Barbara M. Quintana - Vice President, General Manager, Bank One Plaza, Jones Lang Lasalle, Chicago

Dec. 3, 2001
A Day in the Life of a Facility Manager - Part 4 of 9

Barbara M. Quintana may very well be the reason that Boss' Day became a Hallmark holiday. As VP, general manager of Bank One Plaza, with Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Quintana has made a career of managing both people and places. With 14 years of experience in real estate, she is one of management firm Jones Lang LaSalle's great assets - a hard-working woman dedicated to maximizing the value of a property while respecting both her clients and the professionals she supervises. "We've been very fortunate in being able to establish a successful partnership between Jones Lang LaSalle and Bank One where we're providing them a number of integrated services," she explains.

At over 2 million square feet gross, Bank One Plaza in Chicago is currently 50-percent occupied by Bank One and 50-percent occupied by third-party tenants. According to Quintana, "One of the unique things about this building and this assignment is that it is part facility management and part asset management." High-profile third-party tenants, such as Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, one of the largest law firms in the country; McKensey & Company, an international consulting company; and Exelon, formerly known as ComEd, require that Quintana and her team of more than 35 individuals put the "manage" in facility management. "Overall, my responsibility is to supervise a team of professionals that take care of the day-to-day management of the facility," she says.

Quintana celebrates not only her own personal and professional successes, but also the achievement of colleagues - the mark of a true manager. "I've worked with people and found out later that they've reached a certain level or gotten a certain assignment. And that for me is a career highlight - because I know that I worked with that person and hope that in some way, shape, or form I helped them," she says.

Like most facilities professionals, Quintana was drawn to the diversity of the profession. "I like that one hour you're crunching numbers, the next hour you're putting together a press release, and the next hour you're reviewing a contract. It just requires so many skills - it's really hard to get stale."

With fearless ambition, she faces challenges with hard work and determination - a strategy that has resulted in knowledge and success. Her vita reveals two years of experience in real estate development, and 12 years in management - half of which were spent on the asset management side. "The switch from asset management to facility management has brought a whole new set of challenges to the table," she notes. "I was used to dealing with an owner that was in the Netherlands, or in New York, or on the West Coast. Being on a facility assignment is considerably different, because not only do you have your client right there just a couple floors away, there are so many employees of that client in the building itself that present another challenge."

The management philosophy employed by Quintana is all about balance. "Even though we all enjoy what we do, what keeps us enjoying that is having a life outside of it," she says, explaining that it's about "finding something else to be enthusiastic and passionate about to give you a release."

Up Close and Personal

Barbara, what challenges do you anticipate in the coming year?
One of the biggest challenges going forward is managing the need for increased security, [knowing] just how far to go, and trying to keep that level of vigilance up as time goes on. I think people will relax - and it's our responsibility to not relax on that front.

What types of books do you enjoy?
Books for me are an escape, so I pick thrillers and suspense novels to take me away from the day-to-day.

What are some of your pastimes?
I enjoy all sorts of professional sports, music, and dance. I'm also on the board of an organization called Latin Women In Action that provides services to women and families in the Pilson community.

If you weren't in your current position, what alternative occupation would you choose?
Criminal profiler.

What is your most important tool?
Electronically, my most important tool is my palm pilot. Non-electronically, the most important "tool" I have is my management staff. They are the key people who keep me going in the right direction, and on whom I rely a great deal.

What is your personal motto?
Everyone has a choice - always. One of my hot buttons is when someone says "What choice did I have?," "I don't have a choice," or "I had to." There is always a choice. I think when you recognize that and you're honest about it, it's easier to take responsibility for those choices.

If you could meet anyone, who would it be?
Joe Torre, manager of the New York Yankees; Amalia Betanzos, president and CEO of New York City-based Wildcat Services Corp., one of the most successful alternative high schools in the country; and Oprah Winfrey.

Jana J. Madsen ([email protected]) is senior associate editor at Buildings magazine.

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