In July, we met with the new executive board for a quick Q&A – check out their interview and get to know the new 2017-18 Executive Board!

Meet the 2017-18 Executive Board:

David Suter, CFM, LEED GA
Professional Role: Principal at CBSI (Consolidated Building Systems, Inc.)
IFMA Role: 2017 President

Steve Milinkevich
Professional Role: Project Manager for Corovan Commercial Moving
IFMA Role: Vice President 1

Marcy Harold, FMP
Professional Role: Assistant Vice President, Facilities for Mission Federal Credit Union
IFMA Role: Vice President 2

Donna Frick, CFM, FMP, SFP
Senior Manager, Facilities & Safety for Mitchell International
IFMA Vice President 3

Kirsten Finneran
Business Development Manager for U.S. Security Associates, Inc.
IFMA Secretary

Michael Acosta
Associate Supervisor of Facilities for Quintiles
IFMA Treasurer

How long have you been a member of IFMA?

David: I originally joined for a couple of years in 1996 when I was an FM but never really got involved. I rejoined in 2009 and have been active in the chapter since.

Steve: I have been involved with IFMA for 5 years now

Marcy: I became a member in 2013

Donna: I have been a member of IFMA for over 15 years

Kirsten: 2 years

Michael: I’ve been with the San Diego Chapter for 6 years. Prior to that I was with the Los Angeles Chapter for 9 years.

How has IFMA helped you personally in your career?

David: Getting involved in the chapter has allowed me to connect with other like-minded professionals.  The biggest paradigm shift in my FM thinking came when I took the CFM Prep course with Phyllis Meng in 2010.  She guided me to get my thinking out of the weeds and start looking at solutions from the 30,000 foot level.  This big-picture thinking has helped me not only with leading this chapter, but also leading my company to new opportunities.

Steve: Before joining IFMA, I was initially unfamiliar with the problems and issues that facility managers face. As a service provider, learning the trade of facility management has allowed me to change the way I provide service to my clients, and help ease the troubles that I witness by being part of this organization.

Marcy: In addition to networking with other FM’s, the FMP certification offered through IFMA has added value and credibility to my list of qualifications. I am working toward my CFM to increase that value even more.

Donna: It has enabled me to achieve all of my Facilities certifications and advance in my career as a Facilities & Safety Manager. It has also provided me an invaluable network of not only other Facilities Managers, but friends as well.

Kirsten: IFMA has helped me learn new insights within a broad scope of industries. This has increased my knowledge to better support my clients with new ideas and innovative solutions, and ultimately, helped my career.

Michael: IFMA has allowed me to advance my career by understanding the current and future industry dynamics in Facility Management. That along with experience and education has helped my overall FM career so far.

How has IFMA helped your building or business?

David: IFMA has helped my Project Management business through partnerships with other chapter members, whether that be Professional Members as clients or other Associate Members that I have teamed up with on projects. The exposure to potential clients and business partners is substantial when you get to know people on a personal level by working with them on committees or through the board. Some of my best times have been traveling to World Workplace each year with other chapter members and spending time learning about their families and their hobbies. The San Diego Chapter is about relationships with people, not hard selling your products and services.

Marcy: Creating relationships with the IFMA service providers has expanded my resources for information, education and service; ultimately benefiting my organization.

Donna: IFMA provides a vast network of not only Facility Managers but services providers as well. I have been able to leverage my IFMA contacts to provide services at our facilities.

Kirsten: By offering informative luncheons, networking events and partnerships, IFMA has helped build my industry knowledge and has given me exposure to business opportunities.

Michael: In a rapidly changing world IFMA has helped me keep my business current on various FM trends, such as educational programs for FMs, as well as technology and sustainability products and services.

What are three things you like best about being on the Executive Board? OR what made you decide to join the Executive Board?

David: I originally joined the Executive Board in 2012 because I liked where this chapter was going and wanted to be part of the collaboration and help lead the way for others. When I first held the title of Chapter President in 2014 – 2015, one of my reasons was that I was very uncomfortable with public speaking and knew that it was part of the role. I also had a goal of putting written policies and procedures together. Over the years, the chapter policies needed updating and we accomplished that. This year, my goals are to continue the direction that Lisa Chappell started over the last 2 years with creating more opportunities for FM’s to get involved in the chapter. From the Leverage you Beverage events in the afternoon/evening to morning workshops, we want to cater to the FM’s schedules and geographical locations.

Steve: As someone who has been an active member, I like that I have a voice in the decisions made for the rest of the chapter. I like to serve, and this gives me the opportunity to do so. Being in this role exposes me to a larger network of colleagues that I may not have met otherwise. We have a great chapter and I look forward to sharing my ideas and continue the example my predecessors have set.

Marcy: I joined the Executive Board because the more involved I have become with IFMA the more impressed I am with our chapter. The executive board allows me more opportunity to contribute to the chapters’ success.

Donna: I joined the Executive Board because I saw what others on the Board prior to me had done to help the San Diego chapter be the best it could be and to be able to be a resource to other Facility Managers out there

Kirsten: I decided to join the executive board based on my experience at the monthly IFMA board meetings. After working for two years chairing the sponsorship committee, it felt like a natural next step to join the executive board of the San Diego Chapter.

The top three things I like about bring on the Executive Board is;
1.) Being part of a team that looks out for their members by giving them the resources needed to gain their career.
2.) Seeing firsthand on how the Chapter runs and how decisions are made in making the Chapter more successful each year.
3.) Giving back by sharing my expertise.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a new IFMA San Diego member?

David: Get involved. The best thing I did was to get involved early. Within the first 2 months of joining the chapter, I joined the Communications Committee to update the website. I had no experience in website programming or social media but I wanted to learn. By 2012 I led a team in submitting and winning ‘Website of the Year’ at World Workplace. You never know where the path is going to take you, you just have to start walking on it and see.

Steve: Get involved! If you truly want to get something out of this organization, you need to become a real part of it.

Marcy: ‘Get involved’ seems too trite so taking that one step further and get involved by attending different events, mix it up! You’ll find by attending different events, breakfasts, luncheons, Leverage Your Beverages, you’ll increase your exposure exponentially.

Donna: Get involved with a committee if possible. It will open up doors for you to grow your network and make friends

Kirsten: Have patience. Building relationships takes time. Go to the luncheons and events, learn a wealth of new information, meet new people and have fun!

Michael: Get involved. Join a Committee or volunteer at an event. This will help you and your business build relationships with others within the Chapter.

David, one thing I remember when you first became President in 2014 was that you expressed a fear of public speaking, but when you’re up on the podium, you seem like a natural. Was it just IFMA that helped you with that or did you do anything else like Toastmasters? If someone had a fear of public speaking, what advice would you give them?

I did have a fear of public speaking and that is one of the reasons that I wanted to take on the challenge of the President’s role. The first few months were really tough but I made sure I always had a plan of what to say ahead of time and had my notes to refer back to. If any of you remember I started with electronic notes on my phone but the app glitched 2 of the first 3 months so I had to wing it. After that, I went with paper notes. I did not take any professional speaking courses, just lots of prayers for confidence and wisdom. One of the best parts about the experience, is within 6 months of having to do announcements at the luncheons, I was asked to give my testimony in front of 3000 people from my church on the deck of the USS Midway. Had I not taken on the President’s role and got over my fear, I would have never said yes to that opportunity. So my advice, whatever it is that you fear, face it head on and watch the future opportunities unfold.

Steve, there are many other organizations in similar industries that tend to lean towards an executive board made up of professionals only. You’re one of the VPs, and the natural progression would be for you to one day be President. As an associate member, do you think facility managers are turned off by the fact that associates are in leadership roles? What makes IFMA different in this respect?

I agree that most trade organizations do try to stock the board full of professional members, IFMA included. But there is certainly precedent at IFMA of having other associate members in these roles. I would hope that our professional members would understand that our associate members deserve a voice on the board as well. The mission for the chapter is to advance the professional growth of our members. While we focus on the profession of facility management, I think we do a great job in our chapter at promoting the growth of all members. I plan on encouraging that team effort in my role on the board.

Donna, you are an IFMA SUPERSTAR and you have EVERY credential offered by the organization. Your CFM, FMP and SFP. How long did that take you to achieve and would you recommend this route to others?

I’ve been in Facilities Management for over 15 years. I became a member of IFMA in 2004. After a couple years, I decided to go for my FMP to help further my career in Facilities Management, and received my FMP in 2007. As I was looking to advance in my career, my employer at that time suggested I go for my CFM. I was very fortunate to work for an employer who supported me and helped me achieve my goals. The CFM certification was challenging and there were times I wasn’t sure if I could do it but I stuck with it. I studied for and received my CFM certification in 2011. To keep your CFM certification, you have to recertify every 3 years. When IFMA offered the SFP course, I decided to pursue that certification as well. I was responsible for sustainability and knew it would provide me the additional tools to continue to grow. I received my SFP in 2013. Due to the dynamic and every changing nature of sustainability, you have to test and recertify every 3 years.

By holding my FMP, CFM and SFP certifications, it has helped me to advance in my career of Facilities Management. Most employers either require or highly suggest that you have your CFM if you are applying for a Facility Management position. I would strongly recommend others, whether long time members or new members of IFMA to pursue your certifications. It is a journey and commitment, but one worth taking.

Kirsten, moving from chairperson to Secretary in only two years speaks volumes of your work ethic. Do you see yourself stepping into the role of VP or eventually President one day?

The last couple of years with IFMA have gone by quickly, and I have been fortunate to have had opportunities come up to allow me to be more involved with the chapter as a committee chair, and now Secretary. As a newcomer to the Secretary role, there is much to learn, and that will take time. I look forward to absorbing the role over the next couple of years. Long term, it’s encouraging to know the prospect of moving into positions with more responsibility is possible, and I would be honored to have a chance to support the chapter one day in a role like Vice President.

Interview by Melanie Bamba, RSI Roofing & Solar