‘OJ’ Careers & Jobs (#7 ; Fri 27th April 2012)

Hello,

A different post this time – if you want to read the previous 6, click here to see the usual format.

This is a bit of a whinge actually! Or, perhaps, just an observation on the lack of awareness of the power, speed (and hence value) of social media, especially Linkedin Groups.

We have around 2,200 members now on our Linkedin Group called “Careers & Jobs (Open) CRE & Facilities Management”. And we are slowly growing, at around 50-100 people a week, after the initial fast start. The link is here: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=4269106 .

Recruiters & Head-hunters

Whilst many recruiters have their own Linkedin groups, to ‘sell’ their job opportunities, this group is independent, under the ‘OJ’ http://occupiersjournal.com. (Do sign up on the website to receive our Newsletter and occasional papers). We hoped that any and all recruitment and head-hunting firms would use this open group, and post vacancies to the ‘Jobs’ section. Many of you have, so thankyou for that.

But, I have to say, I also thought that recruitment firms would want to take the opportunity, as the Linkedin group grows, to publicise their company profile, and maybe give greater exposure to some key opportunities that they have available.

I have had plenty of emails from job seekers saying ‘great idea – like the group’ or words to that effect. But, hardly a word from the recruiters amongst you….

Why is that? Is it because we suggested a “small charge” for this publicity? (and I did mean “small”). I guess so – yet surely social media (and particularly well managed Linkedin groups) are far better avenues for advertising expenditure than sticking ads in magazines, which often don’t get read (or if they do, by the time they are printed they are well out of date).

Social media has changed the world of marketing and advertising forever – and largely for good, especially for urgent needs such as some advertised roles that I have seen recently. It is fast, and direct, and the mailing list is self-cleansing! (i.e., you all update your own email on Linkedin when you move jobs, etc….most emailing lists are largely out-of-date most of the time!…..not with Linkedin).

So I’m wondering why the recruiters amongst you are not beating down my door (OK, email) to say “we’ll pay you £x if you write about us, ABC Ltd, on your blog, and send it to your network of c.30,000 workplace/FM professionals around the world….” Maybe the advertising sales people in the Trade Journals offer better hospitality….?? They don’t offer better value…….

Here’s hoping I hear from some of you lovely recruiters 🙂

Paul

paul.carder@occupiersjournal.com

+44(0)7970 406477

Cambridgeshire, UK

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Is your ‘benchmarking’ actually adding value? It should be by now!

Your current benchmarking….

If you are involved in corporate real estate (CRE) or facilities / workplace management, you are probably involved in benchmarking of space use and occupancy cost at the moment. Probably also environmental data, such as energy use and costs, and wider reporting on other sustainability measures. You may be using a specialist databank or benchmarking company. Or you may be working with other companies in an informal group.

We (at Occupiers Journal limited that is) have invested time in creating a discussion around this subject on Linkedin, called ‘OJ’ occupier benchmarking & data publishing. It is part of our ‘Open’ Group.

The discussion has taken off, with many of the leading benchmarking organisations (and key individual experts) now taking part. Roger de Boehmler, former Director-General of PISCES (now part of OSCRE, the International Open Standards Consortium for Real Estate, the only global e-commerce standards body for real estate) is now working with us as Project Director.

Therefore, as this discussion and ‘programme’ starts to take shape, I wanted to throw in some points to think about…

TIP#1 – What is a “benchmark”, and what is an “average”?

Many groups get this wrong! You may be working with one. Even specialist benchmarking providers misrepresent the difference between a “benchmark” and an average.

A “benchmark” should be exactly that – a mark on the ‘bench’ to show best practice, or best achievable. It should not be just the ‘mean’ or ‘median’ or some other average of a set of numbers. What does that tell you?? Do you aim to be ‘average’??

You should be getting told by your benchmarking provider, what their view is of ‘best practice’, and where you are against this measure. If they are also consultants (as many are) they will probably also be advising you on how to address any ‘gaps’ between where you are now and where you want to be.

TIP#2 – “What” is a start; “Why?” is more useful – quite often a question NOT asked!

Anyone can take a bunch of numbers, put them in a database, and tell you where your ‘numbers’ are against a wider group. Thats the “what”, and it doesn’t tell you much of value….

Your benchmarking group is not being useful unless it can explain “why” one company has achieved figures that appear to be better than the others.

Sadly, I have seen this situation NOT improve for almost two decades now! Why? Because every benchmarking group, or assignment, spends 90%+ of its time getting reasonable comparative data, and only whatever time is left (usually very little) on getting to the real kernel of ‘WHY?’ and ‘HOW?’…the real best practice questions that will help an organisation to actually improve.

One of the key reasons why we have started the ONE database programme. And the reason that we think it will get driven to a successful conclusion – where we can all get access to reasonably good quality data, and spend our time on analysis not on chasing data!

TIP#3 – Don’t accept the benchmarker’s phrase – “this could be because….”

That’s code for “we don’t know, but we guess that….”

Make them work harder to find the answers, not simple assumptions. Its all down to the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ questions above.

Some other serious points for you to challenge:

  1. The drivers of effectiveness (and even efficiency) for office facilities have changed….but many benchmarking groups have not kept pace. The key issue is that space is not used ‘9-5’, or by staff only, or on a ‘one person one desk’ ratio. To measure the effectiveness of office buildings today, we must take account of the Desk Share Ratio (DSR), where DSR= # of people using space / # of useable workspaces;
  2. The DSR measure necessitates understanding how many people use the space in each office, for how long, and how many useable workspaces are there, and how are they used. How does your benchmarking provider deal with this in their data analysis?
  3. We all know that it takes time, and ‘triangulation’ of several bits of data, to work out how many people actually use each building, how frequently, and for how long when they do use it (i.e., quick visit, in for a meeting, or ‘camp down’ for 10 hours?). Are you all doing this consistently?
  4. Many benchmarking groups use measures of “xyz per FTE”, to show “per capita” use of space and facilities. What is the FTE figure? Is it how many people are allocated to use the building (i.e., that is their base)? Or is it an assumption based on number of workstations? Or is it the actual average occupancy on a daily basis? This can vary by 100% or more! Here’s why: at a DSR of 1.2, you could have 6,000 people using 5,000 workstations, but the building average occupancy at say 60%, means 3,000 people use the space daily…6,000 people, 5,000 workstations, or 3,000 average users??
  5. “Cost per FTE” may be accurate in terms of the ‘numerator’ (cost), but can vary massively due to the ‘denominator’ (FTE), due to the later point.
  6. “Sq.m. per FTE” varies on the same basis….!
  7. “Sq.m. per Workstation? OK, as long as everyone is measuring space in the same way, that could be relatively accurate. But, is Sq.M per Workstation very relevant to a mobile workforce such as accountants and consultants? I’d rather have Auditors using comfortable productive space at 12 sq.m. per workstation, at a DSR of 2 or 3, than I would have then crammed into 9.5 sq.m. per workstation with no desk-sharing….size of workstation doesn’t matter, it’s what you do with it!
  8. “Cost per sq.m.” can be fairly accurate and comparable, if you work hard enough at it. But again, I would rather have a high “cost per sq.m.” office being operated over say 12 hours per day, with high levels of desk-sharing and high utilisation of meeting rooms and other spaces, than I would have a low cost building, occupied 9-5 on a DSR of <1, with poorly managed meeting and break-out spaces….

There’s more….we haven’t even got into “service levels versus cost” for each FM service line….! But that will do for now…

I hope this provides some useful material with which to challenge your 2012 benchmarking.

And suffice to say, if you want to do ‘proper’ benchmarking, and want to take these points and others into account, feel free to drop me a line at the email address below. Perhaps we should set up a special purpose company….”The Really Useful Benchmarking Company”, if Andrew Lloyd-Webber has no objections!

Contact me to talk about benchmarking anytime – it IS useful, if it is done properly: paul.carder@occupiersjournal.com

skype: paul.carder.uk

‘OJ’ Careers & Jobs (#6 ; 13th April 2012)

Hi,

I hope you all had a great Easter weekend wherever you are/were in the world. I have given up trying to write this blog weekly, every Friday. But I hope you’ll accept “almost every Friday” as good enough. Unless of course someone out there wishes to sponsor the blog?? Then, of course, it will get done…. 🙂

Now two months in, we are well over 2,100 members on our Linkedin Group called “Careers & Jobs (Open) CRE & Facilities Management”. Adding around 100 people a week, after the initial fast start. The link is here: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=4269106 . You can read more on the first week’s blog: http://alturl.com/qmsso

Recruiters & Head-hunters

This group is independent, under the ‘OJ’ http://occupiersjournal.com. Do sign up on the website to receive our Newsletter and occasional papers. We hope that any and all recruitment and head-hunting firms will use the group, and post vacancies to the ‘Jobs’ section. Many of you have, so thankyou for that. Anyone is welcome, and feel free to ‘advertise’ yourselves on the “Discussions” section.

These people posted Jobs discussions this week (I will expand this list over the next few weeks, into a global list of recruiters, and save it on my shared ‘Box’ folder: https://www.box.net/shared/bxrprfdfr7 ). For now, here are this week’s new recruiters (new to us anyway) in the order in which they posted. The full list is at the END.

Coleen Cloherty, http://www.linkedin.com/pub/coleen-cloherty/1/89b/20 London , UK

Richard Whitfield, http://www.linkedin.com/in/richardwhitfieldinterserve , Warwickshire, UK

Elinore Minskey, http://www.linkedin.com/pub/elinore-minskey/4b/517/739 , Tennessee, USA

Alex Morris, http://www.linkedin.com/in/mralexmorris , Godalming, Surrey, UK

Michael Herman, http://www.linkedin.com/in/mikeherman123 , Washington DC, USA

Featured Recruiter this week

I have been adding a “top recruiter” in past weeks, on the basis of who posts the most jobs to the Linkedin group. But, as it keeps going to Rebecca Worley, and would AGAIN!, I have had to change tack….sorry Rebecca, but keep ‘em coming. Closely followed by Nikki Dallas of @TalentFM ; yes we’re all on Twitter these days, aren’t we?

Twitter is a great resource, especially if you are job hunting. Look up the links below on Linkedin, and most recruiters also have their twitter name on their profile. Even if you only follow them, and nobody else, you will at least stay ahead of the jobs available, and get the chance to get your CV in early!

This week I’ll give a special mention to Alex Morris, Global Sales Director at Berry Technical (UK), which now includes Cerebra. Alex founded Cerebra, which last year was merged into Berry Technical. He has been in recruitment in the Building Services/FM sector for many years, across Europe:

 Alex has been recruiting Senior level FM positions internationally for the last 16 years. Currently working for many blue chip companies globally. Experience in recruiting FM – Facility Director/ Board level positions

Top jobs this week (around the globe!)

If you go to the Linkedin group and click on Jobs you will see there are 33 jobs shared to the group, and 17 job discussions. There are more jobs if you click on Linkedin’s Jobs Home. But lets look at those on our ‘OJ’ group….

There are CRE & FM management roles posted in London, Prague, Brunei, Ohio (USA), Bangalore, Alabama (USA), Sao Paulo, California (USA), Cambridge (UK), Toronto….and more!

Unisys are looking for an APAC Director – Real Estate & Facilities in Sydney. I’d have to pick that as the top job this week! Living in Sydney, travelling across APAC, and working for a global information technology company.

Last week I said “hopefully we will go wider still in month 3…? India maybe….”, and of course we have. There is a Manager – Real Estate & Workplace required for vmware in Bangalore.

Johnson Controls are recruiting for many UK roles, but I noticed with interest their opportunity in Sao Paulo. As with India, covered last week, Latin America is seeing a growing need for CRE & FM management roles.

Top Discussions:

We had some interesting ‘Discussions’ (see the Discussions tab) over the last two weeks. I don’t have time to cover them all, but here is one: http://lnkd.in/PM9XPh; what I picked up here is that internal referrals are key! So get connected to people on Linkedin, and they may refer you to their HR department – remembering of course that many companies give staff a bonus for introductions, so don’t be shy! You may be doing each other a favour….

Working @

I have not had time to write another “Working@” this week, but will do as we had great feedback on the last one by Simon Beck, on “A Facilities Manager’s Life in Angola”: http://paulcarder.com/2012/03/09/a-facilities-managers-life-in-angola-southern-africa-by-simon-beck/ .

If you would like to write a similar article, for Working @ your company, drop me a line at the email below. Thanks.

That’s all folks for this week, but subscribe to this blog and receive the update every Friday….

Have a great weekend, and if you are job-hunting, good luck,

Paul Carder (paul.carder@occupiersjournal.com)

Twitter @occupiers and @paulcarder

RECRUITERS (alphabetically)

Simon Aspinall: http://www.linkedin.com/in/simonaspinallcatch22 , Leeds, UK

Melissa Baxter http://www.linkedin.com/pub/melissa-baxter/18/555/b64 London, UK

Meghan Blankenship http://www.linkedin.com/pub/meghan-blankenship/5/9a5/634 Austin, TX, USA

John Bruno: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/john-bruno/16/402/7a6 , LA, CA, United States

Douglas Carrick: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/douglas-carrick/41/886/630 , London, UK

Jo Caughey: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jcaughey , Birmingham, UK

Jaime Cheng: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jaime-cheng/38/568/230 , Hong Kong

Nikki Dallas: http://www.linkedin.com/in/nikkidallas , London, UK

Bob DiSanto, Detroit, US

Kristin Erdmann: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kristinerdmann4hr , Minneapolis, USA

Brittany Finnell: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/brittany-finnell/8/602/643 , Dallas, TX, United States

Peter Forshaw, http://www.linkedin.com/in/peterforshaw , UK

Ben Gregg: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/ben-gregg-0415919590/6/782/a11 , Sydney, Australia

Simon Knowles: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/simon-knowles/1/bb6/a8 , Exeter, UK

John Kreis: http://www.linkedin.com/in/johnkreiss , Boston, MA, United States

Gareth Longley, http://www.linkedin.com/in/garethlongley , Manchester, UK

Natasha Luthra, http://www.linkedin.com/pub/natasha-luthra/35/67/a7b , Bengaluru, India

Chris Manning: http://www.linkedin.com/in/cjmanning , London, UK

Claire Marchant http://www.linkedin.com/in/clairemarchant Manchester, UK

Keely Marlin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/keelymarlin , Denver, CO, United States

Rick Morales http://www.linkedin.com/in/rickmoraleshrexpert New York, NY, USA

Merrick Morris http://www.linkedin.com/in/merrickmorris Norfolk, Virginia, USA

Cassie Rayner: http://www.linkedin.com/in/cassierayner , Leeds, UK

Raint Tang: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/rainy-tang/3b/280/12 , China

Rebecca Worley: http://www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccaworley , Co. Durham, UK

‘OJ’ Careers & Jobs (#5 ; 30th March 2012)

Hiya – its the end of Q1 already; where has the time gone, eh? I have given up trying to write this blog weekly every Friday. I hope you’ll accept “almost every Friday” as good enough. Unless of course someone out there wishes to sponsor the blog?? Then, of course, it will get done….

Now two months in, we are well over 2,000 members on our Linkedin Group called “Careers & Jobs (Open) CRE & Facilities Management”. The link is here: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=4269106 . You can read more on the first week’s blog: http://alturl.com/qmsso

Recruiters & Head-hunters

This group is independent, so we hoped that any and all recruitment and head-hunting firms would use the group, and post vacancies to the ‘Jobs’ section. Many of you have, so thankyou for that. Anyone is welcome, and feel free to ‘advertise’ yourselves on the “Discussions” section.

These people posted Jobs discussions this week (I will expand this list over the next few weeks, into a global list of recruiters, and save it on my shared ‘Box’ folder: https://www.box.net/shared/bxrprfdfr7 ). For now, here are this week’s new recruiters (new to us anyway) in the order in which they posted. The full list is at the END.

Gareth Longley, http://www.linkedin.com/in/garethlongley , Manchester, UK

Natasha Luthra, http://www.linkedin.com/pub/natasha-luthra/35/67/a7b , Bengaluru, India

Peter Forshaw, http://www.linkedin.com/in/peterforshaw , UK

Featured Recruiter this week

I have been adding a “top recruiter” in past weeks, on the basis of who posts the most jobs to the Linkedin group. But, as it keeps going to Rebecca Worley, and would AGAIN!, I have had to change tack….sorry Rebecca, but keep ’em coming.

This week I’ll give a special mention to Peter Forshaw , Managing Director of Maxwell Stephens (UK). Peter has been in recruitment in the FM sector for many years now, and is up to about 80 blogs now on his site. Some useful views on FM and recruitment issues.

Top jobs this week

Peter is recruiting for 3 Regional FM roles for CBRE: http://lnkd.in/rCrSHy .

I think this week I’ll pick on Interim roles, as Gareth Longley posted this: http://lnkd.in/Tk6TxX . I know of many people in my network (now well over 6,000 around the world) who have decided to focus on interim roles rather than look for their next salaried position. Gareth has experience in interim roles, so give him a call: 07961 591 406

There have been many others Jobs posted over the last few weeks, around the world. Hopefully we will go wider still in month 3…? India maybe….

India: a booming market….

I was doing some work this week with my friend Sanjay Parmar, a CRE consultant in the UK who has personal and professional knowledge of India. I realised that I had well over 100 end-user contacts in India, from New Delhi up in the north, to Mumbai & Pune on the west coast, down to the “tech” cities of Bangalore, Chennia and Mysore in south India. Watch this space, as we will be keeping our eyes and ears open for opportunities in this wonderful and rapidly growing region.

Top Discussions:

We had some interesting ‘Discussions’ (see the Discussions tab) over the last two weeks. I don’t have time to cover them all, but here is one from a friend of mine, John Garrett in Denver CO: http://lnkd.in/MKpk8J . As John says:

 Recognizing the current volatility within today’s job market, there are tremendous opportunities across multiple functions within CRE / Facilities Management. This article explores this subject and demonstrates that there is, in fact, significant growth potential within these growing markets

 

Working @

I would like to thank Manager’s Choice this week Simon Beck, for his careers article on “A Facilities Manager’s Life in Angola”http://paulcarder.com/2012/03/09/a-facilities-managers-life-in-angola-southern-africa-by-simon-beck/ .

Many of you clearly read the article, judging by the number of comments and emails received. It was an interesting case study in the variety of careers possible in our marketplace.

If you would like to write a similar article, for Working @ your company, drop me a line at the email below. Thanks.

That’s all folks for this week, but subscribe to this blog and receive the update every Friday….

Have a great weekend, and if you are job-hunting, good luck,

Paul Carder (paul.carder@occupiersjournal.com)

Twitter @occupiers and @paulcarder

RECRUITERS (alphabetically)

Simon Aspinall: http://www.linkedin.com/in/simonaspinallcatch22 , Leeds, UK

Melissa Baxter http://www.linkedin.com/pub/melissa-baxter/18/555/b64 London, UK

Meghan Blankenship http://www.linkedin.com/pub/meghan-blankenship/5/9a5/634 Austin, TX, USA

John Bruno: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/john-bruno/16/402/7a6 , LA, CA, United States

Douglas Carrick: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/douglas-carrick/41/886/630 , London, UK

Jo Caughey: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jcaughey , Birmingham, UK

Jaime Cheng: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jaime-cheng/38/568/230 , Hong Kong

Nikki Dallas: http://www.linkedin.com/in/nikkidallas , London, UK

Bob DiSanto, Detroit, US

Kristin Erdmann: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kristinerdmann4hr , Minneapolis, USA

Brittany Finnell: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/brittany-finnell/8/602/643 , Dallas, TX, United States

Ben Gregg: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/ben-gregg-0415919590/6/782/a11 , Sydney, Australia

Simon Knowles: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/simon-knowles/1/bb6/a8 , Exeter, UK

John Kreis: http://www.linkedin.com/in/johnkreiss , Boston, MA, United States

Chris Manning: http://www.linkedin.com/in/cjmanning , London, UK

Claire Marchant http://www.linkedin.com/in/clairemarchant Manchester, UK

Keely Marlin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/keelymarlin , Denver, CO, United States

Rick Morales http://www.linkedin.com/in/rickmoraleshrexpert New York, NY, USA

Merrick Morris http://www.linkedin.com/in/merrickmorris Norfolk, Virginia, USA

Cassie Rayner: http://www.linkedin.com/in/cassierayner , Leeds, UK

Raint Tang: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/rainy-tang/3b/280/12 , China

Rebecca Worley: http://www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccaworley , Co. Durham, UK

EVENTS: Technology Trends 2012 (by UNWIRED) 20/21 March, London, UK

I’d like to thank my friends at Unwired for their kind invitation to attend “Technology Trends 2012” next week. I believe that some of the sessions are now sold out, but if you have yet to book, check it out. Here is the full PDF. (contacts – see below. Speak to Isabel).

These short sessions, at breakfast, or at lunch, really seem to work for busy professional diaries. If, like me, you don’t actually live in London, then of course the lunchtime slot is favourite. I’ll be there on Wed 21st at 12.30, if you are going. And £99+vat is good value for a jam-packed high tech briefing session.

The strapline is, “What will new technologies hold for the workplace in 2012, and how could these innovations affect your business – A condensed review of the latest technology and innovations from CES, ISE and CeBIT 2012”

And there is the clue to this event’s value – it is a round up of what Unwired’s experts noted from these three key events:

CES is “the major US consumer electronics show, held in Las Vegas (100,000 visitors!!), including manufacturers, developers and suppliers, of consumer technology hardware, content, technology, delivery systems and related products and services….”

ISE is the “Top European event for professional AV and electronic systems integration”, held in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) with 25,000 visitors, and according to Unwired is an “industry defining event”

CeBITis “The world’s largest electronic tradeshow” held in Hannover (Germany) this month, with 480,000 (!!) visitors….OK, rather them than me…. but now you don’t have to go, just listen to the Unwired guys instead, who say the event is “the showcase for digital IT and telecommunication solutions and launch pad for new technologies and innovations”.

This is what Unwired says about the event:

 This key briefing will summarise the new technology and trends for 2012. Book now and join companies including GlaxoSmithKline, Barclays, HSBC, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Catlin Group, Drivers Jonas Deloitte, Foster + Partners, Nokia, Lloyd’s and Severn Trent Water.

This is a must attend event for anyone involved in creating effective working environment. Learn about technology enablers and drivers of change. What are the key technologies being adopted by organisations to enable workplace innovation and how can you future proof your workplace strategies?

Our expert commentators will be covering three of the world’s biggest technology exhibitions and will present you with an enjoyable review of the latest innovations together with an analysis of their impact on work, the work process and workplace (or other markets such as home, retail, education or healthcare).

And here is a bit of advertising, but worth noting….

UNWIRED is the knowledge division of Cordless Group. It provides a range of resources to allow our clients to predict the impact of new technology on business, people and the built environment.

UNWIRED publishes a range of reports, guides, white papers and a monthly newsletter. It also holds regular executive briefings, workshops, thinktanks, training and technology demonstrations.

For information and further details please contact Isabel Dewhurst-Marks by phone on +44 (0)20 8977 8920 or email: isabel.marks@unwired.eu.com

The TSK Business Engagement Centre at Sheffield Hallam University – “a living research project”

I was invited to an interesting event at Sheffield-Hallam University business school (Sheffield, UK) on 15th March this week, which sadly I now cannot attend. But it is worthy of note, and a brief blog, especially as a “living research project”.

It is also worthy of note as it is sponsored by industry – the “TSK Business Engagement Centre”, in a partnership between TSK Group and the CFMD at Sheffield-Hallam. The facility was covered in FM World recently, and the full article is on TSK’s website. This extract explains the partnership:

The partnership between Sheffield Business School CFMD and TSK set out to produce a home for the business school’s executive, a facility for the CFMD and a living research area for TSK to test innovative ideas and new thinking and to understand the needs of the people that work in activity-based work settings to make them more intuitive and comfortable to use.

Therefore the consultation process is ongoing and no doubt the space will continue to evolve as the teams feed back their views.”

This is a great concept – why not? It makes sense for service providers in the industry to engage academia in real-world projects, where they can monitor the evidence and statistics.

Professor If Price( Linkedin ) is the leading academic and thinker at CFMD, and was named as one of BIFM’s 20 most influential pioneers of FM in 2008. He brings the scientific approach of a Cambridge-educated Geologist to the work of understanding the relationship between organisations, people and their spatial environments.

Look out for his new book, out soon (and I hope he send me a signed copy!): Managing Organizational Ecologies: Space, Management and Organizations, Routledge, New York comes out on 18th April

A Facilities Manager’s Life in Angola, Southern Africa (by Simon Beck)

Simon Beck recently connected with me, and shared his “FM story”. I asked Simon if I could share what he told me, below. Some things sound remarkably similar, whereas others couldn’t be more different!

After a successful career in the British Army, and some time in the UK FM industry, Simon looked further afield and moved to Saudi Arabia….

“….Obviously quite a daunting prospect of a complete change in scenery, life style and working practices the followed but with my attitude forged from years in the army of being very flexible, acceptable to changes at sometimes very short notice and adaptable I thought ‘why not’; I [no longer] had directly attached family to think or worry about. After a year working in the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia, for SAAD specialist hospital I decided to accept an offer from MACE Macro, the FM management and Consultancy Company. I was based in Dubai, but worked on the commissioning and initial operations of the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). I was in Abu Dhabi for just over a year when the consultancy period ended, after which I was based out of MACE Macro’s Head Office in Dubai.”

“Just under two years ago the opportunity to work in Angola came up….

“Currently I am working as a The Senior Business Development manager for SG Services, LDA, a Facilities Management and Maintenance company based in Luanda, Angola.  Developing both internal and external business, such as finding and procuring new external clients, and advising on internal policies and procedures such as ISO9001, 14 and 18001, Health and Safety, Estate and asset management, and advising on both Hard and Soft service provision.

I am also responsible for the current commercial side of the business, making contact and development of new clients and business streams; responsible for finding and responding to RFIs and putting bids together from RFPs (when I was working for Mace Macro I helped work on bids, for Sky Courts Dubai, Al Rahba Hospital Abu Dhabi, Aldar, Emirates national Schools, Etisalat, Mushrif Palace, Ominyat, TDIC, Al Ain Wildlife Park, the Lusail project in Qatar, and Alshaya International Trading in Saudi Arabia).

For SG Services, I have written and submitted bids for BP Angola, LNG Angola, BAI Bank (15 branches), BAI Teaching Academy, and just recently TOTAL. With a total value of just under $60m.

With a NEBOSH qualification, I am also the Companies Health and Safety Director responsible for the Health and Safety of all of the company’s employees, contractors and clients that come in contact or have dealings with SG Services.  Responsible for implementing and directing the company according to Angolan Health and Safety law, and advising on best practises, following European and British legislation. I am also responsible for the Companies Environmental management and Quality management systems and implementation.”

In all of the places I have lived and worked, each one is slightly different in the way it does things, even the most usual of things of like going shopping for instant, in Saudi Arabia women are not allowed to drive and even ex pats have to wear the hibiya…..  So that I was usually asked to drive some of the female members of SAAD staff on shopping trips just down to the super markets.  Angola is no different.  Yes women can drive here but there are very few what I would call European standard shopping, establishments to go too.  It is extremely expensive place to live with most things except vegetables have to be imported.  This makes Angola one of the most expensive places on the plant to live and work.”

“The country’s economic income is based on the off shore oil and LNG reserves, diamonds and other natural resources’ found in the country, but it has very limited industrial manufacturing base, again highlighting the cost of imports.  With the revenue from the Oil, and all of the major oil companies represented, such as BP; Chevron, TOTAL, etc has seen the increase in construction and infrastructure projects, mainly being carried out mainly by the Chinese (CITIC construction), in return for the oil reserves.  With the country Portuguese speaking a lot of influence comes from Portugal, also an ex colony, and Brazil.  With the country mainly speaking Portuguese there is also a number of Portuguese owned companies’ represented t here, such as Sores de Costa and Lisboa and the FM software providing company, Navaltik.”

“The UK has not been entirely left out, with ATKINS providing consultancy services to a number of projects mainly being the huge Welfare housing projects based just outside of Luanda.  All of this new construction and infrastructure work has seen a knock on affect for the FM market.  However with FM very much in its infancy here, but with influence from world and European based companies the teaching curve is very much ongoing.  I would say that it is a few years behind the Middle East but is fast catching up.”

“SG Services is the leading Property management and Maintenance Company in Angola.  With its senior management coming from Portugal, and the UK, bring to the company European business ethics, procedures and policies, but with about 97% of the remaining work force being Angolan, has made the company being able to bring to its ever increasing International and local clients, European based standards with Local knowledge, education and experience.  SG Services current portfolio includes the Presidential Palaces, buildings and villas, a 263 bed hospital, a five star Hotel, a university and an 18 floor Tower block (HQ Sonangol, Angola’s oil Company).  With this diversity of a portfolio has made SG Services the leading FM Company in Luanda and an obvious first choice for any future or potential new clients.”

“It is not all work and no play…..There is a vibrant ex pat community, Americans, Scottish, Irish, Portuguese, Brazilian, mainly based around the embassy’s and some Ex pat run organisations such as the Luanda British Women’s Association and the TICA, with someone holding a get together one week to the next.”

“With the country only coming out of a civil war in the past 20 years some areas of the Luanda have yet to be re developed so there are areas that do seem to be very run down.  These areas you tend to avoid but generally you have to be a bit more aware of your surroundings’ and who is around you.  If you have a chance to leave the city and go out into the country side then you must take it.”

“There are some wonderful scenery in central Angola, but go with someone who knows the areas.  Tourism is not yet a major income earner as there is limited number of decent and affordable hotels.”

“……..looking to the future, where can I retire to, and what will I do when I don’t really want to work anymore? Angola is not that place… I haven’t as yet worked in the Far East such as Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, or the Americas, etc.  I’m flexible, adaptable and willing to accept changes at short notice, so I am willing to be on the move again….”

How Simon got there….

“…In May of 2003, I left the Army and did the BIFM Part two course as a resettlement course.  Immediately I picked up a job working for Interserve on their Network rail contract in Manchester.  After a year i was promoted and moved to full FM on the same contract but in York.  With my military background I was asked to join the Defense division of Interserve as they were just completing the PFI construction stage on the New Welbeck College in Leicestershire.  Then after a short stint with the CITB and Inspace Maintain based in Birmingham I looked further afield….” You know the rest!

Thanks to Simon for this interesting career story.