Monthly Archives: June 2013

Yet another great event in Chicago! The Facilities Management Summit and The Total Security Summit 2013

Photos courtesy of Greg Bradshaw

A very special Thank you to our great sponsors: 

The Facilities Management Summit: Cherry Logistics, CREE, Collective View, Detex, Garland, PFMI, Thomas&Betts, World Dryer, FSI, ECORE, BELFOR, J+J Invision, Green Bull, Midwest Marketing, ELKAY, Lamarco Systems, JT Packard, Commercial Lighting Industries, Integrys, No Touch Solutions, Daikin McQuay, Aon Fire Protection Engineering.

The Total Security Summit: COGENTAmeristar Fence ProductsAvigilon, Axis Communications, Detex, Digital ID, PPM 2000,    Send Word Now, Tech Systems, iView SystemsThe Digital Identification Solutions GroupFST21Traka, ABM, Sentry 360, Andromeda,  LaMarCoAutoclearSmartvueiView Systems.

Thank you for the support and hope to see you at the end of the year in Orlando!


Is telecommuting right for your business?

The rapid technological evolution has redefined the traditional working model  by making the once unrealistic work options not only possible but also very likely to function well. Telecommuting is the most widely considered product of this evolution. And while many of its benefits are unquestionable, one also has to consider difficulties that come with these arrangements.

Some statistics confirm that telecommuting increases productivity, brings savings,  and helps to attract and keep talents on board, while other sources alarm that work culture falls apart if the team members aren’t physically in the office and that people who would rather work from home, can’t be serious about their careers. Here’s a little round up of things to regard before you include telecommuting as an option in your hiring package, or completely turn your back on it.


  1. It may really pay off – The online job search provider polled nearly 950 tech professionals and found that just over a third of them would accept a 10% pay cut if given the opportunity to work full-time from home. According to, that equates to an average $7,800 decrease in salary.
  2.  Demand far exceeds supply. Tech professionals often times love to work from home and yet full-time jobs that allow telecommuting are hard to come by. Being one of the few businesses that offer telecommuting as an option, increases your chances in attracting top talents.
  3. Increased productivity, but not for everyone. While telecommuting may greatly improve the productivity of employees working form home, it can also have a negative impact  on the On- Site employees and in some cases drive them away. Issues such as difficulty in effective communication between on-site employees and employees working remotely, as well as the resentment problem, need to be well thought through and addressed.
  4. Learn to trust. With telecommuting, you’ll have to learn to focus on the results and not on the process. You can’t have an employee telecommute, and then spend each hour worrying about whether he is actually working. Gil Gordon, a New Jersey-based author of two books on telecommuting, says: “It’s much more important that the telecommuter got that budget revision to you at 8 a.m. Wednesday, than it is to worry about whether he or she was watching TV at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.”
  5. And yet, have ways of making sure expectations are met. Developing measures of progress and work evaluation is essential for telecommuting to be successful. Clearly stated tasks and deadlines, as well weekly reports are usually effective. You’ll also want to use e-mail or scheduled phone conversations, to ensure not only that the task or project is completed but also that the work is meeting expectations.
  6. Cohesive corporate culture. Maintaining a cohesive work culture with  employees working from home can be challenging, but it is not impossible. The key is making the most face-to-face time possible.  Major meetings, company events and outings should be scheduled in advance to allow the telecommuters  to be there in person.
  7. Smooth Project management. Assure that all of the commuting employees have easy access to internal documents, project checklist, and other resources, so they can stay involved and contribute like other team members. (Intranet, Extranet etc.)
  8. Half-way is not always a bad idea. Even if you prefer your employees not to telecommute on the full-time bases, it’s still good to give it a try under certain circumstances (In this case, it is important to establish clear guidelines  for when and how long telecommuting is acceptable):

a)  A minor illness, such as a cold, that makes working from home a safer option.

b) When a deadline is pressing an employee can be more productive working at home.

c) Weather or traffic conditions.

d) An employee with a permanent or temporary disability (fracture) is better served by being able to work from home.

Tips on marketing to busy Facility Managers

With the ever-expanding responsibilities of a facility manager and the economy that requires cutbacks in operations and maintenance, facility executives became a time-starved audience – always on the go and impossible to get a hold of.

managementWhich naturally makes selling products and solutions to facility managers, at best, challenging.True, the situation requires a serious shift in the marketing approach and  presents solution providers with a fair load of homework, but where there’s a will, there’s a way!The starting point is  a profound multi-dimensional understanding of the end user: where do they put their trust and why, what do they value, where and how do they connect with their peers, how do they find out about building products and solutions, and  why do they prefer certain brands over others.To connect with facility managers you will also need to demonstrate a great understanding of their time limitations and the issues of importance to them Here are some tips on how to become the supplier of choice for the busy facility executives:

Enable connection between peersconsider hosting an online forum or a LinkedIn group, where you can enable productive dialogues  between FM colleagues, simultaneously giving yourself the opportunity to interact with facility managers, study their needs, and learn firsthand what drives their decisions. If your time is limited, join one of the existing forums/groups and monitor it and participate. Which takes us to the next point.

Networking is a mustin todays market no one gets a significant sale out of the Yellow Pages.  It’s meeting people and building business relationships that  provides you with referrals and gets you in the door. Consider networking through relevant social media outlets,  memberships in the major associations, or during industry’s events. Makethe right connections with the right people to expand your business or increase sale. The bottom line is – network, but do it wisely!

Present yourself  less as salespersons and more as helpful source.  Although facility managers often have no time to spare, they still want to stay up to date with the latest technology and best practices and they still need to source for services. They key is to provide 2 in 1  – educate them on the latest solutions that will make their life easier while marketing your products.  A good way to do that is arranging ‘Lunch-n-learns’ (incorporating tablets) to increase knowledge on product, trends or solutions.

Take advantage of the Online modules.  Available through websites such as the International Facility Management Association and BlueVolt, online modules are a valuable way for suppliers to reach out to facility managers, employees and distributors and are a prime example of how media has shifted and filled the needs of a target audience. Those online resources are useful tools to gain and renew accreditations without having to miss work to receive classroom instruction.

Stay tuned to trends and challenges in the industry and try to meet the evolving needs.

As in most areas of business today, many of the facilities are trying to reduce product costs and maximize productivity, in short  – to do more with less. One key trend to meet cost, productivity, and consistency needs is the simplifying of the supply chain. Previously, FMs had to juggle getting supplies and equipment from multiple vendors. Today, they can streamline procurement with large, holistic suppliers and get everything they need from one source.

 Have strong processes in place to effectively measure service performance and client satisfaction.

According to International Facilities Management Association, one of the more significant missed expectations as communicated by various clients across multiple market segments continually revolves around the same premise, namely, that service providers lack a well-documented, quantifiable, and objective process to measure service.

How do you know whether or not you are fully aligned with your customers in overall cost, quality, delivery, and safety performance? What the clients want to see are steady improvements through objective metrics, deliver that and you will get increased longevity in the client relationship.  (Further reading: What every service provider must know)

You can find more  ‘trends to use with facility managers’ in this  whitepaper

Check out this unique opportunity to spend to days meeting  one-on-one with up to 30 pre-qualified and actively souring Healthcare Facilities Executives.


Hospital Energy Efficiency: Challenges and Best Practices

The healthcare sector is one of the largest segments of the U.S. economy (17% of U.S.GDP) and the  average hospital uses 2.5 times the amount of energy as other commercial buildings, adding up to 836 trillion BTU’s or $5 billion annually, based on Department of Energy (DOE) data.  And although in recent years the priority has been placed on saving energy in hospitals, the healthcare sector still faces some unique challenges to energy improvements.  According to the ‘Advancing the Building Energy Efficiency Market in the Healthcare Sector’ report , these main challenges include:Image

Low Strategic Priority. Healthcare operates in a very turbulent business environment, where energy management is typically not seen as a strategic activity and upper management is focused on large issues like profitability, clinical care changes and healthcare reform.

Energy A Small Part of Operations.  Energy costs account only for between 2%-3% of total operating costs.

Risk-Adverse Culture. The management culture of the healthcare sector is very conservative. It is difficult to generate a sense of urgency in making changes in operating procedures to reduce energy consumption and emissions. And there is a low tolerance for experimentation with new technologies.

Reduced Facilities Staffing. Hospitals are being subject to intensive cost reduction pressures and in many instances this has resulted in substantial reductions in the facilities management staffing. This makes it more difficult to develop and implement energy efficiency measures.

24/7/365 Operation. The continuous use of facilities makes management reluctant to engage in retrofit activities that could disrupt operations. In addition, renovation projects run the risk of generating dust and other contaminants that create infection control challenges.

Need for Backup Systems. Because hospitals are engaged in activities that involve the life and death of patients, their margins for error or system failure are very low. As a result, hospitals must have back up power generation capabilities and be able to continue operations in the event of commercial power interruptions.

High Variations in Space Use. While in many building types (such as residential or commercial office) the nature of space use is highly consistent from room to room and building to building, healthcare facilities include multiple kinds of highly specialized space uses where the building energy requirements vary from space to space – such as surgery/operating rooms, patient rooms, intensive care, morgues,labs, waiting rooms, and offices. Each space has different air pressure, ventilation,temperature and humidity requirements. In addition, it is not atypical for the use of a space to change substantially over its lifecycle.

Strict Air Quality Regulations. Medical facility ventilation systems are regulated and managed in ways that dramatically increase the energy intensity of these systems compared to traditional commercial buildings. These requirements include:

o High outdoor air delivery rates

o High overall air exchange rates

o Air dehumidification requirements, which results in air cooling and then


o High air filtration requirements

o Higher than normal air temperatures for inpatient rooms

o Intensive lighting requirements that generate excessive heat

Some New Practices Increase Energy Intensity. Several trends in healthcare are tending to increase the energy intensity of its practices, including increased use of energy intensive equipment such as CAT scans and MRIs, and increased data center requirements due to the implementation of Electronic Medical Records and the storage of large medical imaging files.

Complicated physical plants. Many healthcare facility campuses consist of a diverse and complex assemblage of multiple buildings with multiple electrical and heating systems, making coordinated energy management a difficult task.

Sophisticated Skills Required for Building Management. Because of the complicated nature of their mechanical and electrical systems, making effective improvements to these systems requires high levels of technical skills and extensive training and experience in building engineers.

Separation of Capital and Operating Budgets. In many instances, the decision-making structures and processes for capital budgets vs. operating budgets are separated. The cost savings of a capital investment in energy efficiency are difficult to recognize in a way that justifies ongoing investments.

Despite these serious challenges, the efforts the industry has recently taken are very impressive as it becomes more and more obvious that energy efficiency represents a huge opportunity for hospitals and the healthcare industry. In 2010 the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) released a report entitled ‘Large Hospital 50% Savings’   that demonstrated the ability for a 527,000 square foot facility to achieve energy savings of between 50% and 60% in all 16 climate zones using a standard set of energy conservation measures.

The suggested  best practices are as follows;

1. Leadership Engagement

• Commitment to specific energy and GHG reduction goals

• Inclusion of energy/emissions targets in the corporate scoreboard

• Funding and support for senior staff for energy and sustainability


2. Strategic Energy Management Planning

• Development of a Strategic Energy Master Plan (SEMP)

• Development of gap assessments and energy audits to identify

opportunities for improvement

• ISO 50001 Certification

• Internal systems to prioritize and track energy investments

• Use of Portfolio Manager and other tools to track energy use

• Use of sub-metering and other energy monitoring technologies

3. Dedicated Financing

• Internal Green Revolving Loan Funds

• Standardized ROI and Lifecycle Costing tools

• Integration into capital outlay budget cycles

• Tracking of project results and ROI

• Participation in utility and other energy efficiency incentive

4. Financing Programs Implementation

a) NewBuildings

• Use of green building standards or design guides such as LEED for

Healthcare, ASHRAE Advanced Design Guide for Small Hospitals,

Targeting 100!, and the Green Guide to Health Care

• Use of integrated design processes

 b) Existing Buildings

• Retro-commissioning of existing buildings on a regular basis

• Development of standardized building operating manuals

• Annual building maintenance upgrades

• High efficiency HVAC systems, including boilers and chillers

• Reduced lighting power densities; day-lighting; occupancy sensors

• Demand controlled ventilation; displacement ventilation

• Separation of thermal conditioning from ventilation

• Building management systems

• High performance windows and glazing

• Tighter and better insulated building envelopes

• High efficiency fan and pump motors

• Occupant behavior change initiatives

• Plugload management

• Data center management

5. Alternative Energy Generation

• On-site and remote renewables, including PPAs

• Combined heat and power

• Clean energy grid procurement

6. Implementation –Procurement

• Implement energy efficiency purchasing specifications

• Implement the Electronics Products Environmental Assessment

Tool (EPEAT)

• Reprocess and re-sue single use medical devices

7. Human Capital Development

• Certification programs for facilities and building management staff

• Continuing education and participation in professional associations

• New employee orientation

8. Reporting and Recognition

• Annual Sustainability and Energy Reports

• Participation in Energy Star for Healthcare

• Employee recognition and reward programs

Learn about the latest products and services in the Healthcare Facilities Management Industry at the 13th Healthcare Facilities Forum in Austin Texas



Friday Funny! In the world dying common sense, signs of this kind will soon be necessary! Have a safe weekend everyone.

Friday Funny!

Seeking balanced and affordable security re-designs in schools

With last year’s  Sandy Hook school massacre and other high-profile incidents, e the demand for new security solutions in schools became undeniable. The real question is how to achieve safer schools without turning them into fortresses and how to satisfy the burning need for security improvements with limited assets.  Some of the initial reactions after Sandy Hook included an immediate increase in security personnel, hiring consultants to assess security plans,

S-BWSF-CU-dkcand discussed bills proposing arming teachers, shoring up the security of school buildings, and adding guards or police officers.

Financially,it’s impossible to do it all, but there are many changes that can be implemented as a “one time investments’ in a cost effective manner.

And with the summer vacation


approaching, now is the best time to address these issues and start the new school year with a plan in place.

Here’s what’s worth considering

  1. Equipping all classrooms with doors that can be locked from the inside by the classroom teacher.
  2. Adding doors that connect classrooms – this solution can make it easier for teachers to work as teams, and in a dangerous situation, makes it easier for them to move students to safer areas.
  3. Equipping exterior doors with hardware capable of a full-perimeter lockdown.
  4. Designing glassed hallways would not only allow teachers and other adults in the schools to see an intruder but also to combat problems such as bullying.
  5.  Developing cooperation between schools and architects to establish ongoing construction programs that address security improvements.
  6.  Making safety updates mandatory – schools security should be treated similarly to fire safety: established standards, codes, regularly conducted drills, and practiced responses.
  7. Enhancing security cameras and working radios  to help administrators and teachers communicate during crucial moments when an intruder penetrates school grounds. 

Other simple and practical measures for safer schools can be found on the ‘Safe and Sound’ website – an initiative started by Sandy Hook parents to help communities improve their school security plans. Visit to find  tools, resources, food for thought, and a forum for discussion.

*This post is based on a CNN’s article, ‘Six months after Sandy Hook shootings, schools seek secure redesigns.

Announcing new workshops for the Total Security Summit in Chicago. Presented by Brian Marshall, Terry Gold, and Steve Surfaro.


1. Security Entrances – Getting the most control out of your Access Control

This workshop will focus on the following:

•             Security concerns in the workplace

•             Identifying your entrance needs

•             Available types of security entrances

•             Factors to consider when choosing a solution – S.T.A.R.T.T.S.

Moderated by: Brian Marshall, Territory Sales Manager – Midwest, Boon Edam

2. Secure Identity & Credentialing

The learning objectives for this workshop include the following:

–          How to determine your credential security requirements

–          Types, variations, compatibility, and strength.

–          Best practice for long term success

–          Applies to Internal users, visitors.

Moderated by: Terry Gold, Founder of independent research firm IDanalyst.

3. Title: Securing Cities and the top ten Physical and Cyber Security technologies


According to IMS Research, it is expected that North American video deployments in City Surveillance will double in market size by 2016 (based on 2011 research).  Advanced surveillance, security and cyber infrastructure is well in progress in cities in North America, South America, China, Europe and South Africa.

Safety and security is a critical requirement to maintain economic growth, defend against advanced, varying threats and respond to critical events in real time.

License plate capture with “back office” systems integrated to the National Crime Information Center are improving both pro-active approaches and forensic investigations by cities.

Abnormal behavior detection is helping cities be ahead of the threat.

Video synopsis in shortening forensic video investigations in some cases as much as 80%.

Robotics and tactical solutions continue to scale and be an invaluable tool for first responders.

We’ll introduce Homeland Security’s six disciplines of first responders and describe how public/private partnerships will protect soft and hard targets.  HAZMAT, fire, EMS, law enforcement, search & rescue and explosives are the disciplines we’ll include.

Building an Integrated Cyber-Infrastructure permits the ability of securing critical information assets by implementing recommended measures against known exploits.

We will examine several case studies, spanning security and surveillance to preparation, education and policy for Cyber and Infrastructure assurance. Strategies will be presented and trends in physical, cyber, commercial and even consumer technologies illustrated in this entertaining session.  We¹ll conclude with how IT network and communications technologies help facility managers build tactical, corporate infrastructures, and support their strategic goals.

Moderated by: Steve Surfaro, Vice Chair, ASIS Physical Security Council Industry Liason, Axis Communications