CFM; Executive Director, Facilities Management; California Western School of Law; 21 years
What was the best advice you ever received in your career?
“Don’t worry until it’s time to worry.” Early in my career I spent a great deal of time stressing over potential problems and how to handle them. A mentor guided me to understand that if I direct my energies toward planning, being proactive, identifying potential problems, and creating a general “all hazards” approach, when that feared “something” occurred I would be prepared and could calmly address the issue. He was right …and I sleep better at night now!
How did you end up in facility management?
I was a commercial asset manager for midrise buildings and California Western was one of my tenants. When their facility director was retiring our Dean asked if I would be interested in the job and I initially declined – I was so wrapped up in leasing and commercial property management that I had never heard of a “facility manager” before! After careful review I took the job and it’s the best career decision I could have made.
What is your number one priority to provide in facility management?
My goal is to ensure that when students and employees come to campus they don’t have to think about issues of functionality, safety, or comfort. A truly well run facility results in zero impact on the occupants and allows them the freedom to perform to their highest ability. Facilities professionals have to be like the proverbial duck that appears to glide smoothly along the water line but below its legs are churning determinedly to move forward. I have a sign on my desk that reads, “Nobody knows what I do until I don’t do it.” I think that speaks volumes.
What is your company’s most important commodity or service?
Regrettably, our culture perceives that lawyers are hammers that see every problem as a nail. But at California Western our mission is to use the law to solve human and societal problems, training ethical, compassionate lawyers who are representative of our diverse society. The school has won awards for their pro bono service as well as their skills in the courtroom. Our most valued commodities are people (students and employees) and empowerment.
What is your personal secret to success or personal motto?
I strongly believe that to be successful in this field you must be flexible, collaborative, and maintain a positive outlook – and you have to work at it. This can be difficult in the presence of negative people or challenging business situations posed by a difficult economy. You just have to keep on keeping on to prevail. In the words of Steven Sondheim, “Good times and bum times, I’ve seen ‘em all and my dear, I’m still here”.
How many people does your business employ?
We currently have approximately 160 employees and 675 students (this number fluctuates every term).
How long have you lived in SD? If not a native where did you live before and what brought you to this city?
I’ve been in San Diego since 1987; prior to that I lived in Honolulu, Hawaii, where I was born and raised. In between I went to college in Utah where I learned to ski and to never, ever live in snow again.
Are there any suggestions you have for our members?
I can’t stress enough how incredibly helpful it is to network and reach out to your peers. At the beginning of my career I was hesitant to do this but the IFMA membership was collaborative and welcoming and I soon changed my tune. San Diego’s facility professionals are hard-working and supportive folks who respect the need to sometimes ask the crazy questions, so I would encourage everyone to just go for it, ask questions, pick the brains of your colleagues…and reciprocate!