The Facility Management role is changing rapidly as office needs and workplaces adjust to socio-economic shifts in the way business is done.

To get a deeper insight into how the role of the Facility Manager is changing, Workspaces spoke with Caroline Horton, an Assistant Facility Manager AT 2U, Inc, which partners with top universities to power the world’s best online degree programs. Caroline brings unique experiences to the Facility Management field, having worked both internationally and throughout the United States before starting her FM career in New York City.

Caroline is an active member in the NYC IFMA Chapter and its Y.E.L.P. committee. and won IFMA’s Emerging Facilities Manager Leader Award in 2014.

We were able to discuss industry trends and what it is like to bring a unique perspective to the profession.

Do you have any advice for Aspiring Facility Managers?

My advice to anyone looking to pursue a career in Facility Management is to never stop learning (click to tweet).

While this answer might be a cliché to many, it’s important to consider the wealth of knowledge readily available. For example, there are numerous resources available for aspiring FMs who want to learn more about building systems, capital improvements, project management and strategic thinking. The list goes on, the basics of thermodynamics, electrical engineering; for whatever you need to know, a resource exists out there.

We are at such a prime moment where information is available at the touch of our fingers. Why not use it and share with the rest of the FM community?

Another big piece of advice is to find a mentor. To learn from someone with 10 plus years of experience in the industry is priceless. Not only will they share their thought process, and real-world experiences, but a mentor has connections to help you unlock resources that would otherwise be unavailable.

I’ve kept it pretty brief here but for any newcomers to the industry I suggest reading “Three First Lessons for an Aspiring Facility Manager”.

What are some of the biggest trends you see in the facility management field right now?

One of the biggest trends in the FM field right now is enhancing the user experience (UX) in the workplace. The workplace is no longer only about the company and the bottom line at the end of the day. The emphasis is shifting towards how teams function and use a space to collaborate, to create a new product, and essentially be part of something greater.

Another trend is the incorporation of technology programs into everyday facility operations such as CMMS to manipulate sophisticated data at various levels. Data collection and analysis has become an integral and critical part in any facility management team. Utilization of data serves as a tool to evaluate outcomes and predict unforeseen problems within the space and its building equipment.

As someone newer to the field, you likely bring a lot of new perspective. What new perspectives or ideas do you feel you are bringing to the field based on feedback?

As someone new to the field and of a different background, I’m able to have a lot of great conversations with other FMs. The feedback I receive is valuable because of the diverse backgrounds and levels of experience of the Facility Managers and service providers I’ve spoken with.

At 2U, I look at the Facility Management field as an opportunity to 1) build relationships, 2) share information, and 3) enhance our knowledge in the field.

With the use of technology and different social media platforms, we can take advantage of all three of these opportunities with greater ease. For example, right now I can access online articles from GEFMA (German Facility Management Association) and learn more about their sustainability projects or brainstorm with another FM from the United Kingdom to resolve a facility problem in New York City.

This globalization in the FM world is a useful tool in learning more about what other facilities teams are doing in their spaces and having the opportunity to implement their outcomes in ours. (click to tweet)

What is your #1 priority over the next year?

Over the course of the next year, I would like to continue to increase my level of contribution to 2U with steadily better quality outcomes – I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with such an incredible team!

I also plan to complete my FMP certification and learn more about the field through different projects, building relationships, and attending educational workshops and conferences. Very excited for 2017!