SAME’s Communities of Interest provide opportunities for members to become involved nationally with other professionals focused on a particular technical field or demographic within the A/E/C industry. The Facility Asset Management COI, one of the largest Communities of Interest with over 600 members, seeks to improve the efficient, effective, and sustainable stewardship of federal facilities through research and advocacy of industry best practices, fostering educational and professional development opportunities, and addressing current and future facility management issues.

Bricks & Clicks recently chatted with Lisa Cooley, Vice President of Federal Solutions with Gordian, and Chair of the FAM COI in 2021, on her leadership vision for the COI, what she’s looking forward to most in the upcoming 2021 Virtual Facilities Management Workshop, and where she see the future of facility management headed in the post-pandemic world.

Bricks & Clicks: Can you describe the aims of the Facility Asset Management COI, and the value it provides to members?

Cooley: The Facility Asset Management COI is one of the largest COIs, and sits at the intersection of so many topics. We seek to be a hub connecting to other COIs and to SAME partners around a broad range of issues that include resiliency, emerging technologies, cybersecurity, and advances in mission-driven decision making. In alignment with SAME’s strategic goals, we are doing that through Industry-Government Engagement and partnerships with other organizations.

We are also seeking to expand the COI’s reach in two important ways. One is by transcending the “facilities” in our title to include a range of specialized facilities (like healthcare) and even non-facility assets (such as pavements). The other is by recruiting and engaging beyond DOD. There are great opportunities for the cross-pollination of ideas and best practices between DOD and civilian federal agency practitioners, as well as academic institutions and local utility owners—and we want to facilitate that. We want to be the go-to resource for subject matter expertise and sharing around the management of existing assets.

Bricks & Clicks:  What are you most looking forward to during the 2021 Virtual Facilities Management Workshop (July 26-30)?

Cooley: I’m really looking forward to the session being put together by Glady Singh, our COI Steering Committee lead for Technology & Innovation, on the Innovation Journey underway at Tyndall Air Force Base. It’s a perfect example of how the COI is leveraging the connections and experience within the community for sharing of cutting-edge work. I’m also hoping that the virtual format will allow many more people to participate as we seek to expand the COI. There are many technical fields that are intertwined with facility asset management; so there are a lot of professionals that by being engaged in the discussions and presentations can enhance the dialogue for all.

Also, everyone is very anxious to get back to in-person events, but not everyone can get approval for travel, especially our government stakeholders who are so important to the COI.

Bricks & Clicks: What are the major challenges you see facing facility managers today?

Cooley: The same challenges they have always had: doing more with less. Federal Facility and asset management really is a process to strategically deciding how to deploy limited resources. What is transformative is the way data, technology, and advanced systems are helping us to make better decisions than we have in previous times. From BUILDER and Enterprise SMS implementation to Installations of the Future initiatives, we are starting to get a handle on how we can leverage innovations to do our job better.

Climate change is another increasingly acute focus—how do we make our facilities and infrastructure more resilient? These are only increasing in urgency, and the solutions to the problems will come from collaboration that networks like the FAM COI can enable.

“We are also seeking to expand the COI’s reach in two important ways. One is by transcending the ‘facilities’ in our title to include a range of specialized facilities (like healthcare) and even non-facility assets (such as pavements). The other is by recruiting and engaging beyond DOD.”

Bricks & Clicks: In your day job, how is Gordian addressing facility management issues and supporting good stewardship of federal facilities?

Cooley: Gordian supports this community through cost data and related technology and services, which is critical to good decision-making. We’ve staked a leadership role in the evolution of BUILDER SMS through our cooperative agreement with the U.S. Army Engineer Research & Development Center’s Civil Engineering Research Laboratory to inform the system with better cost data for better informational outputs. We are also excited to be engaged with several DOD branches that are re-envisioning Job Order Contracting and related unit-price based contracts as a more efficient and data-driven way of getting SRM (Sustainment, Restoration and Modernization) work done.

Gordian has been closely associated with this execution methodology since the company’s inception. Now, enterprise cloud enablement stands to transform an old standby delivery method into another powerful informational tool, and we are excited to be leading the way.

Bricks & Clicks: What would you say is your favorite part of being Chair of the Facility Asset Management COI?

Cooley: The people I get to interact and share ideas with! Our COI Steering Committee is a heady group of government and industry leaders. I’m in awe of their passion for the topic of asset management.

I’m also really inspired by the vision that SAME Executive Director Joe Schroedel and the Society’s national leadership has laid out for our organization, and the way we are seeking to expand partnerships with other organizations and truly be the ones bringing everyone together in support of national security engineering, infrastructure, and facility-related issues.

Virtual FM Workshop is your opportunity to connect with the federal Facilities Management and Public Works Communities, as well as members and organizations nationally across government, defense, industry, and academia. You will engage with high-level decision-makers and thought leaders from across the service branches and federal agencies and access the tools, techniques, protocols, best practices, and analysis needed to make important decisions. Watch a personal invitation from Lisa Cooley below and register today!