Ten years ago, in a time before the then BIFM awards routinely recognised the achievements of up and coming FMs, we at what was FM World magazine set out to identify a group of 40 individuals representative of the future face of workplace and facilities management. The limit was on experience rather than age, in this case no more than 10 years’ of working in the sector; we wanted to find people demonstrating significant achievement in a relatively short space of time.
One such Rising Star of FM was Paul Andrews, then facilities assurance manager at EDF Energy, and now PMO director, EMEA – GE Account, CBRE, Global Workplace Solutions. A decade later, we ask Andrews about personal progress and the evolution of the profession.
What do you remember about 2012 – and if you could, what would you warn your 2012 self about?
I remember living in London during the excitement of the Olympics and working as part of an excellent team supporting the pre-construction phase of the development of a new nuclear power station, Hinkley Point C. It was a very dynamic time in my career and I learnt a huge amount in that role.
If I was advising my younger self, I would say the challenges and paths within FM are so varied that it’s important to keep one’s skills, both technical and personal, up to date, to continually innovate, and to stay open-minded about the future and its many possibilities.
What makes you excited about the profession? How has this changed from when you began your career?
The world of FM has advanced greatly. For me, it’s truly exciting to see the many ways that FM can bring positive outcomes to a great range of fields. Sustainability is one such area that has enhanced the reputation and standing of FM within an organisation. The FM team is no longer just the go-to point for getting things fixed, it’s about workplace strategy and culture, carbon reduction, talent acquisition and retention, and more.
How have your expectations of workplace and FM evolved? And what do you think the profession needs to do next?
Expectations around workplace have changed massively. The pandemic has rapidly accelerated a number of trends that were growing anyway, particularly around workplace design, hybrid working, etc. In my view, the profession can do more to clarify its skill sets and talent needs, particularly in developing its people into leaders.
The profession requires such a broad range of skills that can project its people into leadership, influencing and, ultimately, being part of the C-suite.
What is the most pressing challenge facing the industry?
Continually innovating to deliver great quality service while minimising operating and energy costs, particularly in the face of high inflation, an energy crisis and potential global recession.
Companies need to innovate to remain competitive, while attracting the best talent. FM touches on almost all aspects of a business and has a significant impact on bottom line costs. FM leaders need to understand and respond to micro and macro-economic challenges to remain relevant and take prominent roles within organisations. Innovating through best business practices, technologies and supply chains is fundamental to this.
What are your top three focus points currently and why?
- Change management – I have been working for CBRE on the GE account for five years, after being introduced by Jason Gurd, one of the other 2012 Rising Stars. GE is a unique and incredibly dynamic client, with constantly evolving needs. It’s important for our whole team to constantly adapt to be able to meet those needs to support them in staying at the top of the multiple industries they serve.
- Sourcing and supply chain – last year, I took an opportunity to take on responsibility for sourcing within our team. This has been a great challenge for me and has taught me a great deal. Understanding differences in markets across EMEA and how to be a better buyer and negotiator has been a steep learning curve that allows me to drive greater value for the client and supports my development as a leader.
- Sustainability – after completing a MSc in Environmental Management, I was appointed as the global lead for sustainability within our team. Supporting GE in its stated aim of achieving net zero carbon by 2030 will be incredibly challenging and rewarding.
After more than a decade in the business, what do you think the profession is doing right?
FM continues to grow and evolve. More and more people recognise the unique and profound challenges and opportunities within the industry. FM qualifications continue to improve and be recognised in supporting its people to develop as business leaders. This is a path that the industry should continue to follow and enhance.
Reacquaint yourself with our other Rising Stars of FM
- Martin Bell
- Annette Best
- Ryan Botta
- Dean Botten
- Will Bowen
- Peter Burnell-Jones
- Helen Cooper
- Martin Frohock
- Jason Gurd
- Adrian Harris
- Herbie Hawes
- Daniel Hawkins
- Andrew Hulbert
- Ryan Jarman
- Annie Karastoyanova
- Stephanie Kendall
- Ben Luvaglio
- Kate Morris-Bates
- Darren Raczkowski
- Tom Robinson
- Rishi Sharma
- Tristam Slater
- Kate Smith
- Will Tyler
- Clifford Yeend