the government of properties that are more of a strain then a benefit for the government to hold on to. This could be based on the location of the property or the condition being in such disarray that it would benefit the government to sell off the property to the private sector to ease the strain of holding onto unusable property and to put the funds from the sale back into the governments account. This would be a way of reducing depth and excess inventory while working toward a leaner government.

The Federal Buildings Personal Training Act is a bill that passed as law but has not been followed through on by the U.S. General Service Administration. This bill was intended to have Government Facility Managers utilize existing industry certifications that we (IFMA) know have impact and have improved building performances and values in our private sector industries. Our goal was to share with our constituents the benefits of the CFM and similar training offered by IFMA and how it would pay for itself through the overall O&M cost of running buildings across America and the value of following the industry standards already in place.

This year IFMA was joined by industry partners including the American Institute of Architects, ASHRAE, International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, International Code Council, National Electrical Manufacturers Association, National Institute of Building Services and U.S. Green Building Council in supporting the proposed legislation, which will now make its way to the U.S. Senate.

During our two day event we have the pressure of meeting some amazing speakers who shared in their support of our organization and the bills mentioned above. The speakers where:

  • Marc Liciardello, Chair and CEO of IFMA
  • Lynda Stanley, Executive Director, Federal Facilities Council (FFC)
  • Congressman Pete Sessions ( R-TX-23), House Rules Committee
  • Kevin Kampshroer, Federal Director, Office of Federal High – Performance Green Buildings, General Services Administrator
  • Congressman Jeff Denham (R_CA_19th), Chair, Public Buildings Sub-Committee, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
  • Congressman Dennis Rehberg, (R-MT-AL), House Appropriations Committee
  • Just to name a few

Our final day was spent meeting with different Republicans and Senators staff members to share our message about IFMA and the benefits of the bills that I mentioned above. We talked about who we are individually in our industries and the benefits of IFMA and why we were in Washington for Advocacy Day.

We shared that IFMA is the world’s largest and most widely recognized international association for professional facility managers, supporting more than 22,655 members in 78 countries. And that the association’s members, represented in 127 chapters and 16 councils worldwide, manage more than 37 billion square feet of property and annually purchase more than US$100 billion in products and services. We shared that we formed in 1980; IFMA certifies facility managers, conducts research, provides educational programs and produces World Workplace, the world’s largest facility management conference and exposition.

My experience from these last two years on IFMA Advocacy Day has been an experience of a lifetime and has brought to the forefront the benefits that IFMA helps to impact government policy for our profession and to share the benefits with our Government Facility Managers.