As part of our Next-Gen Facility Manager series, we are getting to know some of the professionals that are moving their school district's facility management programs into the future. Our second conversation is with Gordon Miller, Director of Facilities II at Central Valley School District in New York. Gordon talks about being a hands on leader with his staff and how he's worked his way to position of Director at a young age.
MasterLibrary: What are some important skills you think a next gen facility manager needs to have that was not as important 10 or 20 years ago?
Gordon Miller: Management as a whole has changed. You have to be on a closer level with people. You have to coach them, build them up. Everyone has a fulfillment and a want. People need to feel like there’s a bigger purpose. Technology has advanced. Everything can be done off a computer – fire alarm, HVAC. Used to be hand notes, post-its, things like that. I’d like to see every maintenance guy have access to a computer or tablet. You need to be comfortable with technology because it helps you be more proactive.
ML: How do you keep staff motivated?
GM: If you can grow somebody they usually stay interested. You have to give them a chance to grow but once you get somebody, they'll stick with you. I have 5 buildings and I make it to each building once a week. Most people lose touch with the boots on the ground. I can’t do my job without them. Some of the older school facility directors spend most of their time in their office. But for me, it's very important to be more in touch with my employees. I need to walk the walk with them.
ML: What's underrated quality that you see in your staff?
GM: The ability to adopt and learn quickly. Someone who is hands on and wants to get their hands dirty. I also think it's very valuable if you have the ability to quickly assess a situation and make decisions.
ML: What's the best piece of advice you can give someone that's looking to pursue a career in facilities management?
GM: Take everything you can. When I was 22, I sat on my first civil service test. I did very poorly (chuckles). You need to be hands on, take all the certifications and just have ambition. I started young, was mentored by older facility managers. They gave me the rung to step on and I made it happen.