With a more than 20-year history of facilities-related responsibilities, Gary L. Nosek, facilities/maintenance director at Cedar Rapids, IA-based Gazette Communications, is intent on creating, developing, and maintaining a working environment that allows the company’s 750 employees to best do their jobs. Just as these workers disseminate information via a range of multi-media products – newspapers, shoppers, publications, websites, audiotex services, radio, television, and software development – Nosek employs his talents as a communicator to manage and motivate external and internal resources to ensure the company receives value and expectations are met. “When I talk to vendors, I express to them that I look for value,” he explains, “and I question whether or not they provide it.”
Nosek defines value as three elements: “Quality, price, and delivery,” he says. “Sometimes, we throw in service. Different commodities have different weights among those three. For a newspaper, for instance, delivery is key. Although, as a company, we want the paper to have all the things that we think are best quality-wise, if it’s not delivered on time, our customer is not happy and price and quality become meaningless.”
No stranger to the 24/7 operations indicative of a communications company (formerly, Nosek provided his facilities expertise to a global aviation electronics corporation), his most valuable resources are “time, people, and talent. And,” he adds, “I cherish effort!” Flexibility among his staff of top performers means shifting resources between in-house personnel and outsourced contractors as jobs and time demand. Although security, electrical, and housekeeping duties are outsourced, the complexity and broad base of systems and processes vs. available personnel abilities are continually addressed and adapted to keep response times minimal. “If it has to do with production or safety, however, that’s critical,” says Nosek.
In addition to maintaining and protecting the company’s properties and assets, Nosek must develop and manage a fiscal budget that supports company goals, both expense and capital. “Recently, I have had the opportunity to buy what’s called ‘new used furniture,’” he notes. “Wonderful value; it’s been an amazing success. In addition to meeting our immediate needs both quickly and inexpensively, it’s an excellent way to experiment and learn about different systems and how they work in various settings.”
In this and in every aspect of his operations, Nosek strives for “happy solutions.” He considers fixing problems reactive, tending instead to take the proactive stance of eliminating the cause. “Make sure ample time has been spent on identifying the problem,” he cautions. “Too often, people are quick to achieve a solution without really knowing the cause.”
His biggest challenges? “Balancing facility needs with economic conditions,” he says. “As facilities get older, deferring is a tough and sometimes necessary strategy.
“Change is critical in any business to remain competitive,” continues Nosek. “A lot of people prefer not to change; they seem to prefer status quo because it’s easy and comfortable. So, how do you energize people to understand the value of change? Improvements are the result of change; if you cannot change, you cannot improve.”
He offers this advice to his peers: “Our jobs often penalize us for being gone (i.e., vacation, etc.). When we return, we need a lot of time to get unburied. If we don’t take time away, we start to slow down. Make sure you take time for yourself to get re-energized. It’s the healthy thing to do. This took a long time for me to realize. If you have resources to mentor for your job … do it!”
Linda K. Monroe (firstname.lastname@example.org) is editorial director at Buildings magazine.