On the Job with D. J. Fox
What is one project or innovation you’re proud to have helped implement?
Several come to mind. Last year, I had the opportunity to assist with installation of our Student Talent and Recognition (STAR) plaque display on our third floor. The display highlights award recipients affiliated with various student organizations at Missouri State and includes both student and staff members who have gone above and beyond in their respective roles. There are more than 30 award plaques included in the display. The project took about five months to complete. We partnered with a local contractor and our Planning Design and Construction Department on campus to create the display, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. The display is in a high-traffic area where we get to show off some of our very best students and staff members at MSU.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned working in the profession?
There’s no such thing as too much communication. Making sure everyone on your team is on the same page is critical to your department’s success. Effective communication has to start at the top of the org chart and trickle its way down, especially when it comes to goal setting, departmental priorities, and expectations. Since our department consists of 26 full-time employees, our mid- and upper-level administrators meet every other week to discuss what’s currently happening and coming up in each of our areas. Additionally, our entire department, including graduate assistants, meets on a monthly basis to make sure no information slips through the cracks.
What are some of the biggest challenges facing facilities management and are they new or traditional?
I think we’re in an era where energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives continue to be at the forefront, and this can present a number of unique opportunities and challenges. With more technological advances being implemented to track energy use, I think it’s up to us, as practitioners, to adapt to this changing dynamic while still being fiscally responsible. We use the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education STARS (Sustainability Tracking Assessment & Rating System) model to help monitor sustainability related goals. It’s a self-reporting tool that helps measure sustainability initiatives, from janitorial supply purchasing to food service waste minimization.
Describe a memorable day on the job.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but no two days are the same for a facility manager. Some days I run the building, and some days the building runs me. I can recall numerous days where I’ve done nothing but react to situations that have occurred during that same day. Being well versed in a variety of different operational areas is key. The more you know how to do, the more valuable of an asset you are to your department.