They're the people who are in charge of buying everything in a university, office complex or government building-from the carpeting to the furniture to the heating system. They're facility managers, and they're the perfect market for anyone selling any product that goes in a building.
Managing Facility Managers
"Anywhere there is a significant building, perhaps 100,000 square feet or larger, there's bound to be a facility professional in charge of managing that building," says Tim Rowe, vice president of marketing at Trade Press Publishing Corp., the publisher of Building Operating Management magazine. "A facility manager is generally responsible for the operations of the facility, from the boiler room to the rooftop. They generally have a staff of professionals who work under them in different capacities, such as electricians, carpenters or maintenance personnel."
And their responsibilities start early. Facility managers are involved in specifying a geographic location for a facility and working with the architects, general contractor and builder on the specifications of the building, according to Leland Kroll, president of Kroll Direct Marketing. "These folks are very broad-natured in their scope and often wear lots of different hats," he says.
Rowe estimates that 85 percent of facility managers are male, and their ages range from the mid-40s and up. The facility management profession is starting to face a "graying" issue because managers are starting to retire, but there are fewer and fewer people coming up the ranks to replace them.
Facility managers can be found in any geographic area, but they tend to be located in states with larger cities, such as California, New York and Illinois.
Keep in mind that facility managers are not the same as building managers. "A lot of people muddy the distinction," says Susan Coene, publisher of Today's Facility Manager. "Building managers are employed by a real estate company, and they don't have as deep a decision-making power as the facility manager, so you have to be very careful about imitation."