The University of Iowa Facilities Management
Iowa City, IA
One of the Big Ten players in collegiate athletics is also among the Top 10 industry leaders in this year’s A List report. Facilities management (FM) at The University of Iowa (UI) has adopted a practice of championing innovative projects and processes, as well as recognizing and rewarding innovative efforts. This new way of thinking has been formalized in the FM Strategic Initiatives set forth in 2004 to support facilities management’s vision: “Always there, always the best.” And, it’s accomplishing this feat with 15.7 million square feet in its 267 educational buildings throughout campus.
Why does this relatively small (within this report) organization merit this recognition? Simply stated, it doesn’t think small. Just take a look at its stand-out accomplishments in 2006 so far.
The Campus Master Plan, released in early April, offers a fresh perspective on how the school is responding to increasing academic and research demands while preserving the unique identity and beauty of the physical environment. The Campus Master Plan is a collaborative process involving a broad spectrum of campus leaders.
Additionally, The University of Iowa Energy Conservation Initiatives build on the UI’s environmental portfolio by expanding its renewable energy options while focusing on conservation and building-system efficiencies. Last year, Buildings introduced The University of Iowa as an emerging leader in renewable-energy strategies and sustainability practices with its Biomass Fuel Project. From such renewable fuels to sustainable design and the exploration of wind power, the UI is pioneering the way toward an energy-independent future. The added bonus: Efforts are uniquely contributed to by student initiatives and involvement. Concurrently, the State of Iowa and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources recognized facilities management for Environmental Excellence and Leadership because of its participation in “The Pollution Prevention Intern Program.” Throughout this year, interns from Mexico and Chile have collected and analyzed UI building energy-audit data; knowledge gained from this endeavor may help them find solutions to local energy issues when they return home.
In addition to other initiatives, including building commissioning and communications outreach, facilities management at the UI has committed resources, education, and training to promote and support a safe working environment as part of the goal of becoming a “workplace of choice.” In January 2006, a new safety program - Route 66 - was put in place to change the way FM staff members think about working safely. It also built upon lessons learned by hosting its second Safety Best Practices Conference, which recognizes organizations in Iowa whose best practices in safety can be shared among businesses, business agents and associations, regulators, and university staff who are interested in adopting and sustaining such practices.
These professionals in America’s heartland are bringing their academic expertise to the real world.