In recent decades, facilities management has come out of the shadows to take its place in the limelight. It is now taught at university and is increasingly recognised as vital to business. Meet the pioneers of the FM sector - the people who made it all happen.
18 December 2008
FM World received nominations for almost 50 individuals from across the industry and, through a formal judging process, narrowed them down to 20. They work in a mixture of in-house, service provider, consultancy and academic roles in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Several are now retired and two have passed away. Most worked in the sector before it was known as FM and played a key role in the IFM or AFM before the bodies joined to become the BIFM. They have a diverse experience of the industry with many combining operational experience in client and supply side positions with consultancy or academic roles.
When FM World launched its search, some people described it as being "something for the old folk". But a glance through the following pages puts paid to that idea. We reveal that many of the professionals who founded our sector hold some of the top roles in FM and have continued to demonstrate that pioneering spirit throughout their careers. And aside from exceptional career paths, what our FM pioneers have in common is talent, focus, courage and a drive to succeed.
Extreme effort in a high-risk environment - those words apply to Oliver Jones's whole life, from business ventures to hurtling down the Cresta Run at 80mph.
London-born, Jones completed a sandwich quantity surveyor degree at Kingston Polytechnic and moved into a graduate trainee job with BAA in 1983. He was fast tracked, and by 1988 he was two down from the board as head of QS at Gatwick Airport. BAA sponsored him to do an MBA in finance at London Business School, during which he developed a business plan for Gatwick Premises Management. He was refused an equity stake, so he moved on.
Jones then founded and became managing director of Symonds FM. Work became 24-7 and he landed a contract with BT for premises consultancy, his first purely FM job. He also landed the UK's largest market-testing work ever, with the Department for Social Security. He took Symonds FM into Northern Ireland in 1991 to help to create a public sector supply market. When he sold it in 1993, the company had 300 employees, the basis for what today is Dalkia.
Jones assisted the government's 1995 studies on how to shape PFI outsourcing models. He was also part of the consortium with Goldman Sachs for the DSS Prime project, which in 1997 created one of the first property outsourcing businesses, now called Land Securities Trillium. He was an early mover in fully serviced offices in 1998, when he joined Mark Dixon at Regus as group property and logistics director. In Dubai, in 2002, he helped found Emrill, which represents Carillion in a joint venture with Emaar to create a major FM firm in that emerging market. In 1995, Jones applied the outsourcing model to language training by co-founding Babel Language Consultancy, which will teach an executive a new language in his office.
He is an FRSA due to his charity work, chiefly as chairman of the Autism Trust.
In 1986, after getting his building services degree, Billy Allan became an apprentice technician with sleepy Scottish mechanical and electrical firm EJ Stiell. In 1995, he led a management buyout and went on to transform the firm into one of the brightest stars in FM by targeting markets where M&E failure meant costly business disruption. He also built up the firm's FM capability, sponsoring young managers through education and recruiting top FMs from the client side.
Soon the blend of management talent and technical expertise was attracting blue-chip clients, such as Abbey, BAA and IBM.
By the 1990s, many clients were becoming more sophisticated and aligning FM to their organisation's business strategy. Suppliers had to move with the market and offer total FM services. Stiell focused on customer service and launched one of the largest service development programmes seen in the UK. By 2002, when the firm was sold to Alfred McAlpine, it had 1,200 employees and a turnover of over £120 million.
Allan then became chief executive of Asco, a global provider of oil and gas support services. Earlier this year, he became non-executive chairman of Europa, which, since the acquisition of United Utilities, has become one of the largest independent FM companies in the UK.
Stiell's success was built on the recognition of links between strong property portfolios and good, integrated FM. It is this, Allan says, which makes it such a strategic business support. So beware of cutting FM costs because it is not - or should not be - purely an overhead.
Lionel Prodgers was born in Gravesend and left school at 16. He "by-passed" university, going straight into work as a junior assistant for quantity surveyors Goddard and Smith, where he focused on the commercial property side. Clients included Christies, Unisys, Digital and Xerox. In 1984, he founded Facilities and Property Management, and 10 years later sold it to Chesterton International, becoming managing director of their property asset management division. He negotiated the acquisition of the FM division of British Gas and ICL's Workplace Management business. This created Chesterton Workplace Management. Leaving Chesterton he set up Ark e-management, an FM software solutions management firm, which was then acquired by Integrated FM in 2006.
He is now an independent international consultant, working for blue-chip companies. He has had a three-year secondment to Siemens as managing director of Siemens FM. In the Middle East, his clients include the Kuwait state petroleum firm, KPC.
Prodgers was BIFM chairman from 1997 to 1999, chairman of EuroFM from 2000 to 2005 and a board director of Ifma from 2006 until earlier this year.
He recently became a fellow of LEAD International, the global charitable organisation designed to enhance leadership focusing on sustainability knowledge. This includes understanding climate change issues, an area into which Prodgers anticipates senior FMs will increasingly be drawn as the definition of FM takes on
a much wider scope.
The biggest challenge for FMs, he says, is understanding that buildings as assets are now only a part of their responsibility. Because businesses have social responsibilities, FMs must ensure these are met and that takes them way outside the confines of the building. Such macro issues are leading forward-thinking FMs to rub shoulders with town and regional planners, transport and land-use planners.
It was her three years at Cambridge studying modern languages that first made Lucy Jeynes aware of gender issues. The year she joined, 1984, was the first for Pembroke College to accept women. She quickly got used to a predominantly male environment. After university marketing work for a printing firm in the City followed and for the brewers Carling. While marketing departments were mostly staffed by women, her role took her into a "bloke" environment. With Carling, she would visit pub landlords, take them deep-sea fishing and on golfing trips. A move to Crown Agents saw her take over business development for a new FM joint venture with Symonds, called Charter Services, in 1989.
Charter, which eventually became Dalkia, had one of the first major outsourcing contracts in the educational sector for supplying operational FM. Over the coming years, she focused on the consultancy side of Charter and eventually left to start up Larch Consulting with Mike Cant in 1995. It was the beginning of outsourcing as an industry, and Jeynes saw a business opportunity in offering independent third-party help to people who had never set up a contractual relationship. Larch now has a multi-million pound turnover with blue-chip clients including BBC, Abbey, GCHQ, Imperial College, 10 Downing Street, M&S and KPMG.
Throughout her career, Jeynes has been passionate about promoting women in what has been a male-dominated environment. It comes, she says, from working in one herself. It is one thing to be successful, but to be an example, you have to be visible. To this end, she has helped hundreds of women to reach the top, partly through training and networking groups.
She taught contracting strategies within the Association of FM, and after helping to set up the BIFM, became the institute's training facilitator. She ramped up its presence with an improved website and Bulletin publication, which led to the launch of FM World magazine. In 2004, she was elected deputy chairman and set up the Women in FM networking group, which got its special interest-group status in September. She has set up a mentoring programme for women, and as a member of BIFM council, ensures their visibility. She is proud that women make up 25 per cent of the BIFM's membership - the highest percentage of any property and services organisation.
A year's secondment as an office administrator in 1982, convinced Marilyn Standley, then a personnel manager, that her future lay in what was later to become facilities management. At publishers Longman, she had total responsibility for running a building, the company's car policy and services such as the typing pool, catering and the telephonists.
By 1989, she had become their full-time project director for planning, land assembly and acquisition and physical relocation of the firm's HQ in Harlow, Essex. When it happened, in 1996, around 750 employees moved into a new 140,000 sq ft building - the largest environmentally-friendly office in the UK at that time.
While at Longman, Standley became involved in the Association of FM and was part of the merger with the IFM. She became the first chair of the BIFM from 1993 to 1995 - the only woman to have held that position to date. She is now an honorary fellow.
She left Longman just before it was bought by Pearson in 1996 and joined Chesterton Facilities and Property Management as HR director, later becoming operations director. In 1999, she joined WSP FM with whom, as managing director of their FM division, she implemented an award-winning FM helpdesk solution for the Royal Mail's 3,500 UK properties. In 2002 she set up her own consultancy, Facio Consult, and merged it with Concerto Consulting in 2006.
As a director of Concerto, she regularly works on projects not directly related to FM. "The beauty of FM," she says, "is that you have to keep your eye on so many things. It teaches you excellent management skills for project work and people applications. These are transferable skills to many other areas than merely FM."
Standley, who is also a non-executive director of a primary care trust in Barnet, north London, believes the wider regional issues in British society can benefit from an FM point of view. As part of her work at Concerto, she advises on healthcare strategy for a proposed eco-town in Leicestershire. She is also working with the government of Barbados to implement a total FM strategy for their new judicial centre and other public buildings.
Ian Fielder's philosophy has been continuous improvement, and throughout his 36 years in FM, he has been true to that.
He is currently chief executive of the BIFM, having first worked in the health service for 13 years, then at IBM for eight, followed by 11 years with Procord/Johnson Controls. In the 1990s, he migrated into a business development role which focused on relationship management. His experience includes managing multi-million pound life-safety programmes for blue-chip corporations and FM development within healthcare facilities, from district general hospitals to ambulance stations.
Fielder became BIFM national chairman in 2000, the lowest point for the institute since its creation in 1993. It was losing members and income for the very first time. He set about restructuring the organisation and staff, spending upwards of £250,000 which raised a few eyebrows.
But Fielder had begun his work on improving the FM's lot back in 1991, when he was asked to set up a new regional structure in the south for the former AFM. At the time, he was working for IBM and teamed up with his main supplier, Procord, to get the ball rolling. He later chaired the region and moved onto the board of the newly formed BIFM. He had a role in establishing the first special-interest groups and sector forums that remains the model today.
The plan turned the BIFM into what is today: a vibrant organisation whose nearly 13,000 members belong to a widely recognised profession and professional institute. From volunteer staffing of around 16, the institute now has 33 full-time employees who have just moved into a purpose-built office in Bishop's Stortford. Previous loss-making activities in publishing and training have been transformed into successful joint ventures, one of which is
FM World magazine.
Although Fielder has, at times, wished he could have achieved things faster, patience can truly be a virtue. He believes that when success finally comes, it is built on a solid foundation for further improvements and progress.
Nottingham-born Keith Alexander trained as an architect at the Welsh School of Architecture in 1973. While working as a lecturer at Singapore's National School of Architecture in the mid-1980s, he found himself reading articles by Frank Duffy at DEGW and realised the growing importance of FM as an essential interface between good design and best use of buildings. Back in the UK, at the University of Strathclyde, he created the first Masters degree in FM. In 1990, he founded the Centre for Facilities Management (CFM). In 2000, CFM moved to the University of Salford. It has just moved again, this time as a stand-alone institution that retains strong links with Salford but also works with Manchester Metropolitan and Bolton universities.
Professor Alexander is a founder member of the pan-European academic, research and practice group, EuroFM, and a fellow of Ifma. For several years, he has represented the British Standards Institute as a nominated expert to advise CEN, the European Standards organisation, on the creation of a European Standard on FM. He is also the author of some of the first non-academic books on FM, including Facilities Management: Theory and Practice, published in 1996.
For more than 25 years, FM has focused on its position within major corporate and large organisational environments. Now, a transition is beginning, says Alexander. The future of FM lies in its ability to become involved in society at large, taking in sustainability, regeneration and corporate social responsibility.
FMs will increasingly work with other professions, including surveyors, construction and property people on large-scale regeneration projects, as they did on Manchester's Commonwealth Games and will do on London's 2012 Olympic development. They will be thinking globally but acting locally. FMs will be increasingly important to social enterprise organisations, small businesses and the third sector, areas in which the CFM is already conducting research.
If anyone can lay claim to being a founding father of FM, Hugh Channon can. He helped define not just the scope, but the actual name of FM itself. Throughout his life, he was the ultimate networker, fostering best practice and disseminating knowledge.
In the 1970s, he worked for Arthur Andersen, in what was then known as office administration. He gradually became responsible for a range of areas now identified as facilities management - as well as telecommunications and wordprocessing.
Channon joined, and later chaired, the UK chapter of the US Word Processing Association, the Telecommunications Users Association, and was a prime mover in the formation of a special FM interest group within the Institute of Administrative Management. In 1990, this group became the Institute of Facilities Management.
It was Channon who first saw the value of registering the group as an institute. In 1993, the IFM amalgamated with the Association of Facilities Management, and moved forward under the IFM banner. A few years later, the IFM became the BIFM.
Channon was a passionate believer in education and in 1982, he helped found Quadrilect, a conference and training company. Within a few years, he was designing the first events in FM. He made sure people grasped that the profession concerned management of premises and had nothing to do with IT, then the more commonly understood application of the term FM. He was guided by two principles: the application of practical knowledge and the recruitment of high-quality practitioners to lead courses. Through Quadrilect, and latterly BIFM Training, he encouraged thousands of students to advance their knowledge of FM.
Channon's success was to predict needs and to distil knowledge into a simple and clear form. He wrote many courses after experiencing situations where it would have been useful to know more. In the early 1990s, he decided that FMs would realise the need for a knowledge of outsourcing, and designed the first conference on the subject. In the event, more than 200 FMs attended. The current two-day property management course was written by him after he took part in one of the largest rent renegotiations in London.
His memory lives on through the legacy of his conference material and the annual Hugh Channon Memorial Lecture at the BIFM's annual conference.
Born and educated in what was then Rhodesia, Peter Davies considers himself first and foremost a logistics and supply-chain professional. What makes him a pioneer of FM is his ability to transfer his operational management skills to furthering the profession. After school in Salisbury, now Harare, he began working for United Transport, the logistics division of holding company BET. In 1975, he moved to South Africa to become the regional managing director for the country's Greyhound Coach Lines.
In 1986, BET invited Davis to move to London to set up a new internal support division after a major group restructuring. He noticed a subtle change in buying habits within businesses. Buyers wanted to acquire more than one service from the same supplier, called lateral buying as opposed to the traditional vertical market - many suppliers for a myriad of services. As commercial director of the newly created BET Contract Services, he co-ordinated services to the many internal clients.
The time had come for FMs to think about supply-chain issues when it came to guarding, cleaning, and all building maintenance work, he says. It became about service-level agreements, including just-in-time supply of servicing and materials - being there when the client needed the supplier.
Eventually, he took the model outside BET, securing major contracts with Vauxhall motors for their Griffin House HQ in London in 1990. ICL, which became Fujitsu, came on board, and so did Reckitt and Coleman, and Perkins Diesels. The trend was set. BET's investment paid immediate dividends as existing single-service customers decided to extend their trade with the group, seeing the advantages of contracts focusing on issues such as bulk discount, single point of contact and single billing.
In the 1990s, FM buyers in general became concerned about having all their services coming from a single supplier, even well-established ones such as BET. Peter re-branded to form BET Facilities Management. BETFM became the managing agent on behalf of the client where service delivery was provided by any supplier who gave best performance and value for money.
Davis left BET when Rentokil bought the group in the late 1990s. He is now retired in the UK and frequently visits New Zealand. His one bit of advice to facilities managers is to ensure they have the very best people management skills.
Never one to miss a good business opportunity, John Jack realised that a well-run FM department could also be a better supplier. In 1991, he was one of more than 90 IBM employees in a management buy-out of the firm's UK FM department, which became Procord.
Jack, a trained accountant, was financial controller at IBM when, in 1986, he was asked to become their property director. He understood the corporation's need to cut costs and staff and realised that the FM department was an excellent candidate for outsourcing. Until then, he says, most FM suppliers were technicians providing only M&E services. Procord could provide that but it also had the ability to mesh with their clients' business strategy, relieving clients of many worries.
Initially, Procord only had IBM as a client, but within two years, it had added many blue-chip firms, including BP, British Gas and Asda. As managing director, Jack moved Procord into space management activities and into wider FM project management, handling the clients' clutch of suppliers - making it one of the first total FM organisations. He became a vice-president for Europe at Johnson Controls when it bought Procord in 1994, just before he was floating the firm.
Jack has been a promoter of best-practice FM, especially through conference presentations. These began in the early 1990s when he talked about building in-house teams and integrating service contracts. He was also an early advocate of the soft issues within the field, such as how FM firms should improve treatment of their staff. He was also on the Association of FM's education committee.
Since leaving Procord in 1996, Jack has been on the board of many firms and has focused on investing in start-up businesses. He was chairman of Citex from 1998 to 2002, when he sold the FM side of the business to Carillion. His investments include is4profit, an information portal on the web for small businesses, and Elan Vital (UK), a medical research firm.
"FM is about being adaptable to position yourself for a business opportunity, both within and without a person's organisation," Jack says. "The current economic climate could mean that banks and other financial institutions are more approachable to the idea of well-run out-of-house FM suppliers."
A recession need not be a bad thing for FMs, says Bill Heath, managing director of Mace Macro International. It's a period where innovative FM suppliers can demonstrate they add value to a client's business, which is what Heath has been doing for the past 15 years.
Heath was born in Leamington Spa and graduated from City University in civil engineering. His first job was with construction firm George Wimpey in the late 1970s, followed by two years doing project management work in Saudi Arabia, which included building a microwave communication network. More jobs followed in the UK and in Hong Kong before he started in the property department of Xerox back in Britain in the early 1990s.
This was when large firms were jettisoning their FM departments through management buy-outs, such as the creation of Procord out of IBM. In this way, CBX was created through an MBO from Xerox in 1994 with Heath as its operations director. CBX was one of the FM sector's fully independent principal contractors. It started with small project construction and property management work and had 25 employees. By 1998, Heath was managing director and the firm was heading down the FM route with 200 people turning over £40 million a year.
In 2000, CBX was sold to Swiss-based Sulzer, and Heath eventually left for a stint at Lend Lease before signing on with Mace in 2002, where he had sole responsibility for setting up their FM division, Mace Macro, with himself as managing director. This year he has moved the division into the international arena by setting up Macro International with major contracts in Dubai and other Gulf states. Macro International recently won a major Middle East award for Best FM Consultant, specialising in high-profile projects.
Honesty, passion and sharing were the main driving forces in the life of Derek Butcher. Born in east London, he received a scholarship at the age of 11 to attend the charitable boarding school Christ's Hospital in West Sussex.
From there, Butcher joined the BBC as a house management assistant for radio at Broadcasting House in London in 1965. He went on to become the house manager and later transferred to Television Centre as assistant head of central services, rising to become head of the department.
According to a colleague, he was one of the most energetic and creative managers of his generation. He had a deft touch, whether with major savings initiatives, huge business developments, industrial disputes, weather conditions, terrorism or the challenges posed by 3,000 Bay City Rollers fans at the gates of the building.
In 1985, he met with other FMs in an upstairs room of a smoky local pub in Shepherd's Bush to create the Association of Facilities Management. Twelve people each paid their £1 to register the name, and Butcher was chairman for four years. He was also named in 1991 as the AFM's first honorary fellow and worked on the merger to form BIFM.
He signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Facility Management Association and the International Society of Facilities Executives. He also formed bonds with FM organisations in Australia, Japan, France and the Netherlands.
Butcher left the BBC in 1992 and pursued a successful consultancy career. His legacy is summed up by a colleague who knew him well: "He taught me to act honestly towards everyone, to share knowledge freely and with passion - and without thought of profit."
He died after a battle with cancer in June 2003.
Sitting around listening to Jimi Hendrix records was fine, but in 1969, Martin Pickard's father said to his son, "time to get a job." After a spell as a messenger in Post Office HQ in London, Pickard thought a move into an HR office was a step up. But paper-shuffling left him disillusioned until he saw a man wandering around with a clipboard talking to people and solving their problems. It was a "Damascus moment", he says. He became one of those accommodation officers, even though he was told the job was for people who didn't fit anywhere else.
Pickard's responsibilities went from one building to two, to five to 150. He moved over to BT when it was split off from the PTT and became East Anglia regional manager. With 35 like-minded people he set up the AFM in 1985, and had to take holidays to attend their meetings. He was told by senior management that there would never be any room within BT for FM. Happily, they changed their minds and he was seconded to Cellnet, the joint venture with Securicor, in 1988, in the early days of mobile phone development. In 1996 his team won Team of the Year and Office of the Year at the BIFM awards. When he left as property director, in 2000, he was responsible for millions of square feet of office space, including radio stations.
With Oliver Jones as chief executive and himself as managing director, they formed the multidisciplinary FM firm Citex. Global contracts ensued, with blue-chip clients including Microsoft and Cisco. In 2003, and with contracts worth £40 million, they sold Citex to Carillion. Pickard then went to services group Reliance for a year as chief executive where a major restructuring established the separate Reliance FM. But he missed direct FM work and so left to set up FM Guru, a training consultancy and event management firm that also sees him give conference presentations. Last year - again with Oliver Jones - he set up the consultancy Asset Faculty.
The biggest issue facing FMs, he says, is image and identity. Because outsiders still see them largely as the cleaning people, they are surprised that FM also deals with core business strategy. This raises the question of qualifications.
Should university-level entrance be required to qualify in FM, to ensure it establishes itself as a profession alongside engineering, accountancy and other disciplines? The debate continues.
Bev Nutt readily acknowledges that "FM is a lot easier to talk about than do." But by talking about it for more than 30 years, Professor Nutt hopes that he has encouraged FMs to raise their game.
Nutt was born in Bedford and graduated in architecture from University College, London in the late 1960s. He went directly into the architectural firm LLD, specialising in hospital and laboratory design. He entered academia as deputy director of the first think-tank, Joint Unit for Planning Research, in the 1970s. He left to become the founding director of UCL's applied research and business consultancy UCLi. Through UCLi he helped harness the intellectual expertise of the university as a whole to pass on to overseas clients, industrial companies, professional firms and government agencies.
He went on to become one of the first FM professors in the UK and held the first UCL chair in FM. He embedded FM research into the academic environment, becoming joint course director for the MSc Facility Environment and Management, and was director of research and later dean of the Faculty of the Built Environment.
Nutt was a leading light of the original AFM education committee and later became a founding member of the council of the BIFM and the first chairman of its education, training and research committee. Since retiring from UCL in 2006, he has been emeritus professor of facilities management at London University. "This is quite an honour for facilities management," he says. "Normally emeritus professors are from harder physical sciences, such as physics, chemistry and biology."
His vision of his field as a strategic business management function and his enthusiasm for his subject generated much debate when he spoke at seminars and conferences. During his brief period as a practising architect, Nutt was always more interested in how the buildings, once handed over to clients and owners, were managed. Understanding how a building helps - or hinders - those who work and live in it was foremost in his mind.
The profession, he says, still has some way to go to understand - and getting an organisation to understand - the importance of operational FM. The difficulty is pulling all the aspects of the supply chain together to support the wider business strategy.
Glaswegian Stan Mitchell left school to be an apprentice engineer with Weir Pumps before signing on with the merchant navy in the mid 1970s. For 12 years he sailed the world, gained his class one engineering certificate and rose in rank to become chief engineer. He left in the late 1980s to spend more time with his family and worked with Wang Computers, building, fitting out and running their factory in Stirling.
Wang moved him around management positions from facilities management to production control, warehousing and distribution. In these roles he became, as he says, the client of Wang's FM team.
When the company closed its factory in 1990, he set up his own FM business, Facilities Support Services, now called Key Facilities Management, of which he is still chief executive.
Key was one of the first independent FM consultancies and has branched out into Egypt in the past 18 months. Mitchell now spends a lot of time there. The country is about 20 years behind the UK in understanding the potential of FM, he says. Within the next 18 months, Key plans to develop the business across all the other Middle East countries. Also in 1990, in Glasgow, Mitchell set up the first regional group outside London of the Association of Facilities Management and served on its board. He continued serving when the AFM and IFM merged into the BIFM. He became BIFM chairman in 2004. While there, he helped set up the Partnership in FM Excellence agreement between the BIFM and the US-based International Facility Management Association and the Facility Management Association
In 2006, he set up Global FM, a Brussels-based international federation of FM member organisations. The idea is not simply networking among established bodies, but to help FMs set up their own national organisations, thereby creating an ever stronger world-wide community of talent.
He encourages FMs to raise their competencies and helps the BIFM set up programmes to this effect. This remains important in a profession where there is still much misunderstanding of what an FM does, and how he or she can help a business become more profitable. Here, the current recession could prove an opportunity for FMs to get the ear of the boardroom.
The parents of Welsh-born Ilfryn Price moved to Australia in 1966, and it was there he got his first degree. He returned to England for a doctorate in geology at Cambridge, and started work with BP in 1975. While working in China, from 1983 to 1985,he began his journey from pure geology to spacial geography.
He was engaged in making the relationship between the UK personnel and their Chinese "shadow" work. Cross-professional teams would meet in project rooms where they had to ensure everybody gave their best to communicate their work and discuss options.
Back in the UK by 1989, he headed a research group in London where he put into practice lessons learnt in China about workplace layout. Too often the workplace was designed to keep the estate costs down, with cubicles for offices and few areas for socialising. Price wanted an office where engineers could spread out drawings on large tables to stimulate communication and areas to encourage chance encounters.
In 1991, when the company was looking to improve its working methods, he made the formal shift into change management. He led a small global team and looked at theories of "organisation as an ecology", which resembled the ideas of Frank Becker at Cornell University in the US at the time.
Price left BP in 1993 to set up his own change management consultancy whose clients were not specifically FM-related. A meeting with Fari Akhlaghi, a consultant and academic and a fellow of BIFM, led to him becoming a visiting professor at Sheffield Hallam University where Akhlaghi was teaching. In 1997, Price became a full-time member of staff as professor of innovation management within the Facilities Management Graduate Centre.
He has published extensively on how an office should be about geography and pathways that increase informal interaction. His special interests are the processes of innovation and change in organisations, including applications of systems thinking and the unwritten rules and complexity.
Price is acknowledged and consulted by public bodies such as Cabe, the Office of Government Commerce and the Audit Commission for work on how the built environment impacts on business.
Over the past 25 years, Franklin Becker has seen FM move from the basement to the boardroom. In this time, he has continually argued that FM could and should be a strategic function supporting core business activity. Innovation and inventiveness should be just as much a part of FM as of any research and development organisation.
But apart from corporate strategies, he believes FMs must deal with how their businesses affect, and are affected by, the wider environment, considering how people live as well as work. In this respect, British and European FM is more advanced than the US profession. But there is a danger that FM is returning to being more tactical and reactionary, a trend that might continue in the current economic climate. His message to FMs is not to lose sight of the regional and global issues of sustainability.
Professor Becker holds degrees in social and environmental psychology from the University of California at Davis. Since 1972, he has held academic positions at Cornell University in New York state, where he is chair of the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis and director of the International Workplace Studies Program.
His research has focused on how the physical environment interacts with factors such as organisational culture, work processes and employee demographics to influence organisational performance. In 1980, also at Cornell, he co-founded the world's first facility planning and management programme.
Becker is a former board director of the International Facility Management Association, from which he received the Outstanding Educator and Distinguished Author awards. His latest book is Offices at Work: Uncommon Workspace Strategies that Add Value and Improve Performance, published in 2004. He is a founding editor of the Journal of Corporate Real Estate and Journal of Facilities Management and remains on their editorial boards.
Becker is also a member of the board of directors of the Foundation for Interior Design Education and Research. He is president of design and management consultancy IDEAworks, whose clients include Bank of America, Hewlett-Packard, Barclays Bank and National Australia Bank.
Frank Duffy says FM is the software that drives the architectural hardware. This may be taken for granted today, but back in the 1960s, his belief ruffled many feathers within the architectural establishment in Europe, particularly the UK. He questioned one of the pillars of the profession: that a building is a single structure, an icon that should remain untouched. "A building was considered timeless, and any changes to it, would be made over the architect's dead body," he said.
Dr Duffy's career has taken him from his home town of Berwick-upon-Tweed to architectural school in London and then to graduate work in America, where he gained a doctorate in space planning at Princeton University. He began working for an architectural firm in New York which understood offices could be adaptable for different uses and need not remain as the architect had originally designed. He also took his cue from new German ideas, that offices were information networks, whereas in the UK they were simply viewed as places in which to make money.
In 1971, Duffy was back in the UK, where he worked on space planning for IBM in London, Helsinki and Milan. Building on that experience, he co-founded the office design consultancy DEGW in 1973. The business world was globalising and Americans wanted flexible office space across Europe. He understood that innovative FM was going to be central to this. He continues to divide his time between DEGW's offices in London, New York and San Francisco.
Despite the current understanding of the importance of FM to business core activities, Duffy warns against FMs falling into a supply-chain frame of mind. He says innovation in space planning must not be driven out by a procurement department's wish to maintain preferred suppliers, to keep within contract budgets and simply to save money.
He has been editor-in-chief of Facilities, one of the first dedicated newsletter on the subject, first published in 1982. With Alex Henney, he co-authored The Changing City (1989), which analysed how the geography of the city and its buildings changed in response to international growth and the deregulation of the 1986 "Big Bang". His other books include The Changing Workplace (1992), which charts global development of workplace design over 25 years and New Environments for Working - The re-design of offices and environmental systems for new ways of working (1998). He has also been a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Bernard Williams was one of the first people to see the potential of strategic facilities management. He has built his career on bringing FMs and other professionals together to ensure that businesses understand the gains to be had from linking FM to business goals. Williams graduated from London's Regent Street Polytechnic - now University of Westminster - as a quantity surveyor in 1959. Immediately after, he went on to do his national service in the RAF, surveying airfields. He then worked for Fulham Council and later joined London QS firm Dearle & Henderson before founding Bernard Williams Associates (BWA) in 1969.
The 1970s were a time when space planning was in its infancy, and he began working for Frank Duffy's new firm. Duffy needed a QS to set out cost options for his clients, and Williams shared his understanding that buildings were dynamic and could be changed to suit clients after they were built. What was missing at the time was economic data on what happens if different options were followed.
This led Williams to critically analyse building economics, with BWA at the fore, setting up benchmarking programmes. This holistic approach to FM which began in the late 1970s remains a cornerstone today for many FMs at senior level. By the late 1980s, the increasingly complicated services in buildings, from automated entries and regional heating and air-conditioning systems to soft areas such as postal rooms and catering, have come under the FM umbrella.
Williams was chief executive of BWA until he retired in 2003, but he remains as a consultant with the company. He started up another business, International Facilities and Property Information which publishes CD-roms, books and benchmarking software.
He sees a growing trend for FM professionals to be working closely with financial, property and human resources staff. Even now, he says, some firms are creating a kind of super-department in which everybody works within the discipline of building economics.
Barry Varcoe, group property director at Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), is passionate about FM. He has championed FM as an integral part of the whole-life cost of property since leaving the South Bank Polytechnic in 1984 with an honours degree in building economics. He joined quantity surveyors Bernard Williams Associates which developed the premises audit concept to include the cost performance of running a building and later the concept of space audits and corporate productivity. At Johnson Controls, his work included global strategy research and innovation.
He joined the RBS in 2002, and his £2.5 billion portfolio includes 5,000 properties across 53 countries.
Since the mid 1990s, Varcoe has been involved in the Atlanta-based CoreNet, an association for corporate real estate and workplace executives within major multinational companies from the Fortune and Global 1000. As chair-elect, he currently chairs the strategic planning committee that looks at where the profession and association are headed. He takes over as chairman next spring. He has been a guest lecturer at Bartlett School of Graduate Studies within the Faculty of the Built Environment at University College London.
He believes FMs have come a long way from the "boiler-room" era of the 1970s and 1980s and have gained the respect of many UK organisations. But, he says, they must keep up the fight for relevance as an essential service that adds value to a business, and not fall back into an FM silo and let property experts work alone.