How has the Facility Optimization Solutions (FOS) Team evolved from where it started to what it is today?
The creation of FOS was in response to the needs of our clients, who are very interested in proactively maintaining their facilities over the immediate, short and long term. In 2013, we started with two employees. Currently we’re up to 22 dedicated subject matter experts across multiple offices, and we are continually growing. Not only have we grown in numbers, but we’ve significantly improved our process and client deliverables. As a team, we’ve assessed over 200 million sf in the last three years alone. We’ve done work coast-to-coast in 34 states and two provinces in Canada and completed successful projects in collaboration with 12 CannonDesign offices.
How would you describe your multidisciplinary team?
We have a great dedicated staff with unique experience, positioned to collaborate with our clients across the firm. Our team members are nimble, always prepared to roll up their sleeves and solve a new problem or challenge. And they are not just architects and engineers — they’re also constructors, estimators, facility managers and software designers.
Speaking of software engineers – the FOS software. What is it and how do you integrate it into your practice?
The software is called FOCUS™: Facility Optimization Client Utility Software. I’m proud to say that it is top-of-the-line in the industry, and even prouder to say we built it from scratch. We went from pad and paper, to tablets, to iPhone 6+ mobile devices with voice-to-text. We are able to do live data collection right from the field into the software. Our team is able to pair this data with strategic recommendations and highly accurate cost estimates prepared by our in-house construction cost estimators as an integrated piece of FOCUS™.
What trends are you seeing right now in your FOS world?
There is a big upswing in integration and selection of computer maintenance management systems to run clients’ work orders, which involves a facility assessment in order to populate the system. We’re seeing a lot of preventative maintenance planning and also five- to ten-year capital improvement plans. ADA compliance is also becoming a big hot-button issue for higher education, community and civic clients, as they are trying to mitigate their risk. Lastly, we’re seeing more due-diligence studies where our clients want to either buy or sell property in order to consolidate or expand.
Every day brings a new challenge, a new client requirement, and a new idea. Day to day, it can be reactionary, because we are addressing the ever-changing needs of our clients who may be facing unexpected challenges. The more challenges we solve for our clients, the more we get to be in front of them with creative and innovative solutions, and the more value we bring to them. I can honestly say there isn’t such a thing as a typical day, with each day being a little bit different, but that is what makes our work exciting!
Since your team is made up of so many disciplines, is there something that you consistently look for in a new team member?
Someone who is hands-on, is energized by collaboration, and who loves to solve problems. Our team is made up of a range of experienced professionals, so the common qualities we look for include strength in character, strong work ethic, and interest in the built environment. FOS is like a family, so we definitely look for a team player that will bring a strong, and perhaps non-traditional skill set as a way to build upon our existing talent.