Becky Hanner: Tackling Green Means Fostering Talent

April 1, 2008

Portfolio: My office handles 4.5 million square feet of office, medical, industrial, flex and retail space.

Challenge: Colliers Pinkard is a Baltimore, Maryland based third party commercial real estate firm offering a full array of real estate services, including property management services. I run the Property Management Department for the Raleigh office. One of my primary focuses is new business development.

Our biggest challenge? Digestion! The learning curve is great for many of us in implementing green and sustainable practices in our buildings. How do you know that "green" product really IS green? Where does your recycling really go? What additional water conservation measures can be taken in our buildings, especially with severe drought areas like the South? What are acceptable options for treating expenses incurred to reduce energy costs in a building when it will affect base year expenses? The list goes on.

Another focus is finding talent. Our employment pool is getting slimmer and slimmer. The good prospective employees are demanding fewer hours and greater pay. We look at different avenues to find prospective employees, however this continues to be a challenge.

Strategy: I find our most effective strategy is to take small bites. The enormity of this green theme is much easier if sliced in sections and tackled piece by piece. Each member of my team focuses on certain initiatives. For example, one team member focuses time and research on construction recycling, one on water conservation, another on reading energy bills. This allows each of us to focus on one piece of the puzzle and educate the others in the group, so we aren't being redundant and can make better headway. Our entire team takes the BOMA Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP) courses and takes advantage of other educational opportunities, as well.

My primary strategy for the talent issue is employee retention. Each member is a true asset to the team. We foster talent through continued education and a visual career path. The culture we've created here makes finding new talent easier—prospective future team members want to be valued and this is a place where everyone is valued.

Conference Perspective: Since education is so important to us, attending the BOMA International Conference and The Office Building Show just makes sense. And education is not the only thing we gain. We learn new ideas, build relationships with expert exhibitors at The Office Building Show, see all the latest products and technologies, discuss best practices, get validation from our peers who can help us evaluate new ideas we've implemented, network with future clients, meet potential employees, develop leadership strategies, and share ideas with others who face the same challenges.

When I've attended in the past, I've met owner representatives who have provided me the opportunity to quote on new business with success. I have forged relationships with exhibitors who provide excellent service at very competitive prices. And, I have met rising stars who we've brought in for various positions within the company. It's also a great opportunity to tap into the BOMA network—there's no better avenue for leadership training than serving on a committee and participating in BOMA.

Where else can you go to see new products and services, have face time with the industry's top suppliers, get the best of the best in educational programs, find out industry trends, and have an open exchange of information?  Attending enables us to raise the quality of our service another notch and helps us retain an edge in the market.

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