Kit McPhail-Bowman: Optimizing Technology is Key to Continued Success

April 1, 2008
Industry events give Kit McPahil-Bowman knowledge of the latest technologies, new products, and techniques that are key to tenant buy-in

Portfolio: Approximately 1.3 million square feet including a 56 story office tower, Republic Plaza, the tallest in Denver, a retail building, a food court, a 1,250 space parking garage and some other small properties.

Challenge: The challenges we face and will continue to face is to maintain operating expenses at a competitive level while maintaining the first-class service that our tenants have come to expect.We continue to face increases in property tax cost, insurance cost, energy costs and labor costs. In addition, we face the challenge of continuing to green the building in partnership with our tenants.

Preserving the first class service and enhancing the value of the asset is always a top priority for Brookfield, and as general manager of a Denver landmark, that means continuing to achieve the highest level of building performance is my top priority.

Strategy: Regarding sustainability, Republic Plaza's procedures, technology, training and commitment are integral to the successful reduction of energy use and cost. The ownership and management of Republic Plaza have been relatively unchanged for more than 20 years, and the senior engineering staff has been with the building since its construction began in 1981. The state-of the art (for the time) energy management equipment and procedures put in place initially have been updated and improved upon throughout the life of the building, largely due to the long-term experience and commitment of these staff members and the support of Brookfield Properties.

Optimizing technology is the key to improving efficiency and providing our staff with the tools they need to meet their goals. Each team member is integral to our performance. Identifying and implementing tools that can actually help them save time and be more productive is critical. Knowledge of the latest technologies has allowed Brookfield to proactively maintain the value of its properties throughout the country. New products and techniques are also key to tenant buyin and participation for earth-friendly practices.

We've also participated in several awards programs as a way to keep our competitive edge. Republic Plaza has been very successful in the TOBY (The Office Building of the Year) and Earth Awards programs that culminate at the BOMA International Conference. We've won the local TOBY in 1991, 1995 and 2004, the Midwest/Northern Regional TOBY in 2004, the International TOBY in 2004/2005, and most recently, the BOMA/Denver Metro Earth Award in 2007.

Conference Perspective: Over the years, attending the BOMA International Conference and The Office Building Show has helped us uncover and understand how to implement the latest technologies and products. Being there also gives us access to our contemporaries who have experienced the pros and cons of the new technologies first-hand. Together, we share our knowledge, sparking creative ideas that help us continue to achieve our goals.

This year's program—focusing more on greening and adding value in existing buildings—is especially compelling. This conference always has expert speakers and inspiring keynotes, and now the five new education tracks will help us zero in on a gold mine of information in one location in a short period of time.

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