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Facilities Management Networking Luncheon

In the fall of 2016, Cowley First-Cowley County Economic Development teamed up with Cowley First Business Partner, Mahaney Roofing, to form a Facilities Management (FM) network in Cowley County.

Larger metros such as the Wichita area have formal organizations such as an International Facility Management Association, (IFMA) chapter. While the Cowley County Facilities Management Network has been informal with no dues or membership requests, the intent is similar; to connect professionals who have chosen or been thrust into the role of facilities manager or maintenance.

According to Wikipedia, a facility manger is an interdisciplinary business function that coordinates space, infrastructure, people and organization. It is often associated with the administration of office blocks, arenas, schools, universities, sporting complexes, convention centers, shopping complexes, hospitals, hotels, manufacturing and shipping.

IFMA outlines 11 core competencies of facility management which are: communication, emergency preparedness and business continuity, environmental stewardship and sustainability, finance and business, human factors, leadership and strategy, operations and maintenance, quality, real estate and property management, and technology.

There are accredited programs and certifications that can be gained, but many people in the profession have earned their position from hands on experience, having a broad range of skill sets necessary in facilities maintenance or have a strong back ground in project planning and leadership or business operations.

Cowley First and Mahaney Roofing are working together to build and grow a FM network right here in Cowley County to provide support to local facilities mangers and maintenance techs. The Cowley County Facilities Management Network gathers over lunch on a quarterly basis and invites speakers to present a topic that aligns with on one of the eleven core competencies. The last speaker, Nikki Chavez, iSi Environmental, Wichita, spoke about environmental and safety regulations.

The growing network had close to 40 people at the June luncheon sponsored by Foley Rental. Businesses in attendance range from nursing homes and hospitals, schools and colleges, manufacturing and warehousing. The goal is to continue to grow the network and have more people who fill the role of facilities manager or maintenance to attend and connect with others who share similar roles.

“We are always looking to fill a gap of services in the area and this is definitely a group of professionals that were lacking networking opportunities. Cowley First is extremely pleased with the enthusiastic response from local businesses and look forward to seeing the luncheons continue to grow in attendance.” Deb Firebaugh, Cowley First Assistant and FM coordinator.

Anyone interested in information regarding the Cowley County Facilities Management group is encouraged to contact Deb Firebaugh at Cowley First via email dfirebaugh@cowleycounty.org or call (620) 221-9951 or (620) 442-3094.

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