Lander Medlin is APPA's executive vice president. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since my appointment as APPA's Executive Vice President, I have shared my views on our future and my reflections on this past year's accomplishments and the coming year's opportunities. Now, I will chronicle the meaningful strategic alliances APPA's Board of Directors has formally embraced with several associations, organizations, and agencies. These strategic alliances have been established for the long-term benefit of the membership. By forging ahead with each of these strategic alliances, we are poised to: a) provide depth and breadth to the profession's four core competencies (1. General Administration & Finance; 2. Operations & Maintenance; 3. Planning, Design, & Construction; and 4. Energy & Utilities); b) improve the facilities management profession as an industry; c) further leverage our scarce resources; and d) increase our understanding and appreciation of the critical factors influencing both higher education and the profession. These factors include: information technology, resource scarcity, public scrutiny and accountability, governmental intervention, and environmental deterioration.
The Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) can be bookmarked as our first alliance partner. This is an extremely important relationship to build since grounds maintenance is reflective of a major responsibility area under the Operations & Maintenance core competency. We signed a formal agreement in the spring of 1997 (which was described in that year's May/June issue of Facilities Manager). The alliance agreement outlines our mission to cooperatively work together to improve the quality of landscaping and grounds design, maintenance, and operations performed by member professionals. Our goals are broad sweeping and reinforce our commitment to: 1) continue communication at the national level and foster these channels of communication at the regional and local level; 2) promote the use of sound environmental and ethical practices; and 3) collaborate and cooperate in outreach programs to increase awareness and further recognize grounds management, specifically, and the facilities management profession, in general.
Regarding this relationship, John Gillan, my counterpart and executive director of PGMS, stated, "Though we have worked together on an informal basis for several years, the partnering agreement between our two organizations has definitely galvanized our thinking and activity toward benefiting our two memberships." What does this alliance mean for you? As grounds management is considered a core management responsibility for most facilities managers, member rates are provided for any and all PGMS publications, programs, and services, which are many, varied, and highly professional. Other areas of opportunity focus on educational programs at both the annual meeting and several regional meetings. We are incorporating their facilitators in our Speakers' Bureau/PETS program (partnerships in education training series); plus work has begun on the development of a Grounds Staffing Guidelines publication. This is measurable progress.
Our next strategic alliance partner, signed in the fall of 1997, is the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI). CSI provides a wealth of technical information in building design and construction through a well-known uniform system of organizing construction specifications and information. We are committed to cooperatively work together to advance the technology and quality of building construction and management in North America. It is in this vein that we fleshed out the following goals: 1) to foster a strong, continuing alliance to better serve the construction and facilities management community; 2) to provide a rich and clear exchange of information; 3) to leverage our respective strengths to develop unique programs, programs, and services; 4) to provide each of our members with quick and economical access to each others' products and services; and 5) to build a strong bond of trust between and among these two communities of professionals.
Noble as these goals sound, much has already been accomplished to forge a strong partnership with CSI. We have already engaged in exchanging speakers to deliver sessions at our respective annual meetings; new products and services are offered either free or at corresponding member discount prices in our publications catalog and on the Internet; CSI speakers have agreed to be part of our Speakers' Bureau/PETS program and are already teaching electives at our newly redesigned Institute for Facilities Management. We envision ample opportunities for the development of joint publications and educational programs that would mutually benefit both organizations' members, especially since this area of responsibility also reflects one of the four core competencies of the facilities management profession (Planning, Design & Construction). CSI was featured in our 1998 March/April issue of Facilities Manager focused on planning, design, and construction and will be so again this coming year. They have much to offer within their detailed specifications manuals titled Manu-Spec, Spec-Data, Uniformat, etc.
We have invested much time and energy in an alliance with the Department of Energy's Rebuild America Program (DOE/RBA) and it is serving to be an invaluable relationship. As you may recall, we agreed to work together to establish a program to provide educational workshops and other tools to aid educational institutions in addressing two critical and costly facilities issues: deferred maintenance and energy expenditures. APPA and DOE/RBA initiated a series of activities called the Opportunity Assessment to help the nation's schools understand the new options available to them. Those options consist and are designed to: 1) take advantage of deregulation by helping institutions negotiate for the lowest possible rates; 2) help institutions reduce consumption through retrofits, upgrades, and accurate monitoring; and, 3) show institutions how to turn these cost savings into funding for deferred maintenance and capital renewal.
We have moved beyond this initial, onetime contractual effort to an alliance that outlines our desire to work together to: 1) continue to encourage energy efficient, cost effective educational facilities; 2) aid in the reduction of the multi-billion-dollar backlog of accumulated deferred maintenance and facilities renewal and replacement needs on our college and university campuses; 3) work toward the establishment of more energy efficient design guidelines for renovation and new construction; and 4) increase the awareness of these problems by senior institutional officers.
The Association of College and University Housing Officers-International (ACUHO-I) represents the fourth strategic alliance, which was formalized this summer 1998 at our respective annual meetings. At many of your institutions, the housing professional represents the first line of defense for building maintenance, operations, construction, and energy consumption in the residence halls (which more often than not is reflective of one-third of the institution's square footage to be maintained). We consider ACUHO-I to be a sister organization where a similar need exists for the body of knowledge resident in the facilities management profession. It behooves us to better educate and inform and, correspondingly be educated and informed, by these professionals concerning this major programmatic area of responsibility. In many cases, these individuals are entry level staff who need facilities management training in order to manage their buildings and educate students about their living environment.
Our goals for this strategic alliance outline the need to: 1) commit to enhanced communication between the two international organizations and their corresponding regional and local chapters; 2) provide an exchange of information via both print and electronic media; 3) focus on the development of specific preconference workshops and targeted publications for the housing professional; 4) provide reciprocal member fees and rates for our programs, products, and services; and 5) ultimately build a stronger relationship amongst and between our members, leaders, and institution's organizations. Gary Thompson, the assistant director for facilities for University Housing at North Carolina State University, sums up the need and desire for this alliance by saying: "The management of our facilities to meet the standards and expectations of our resident population, our own department, and our college/university administration is a tremendous responsibility. Our goal should be to place well-trained and prepared staff in positions to best meet this challenge. Taking advantage of all that APPA offers can be a very effective way to meet that goal."
Finally, I am also pleased to report that a strategic alliance has been formed and signed as of this past annual meeting in San Jose with the Construction Market Data Group (CMD Group), which represents a group of companies spanning the building construction industry in such areas as publishing in both print and electronic media, data and information collection and dissemination, and construction estimation. In our industry, the most well-known of their group of companies is R.S. Means, which is considered "the source" for building construction and repair estimation guidelines. Although a for-profit entity, much of CMD's information, services, and technology will be considered shared resources made available for the asking. As the strategic alliance agreement states, we strive to work jointly to improve the efficiency and quality of information, services, and technologies of our respective industries. Therefore, it is mutually beneficial for APPA and the CMD Group to enter into this strategic alliance. Our relationship grew out of a desire to positively impact the way construction and facilities managers do business. We have much to offer each other and both firmly believe the overriding, overarching goal is to improve the facilities profession.
Specifically, our mission is to align our organizations to advance the information, services, and technologies of the construction and facilities management industries to better meet the needs of our stakeholders. Our goals encompass: 1) the development of a rich and clear exchange of information regarding construction and facilities management processes and practices, the requisite skills and experiences of our organizations; 2) the economical access to existing products, services and programs, thereby leveraging our skills and resources to provide better information and services to better serve our stakeholders; and 3) to create a strong alliance that capitalizes on and promotes existing and emerging technologies that serve the construction and facilities management industries. We are already exchanging industry news and editorial content in our corresponding publications, providing discounted services, offering pre-conference workshops and educational programs, and establishing a task force to jointly develop technical trades staffing and costing guidelines. CMD Group presently offers a free print copy of Architects First Source (a product selection and specification solution) to all APPA members (to obtain your copy, just call 800-395-1988). Details concerning CMD Express, an online construction project information tool can be found by exploring our hyperlink between APPA's website and that of the CMD Group.
I have merely highlighted the mission and goals for each strategic alliance and touched on some of the measurable progress made by each of these alliances. For additional details concerning the specific objectives and initiatives for each of these strategic alliance agreements, please visit APPA's website. I will update you as other formalized partnership agreements unfold.
It is my desire to keep you better informed about the alliances and partnerships APPA is engaged for your mutual benefit and interest. It is also my hope that as you become more aware of these relationships, you will take advantage of what each has to offer and engage me or any APPA staff member in a dialogue about how we can better serve your needs through these relationships.
Frankly, by forging such alliances, we have the opportunity to create real synergy: where the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. It is through this synergy with the various members of the facilities management profession that we will indeed make a difference throughout the educational facilities community well into the 21st century.