Although he has accrued more than 20 years of experience in administrative services, facilities management, and property management, Matt Kelly, manager, Corporate Real Properties, at McLean, VA-based Freddie Mac, attributes his professional success to the two resources he values most:
“First, I have an excellent staff; motivated people who are highly trained in a number of different disciplines so they’re able to cross typical boundaries and get things done. They’re the Navy Seals of facilities management – they can do it all,” he explains.
“The other tool is less tangible, but I would say communications – be it face-to-face, the written word, or e-mail,” he continues, noting the importance of “being able to communicate financially how we’re doing; sharing customer service feedback and ratings; or explaining technical situations or problems to a wide variety of audiences.”
Kelly knows what he wants and directs it with a clear-sighted vision: to deliver an optimal working environment to the valued employees of this Fortune 50 company. “We place a high priority on the overall well-being of our employees,” he says. “That’s an important part of the Freddie Mac corporate culture.” Twelve properties, primarily in the northern Virginia/Washington, D.C. metro area, range from warehouses to mission-critical data centers to corporate headquarters. “It’s a diverse portfolio,” says Kelly, “but the common denominator is that it’s a corporate portfolio and our role is to support the mission of Freddie Mac. We treat our buildings as long-term assets, and make our decisions based accordingly.”
In keeping with a best practices philosophy, the staff of 17 within Corporate Real Properties adroitly manages these facilities, providing value-added oversight when specialized activities are outsourced. Approximately 18 months ago, a dedicated group – Technical Services – was created from the Corporate Real Properties’ building engineering team to focus on the tremendous growth in IT, as well as such unique areas as Freddie Mac’s cafeteria and fitness center functions. Here, in advising his team – or his industry peers – Kelly focuses on the three “F’s”. “Be Flexible. Plan for Fast response. And exercise Financial awareness,” he says.
The constant state of change keeps the job interesting and exciting, says Kelly, noting ruefully, however, that “the measure of our success is often that people really don’t notice we’re in the buildings. If everything works properly, then we’re doing a fine job.”
In breaking the typical FM mold, Kelly’s team has branched out to its internal customers, working in such creative synergies as brown-bag lunches that partner in-house expertise with that of external contractors. The company’s educational sessions on gardening “are always a sell-out,” says Kelly. More recently, Administration and Corporate Real Properties completed a patriot memorial garden – “a quiet, peaceful area for folks that want to reflect,” according to Kelly.
Customer focus. Initiative. Imagination. Accountability. Kelly and his team – truly consummate facilities professionals – appear to be able to make it all happen. More importantly, they make it seem so natural.
Linda K. Monroe (firstname.lastname@example.org) is editorial director at Buildings magazine.