It’s easy for facility managers to think of themselves as having a bricks and mortar job. This year’s FMXcellence recognition program shows how accurate that view is — and how limited. Behind all the heavy equipment and sophisticated technology of the projects that received recognition, you can see the other side of facility management — the so-called “soft skills.” Even if those skills aren’t “hard,” that doesn’t mean they are easy to master.

EMD Serono, Inc., was honored for design and construction of a 140,000-square-foot R&D lab. With high-performance chillers, air-handling units and building envelope, the project earned LEED Gold. Just as impressive is the culture of safety created for the project, which resulted in no lost time recordable injuries over 370,000 man hours.

• At Munich Reinsurance America’s headquarters, an upgrade project cut energy use by 40 percent compared to the average in the 10 years before the project. To justify the HVAC, energy management, lighting and other technologies involved, the facility department worked closely with finance to justify the project and identify incentives that the company could take advantage of.

• The effort to transplant new chilled water and emergency power systems into the infrastructure at Crouse Hospital meant more than new switchgear, chillers, generators and cooling towers. Ensuring patient safety required a communications plan involving hospital administration, clinical and operations leaders, and physicians and caregivers. 

• Software was far from the whole story in the creation of a Web-based work order system by the Office of Security Programs (OSP) for the Architect of the Capitol. It took negotiation, process analysis, education and two-way communication to make the project a success.

For these facility departments, and many others, facility management goes far beyond the physical facilities. If your department has added value to your organization, consider applying for FMXcellence recognition.