Industry Ambassadors To China, International Facilities Management, Washington DC Newsletter
invited a group of over 30 US and international facility One of the highlights of the trip in my mind was the tour ofmanagers, consultants, owners, architects, and industry the Shanghai Pu Nan Hospital. The staff leadership gave uspartners to travel to China to meet with our facility a tour that encompassed everything from patient rooms to thecounterparts in that country. The US industry delegation, basement to the power plant. For more than three hours afterwhich was headed up by Teena Shouse, an ARAMARK vice that, we sat down to exchange information and ideas andpresident and former board chair of IFMA, represented well ask questions. Tina Shouse talked about the value of planning and the relationship between facility owners and support providers. One of our delegation members from Harvard Medical School shared the importance of the medical staff being involved in facility planning. Others explained why “green” products are vital in a hospital setting. It was the most personal connection of the trip, and when we left, the staff walked us to our bus and waved goodbye. Our entire delegation felt this to be one of the most productive events during our time there. Another highlight of the trip was the chance to see the 2008 Beijing Olympics facilities under construction. The pace and volume of activities and the sense that this was a chance for China to be on the main stage of over 200 million square feet of space from a wide the world in 2008 was evident everywhere. It seemed like avariety of industry segments. Included in the group were city within a city was being built by sheer willpower andrepresentatives from Harvard Medical School, Turner might. The theme of the 2008 Olympics is “One World, OneBroadcasting, Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Broward Dream,” and the whole country was in full swing to show itsCounty Public Schools, Clay County Missouri, Lincoln unity and vision to the global stage in 2008. The “birds-nest”Military Housing, Qualcomm, the Department of Energy and stadium at the heart of the Olympics was amazing and whenothers from governmental agencies from the Netherlands, completed, it will be the largest stadium in the world.Bermuda and Canada. I had the pleasure of being a Key Thoughts:participant of this delegation. Facility management is a relatively new concept to theIt was a chance to not only learn and see how the Chinese Chinese. It was evident that there’s recent revelation thatlook at facility management practices, but it allowed for in- there is direct value in the quality and proactive maintenance depth, broad and up-keep of facilities to the long-term return on the conversations on investment into buildings and facilities. The idea of the US practices, lifetime value and the lifecycle of a building are new. trends, and challenges as well among all the delegates. We visited a variety of facilities in cities within mainland China, includingBeijing, Nanjing, and Shanghai. Facilities visited included ahospital, a petrochemical plant, high tech offices,commercial concerns, a bottling plant, historical sites,hospitality and hotel venues, and more.
Facility management as a career is new as well. Specialized price, but that two parties can work together toward askills and training for those leading and driving the facilities common goal, and that once established these relationshipsis new and in high demand and regard. are long-term.There is passionate interest by the Chinese in anything There is great openness among Chinese facility professionalsdealing with technology and facility development, to new ideas, approaches, and thinking. Also very directmanagement, and improvement. I had a sense our Chinese and open dialogue on the history of China, the governmentcounterparts were more knowledgeable or driven to learn (good and bad), and the freedom to speak and travel freely.about technologies and how these technologies can aid the It was refreshing to discover the Chinese have a good sensefacility than we were. of humor and are very down-to-earth.Safety and employee health concerns are developing and The future of facility management in China is taking shapetaking shape in China. While not at the same levels and now. There’s an understanding that facilities have strategicstandards as the US, the fact is Chinese facility leaders meaning to a business.understand this and are taking steps towards improving This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the people of thisthese areas. amazing culture and how discover how they think from theSustainability and green facilities are of great interest. There inside out. The demands of facility professionals are similaris a push underway in China to find out any and all things all over the world; this was confirmed in every interaction.dealing with sustainability and green practices. There was a The singular focus of facilities performance forged a clearsense that the difference between the US delegates and our understanding that we are, in a very real sense, oneChinese counterparts was that for the US people it is a industry. We all came back with a renewed sense ofpassion, almost a drive that is personal and visionary, while purpose that America is setting the vision and direction forfor the Chinese it was more of a business, more calculated the facility management industry globally. We have anand driven logically. increased responsibility to share, communicate, and demonstrate this leadership here in the US as well asAll business in China is based on relationships. The ability to globally.do work in the country requires knowing people, customs,and how the Chinese think. It is not so much about brand or David Carrithers is VP of Marketing for Centennial Contractors Enterprises, Inc. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Page 6