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The Future is Global, says IFMA’s Chairman Graham Tier

Graham Tier, IFMA Chairman

Graham Tier, IFMA Chairman

The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) has been absent a President & CEO since June, but management and the administration team of IFMA in the Houston office, the virtual staff, and the Executive Committee are keeping the engine of IFMA running while they count down the weeks to the tour of the Charlotte Motor Speedway, available to 50 World Workplace attendees who raced to sign up in time.

“We’ve built quite a bit of resiliency into IFMA’s operational structure. Thanks to regional boards, self-governed component groups and a top-notch professional staff, the organization is thriving,” says Graham Tier (above), IFMA Chairman who is also Head of Property Facilities Management at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong.

“The IFMA global board is closely working with our interim chief operating officer (COO) to ensure that daily operations remain running smoothly. Our executive committee (EC) consists of FM professionals with a wide range of experience from three of the key regions served by IFMA: North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific,” says Tier. The EC meets regularly to discuss issues and track progress.

IFMAAt the same time, the COO is aligning staff to focus on three core areas: Membership; Conference & Events; and Training & Development.

“Finding a CEO replacement is a high priority, but it’s also of the utmost importance that we select the right person for the role,” relays Tier. “We’ll work to balance identifying the best fit to lead IFMA through the rapid pace of industry change with speed and are overall aiming to fill the position by the end of this year.”

The Executive Search Committee — comprised of Tier, First Vice Chair John Carrillo, Second Vice Chair Peter Ankerstjerne and Past Chair Bill O’Neill — continues to develop search criteria and is reviewing those criteria against various options. The committee intends to appoint an international search firm in the near future.

Developing the 2021 strategic plan

Earlier this year, Tier embarked on a process with the board to develop the 2021 strategic plan, which now has been aligned with the staff objectives and key focus areas for the association.

“My theme is stability as we work together to elevate IFMA to new levels in the global market. I am surrounded by talented people who are helping me make the right moves, and we are very focused on what needs to be done. I will continue to make sure we are represented around the world in all FM markets,” declares Tier.

The IFMA board has identified strategic themes as part of its 2021 strategic plan, which includes milestones to ensure IFMA remains on track toward larger goals.

“It’s truly an exciting time to be a leader in the FM field, and IFMA is well positioned to drive the conversation. We’re accomplishing this by building strategic alliances, both in the corporate world and among other associations, to advance the interests of IFMA and our members,” Tier explains.

“We’re also refining our approach to providing FM educational content, and I think you’ll see some exciting progress this fiscal year on making training options more accessible. At the same time, we continue to deliver value through our world-class events, publications and research.”

Vision for the global FM community

Tier’s vision for IFMA is to continue to expand its role as the world’s preeminent member-centric association for FM professionals. As the global FM community continues to coalesce, IFMA’s value and influence are increasing, which means IFMA has a responsibility to drive thought leadership, global standards and responsible business practices within the industry, Tier indicates.

“One theme seems to persist no matter who I’m talking to, where they are, or which piece of the built environment puzzle they occupy: The future for FM as a global discipline is very positive. There’s a wealth of opportunity in FM in both emerging and mature markets. For example,” he says, “the recent publication of ISO standards for FM — something IFMA worked toward for decades — has already begun to increase global practice consistency.”

IFMA also has collaborated with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to produce professional guidance notes on procurement and strategic FM. These have been incredibly well received, Tier explains, which he believes highlights that FM professionals are increasingly seeking input on best practices.

World Workplace China in Beijing

According to Hong Kong resident Tier, the FM market in China is poised for explosive growth, and IFMA China is performing well as it is in position to shepherd and support broad adoption of strategic FM standards throughout the country. Earlier this year, IFMA appointed a new director for the region, and Tier says she has developed an impressive business plan to take China to the next level.

This sets the stage for World Workplace China, now in its second year and scheduled for mid-September in Beijing. Last year’s event gathered attendees from firms like CBRE, AIG, HSBC, PWC and Huawei.

An Era of FM​ Technology: Motivate Innovation, is the theme for World Workplace Beijing, a nexus of tech growth, and may contribute to the expected attendance from leading multinationals. “The nature of the market in China is fundamentally different than the fully mature FM markets in the United States and Europe,” says Tier. ” While our flagship World Workplace Conference and Expo in Charlotte draws thousands of FM professionals from around the world, the event in China is focused on attracting top thought leaders and industry mavens in a more targeted setting.” Last year’s event in Shanghai drew attendees from 11 countries and regions, and IFMA anticipates an even stronger showing this year.