Letter from the President (November 2014)

Joseph Geierman HeadshotMy career has probably been like that of many FMs.  I didn’t know I wanted to be a Facility Manager when I started working – I discovered the field by accident, and began working my way up the ladder to my current position.  Along the way, I went back to school, got certifications, and developed a strong network within the field.  It’s been a great ride, and I’m glad this is the path I took – it was not planned at all, however, and my life could have gone in several other directions very easily.

One of IFMA’s goals has been to professionalize the Facility Management industry.  That means having fewer people who accidentally fall into FM, and more instances where young people make a conscious decision to choose this path (and therefore, who are more prepared for it).  To that end, they’ve supported the development of Facility Management programs at many universities across the country.  Programs like the ones at Southern Poly and at Georgia Tech (which I graduated from in ’09)

These programs are supposed to create the next generation of leaders within our profession.  The challenge is getting those future leaders from graduation to FM jobs.  Several of the young people who come out of these programs have no practical experience in Facilities.  They may be too qualified for the kind of low level job I started out with, but under-qualified for a full fledged FM job.  They may also not have the kind of networking skills needed to find jobs in the “hidden job market.”

As a chapter, I want us to help the people graduating from these programs find career paths within our profession.  To that end, I want to encourage you to become a mentor.  I think that’s an intimidating term, but what it really means is being willing to share a small bit of your time to talk about your career and help give these people some direction.  Are you willing to meet with a student for 30 minutes to critique her resume, tell her about your day-to-day responsibilities, or suggest other people in the industry who she should talk to?  It really doesn’t take a lot of effort, but could have a big impact on the student’s career.

If you’re interested in acting as a mentor, or want to get involved with student outreach in some other way, please contact me at joseph@ifmaatlanta.org.