Professionals Over the Years

June 5, 2006

Halfway through its 100th-anniversary celebration, Buildings reviews some of the highlights of its coverage about the ever-changing profession of building ownership and facilities management over the years:

March 1906 (published as The Building Manager and Owner): “Before the days of the steel-frame building, the management of office building properties was no great task. The buildings were all comparatively low and the problems of operation simple. ... However, the erection of the first steel-frame building brought a change, which became more marked with every added year. The management of an office property is no longer an incidental part of a real estate man’s activities. ... The business of running an office building of any size is in itself a big job, and is too important and engrossing to be undertaken by any one who cannot give all or a very large portion of his time to it. ... How much greater is the need for an organization among building managers, who represent immense sums of invested capital and have many intricate and important questions constantly before them for decision, on which co-operation would be a great help? The advantage of co-operation and organization is determined, in great part, by the value of the interests represented.” This article - and many others throughout Buildings’ first year of operation - championed a united association, which came to pass as the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Intl. a year later (in 1907).

April 1974: “Management should utilize all available resources to maximize efficiency and, in addition, should keep informed of new materials, methods, and technologies. ... Management must train, guide, and motivate employees, not only to perform economically and efficiently, but also to help in devising more efficient methods of operation.” This article pointed to the importance of continuing education to the profession, as well as the growing recognition of the influence of the work environment on employee productivity.

January 1997: “There’s more to education than classrooms. In fact, buildings professionals often credit the ‘school of hard knocks’ for their success. ... Professionals employ different techniques of learning, techniques that can be categorized into the following: the Communicator, who talks to colleagues and competitors alike; the Discoverer, who makes an art of imitating successful social techniques; the Goal-setter, who carefully sets a goal and gains the experience and classes to fulfill it; and the Participator, who focuses on active association involvement and continuing education.” This article cited the diverse avenues available at the time in gaining theoretical knowledge and real-world experience to grow within the profession.

2006 (and beyond): What’s your take on the profession? I’d like to share your thoughts with your industry peers. Contact me at ([email protected]).

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