Published on: May 29, 2020
As Facilities Program Manager, Jose oversees facilities operations programs and strategy across Facebook’s North American and South American regions. Jose primarily focuses on designing, implementing, measuring and refining strategic operational initiatives and projects throughout the Americas with the intention of improving overall performance through process standardization, increased operational efficiencies and resource modeling. Jose also works on broader global initiatives and represents the Americas region by providing region-specific approaches that will be accounted for in key global operational decisions.
“Jose is truly the charismatic leader of our Fac Ops team in the Americas. Though Jose serves as Facebook’s Facilities Program Manager for our North and South America regions, Jose has gone above and beyond over the past year to fill the shoes of our prior Head of Americas Fac Ops, who departed Facebook last June. While we’d like to backfill that role soon, we have been so fortunate to have had Jose emerge as a leader to not only the entire Americas Fac Ops team, but also as a key player in our global facilities org. The team rallies around him and follows his example and guidance with the utmost respect – respect that he has earned over his past four years at Facebook. I feel very grateful to have Jose on my team!” – Nick Raby, Director, Real Estate & Facilities - North America at Facebook
What is one thing that no one knows about you?
“Most people don’t know that I was a Division 1 College tennis player and, more importantly, that I officiated tennis matches at nine US Opens. I was a linesman for professional tennis players like Serena and Venus Williams, Roger Federer, Djokovic, etc. At the time, I was the youngest tennis official to ever officiate at tennis grand slam event.”
How did you get into the Facilities/Workplace field?
“My interest began with real estate in my junior year of college when I interned several summers at a real estate company. I worked with a real estate broker to collect property data, develop property brochures and even went on to get my New York Real Estate License. During my senior year of college, I realized that commercial real estate would not be a stable job to have upon graduating college ,and I was completely lost on what career I should pursue. A professor and mentor of mine asked if I had ever heard of “Facilities,” and I immediately thought it was related to air conditioning and heating; I became quickly disinterested.
My mentor wanted me to learn more about the field and suggested that I shadow her brother, a Senior Global Facilities Manager for PepsiCo at the time, and I took her up on her offer. Three months after graduating, I started a contractor role at PepsiCo as an event coordinator, setting up meeting rooms and reserving meeting rooms. This was not what I expected to do upon graduating college, but I took it on with great love as I was hungry to learn. At PepsiCo, I learned, asked questions and came to realize that I wanted to not only pursue a career in Facilities Management, but I also realized that I desired to pursue grad school and obtained my MS in Facilities Management from Pratt Institute in New York.”
Tell us about a favorite project highlight.
“Most of the projects I’ve worked on are typically single, career-long projects, but at Facebook I’ve had the privilege to work on several amazing projects. My favorite project was opening and operating the 225 Park Ave South (PAS) building, which consisted of an initial move about 600 employees – the largest I had ever managed. This project was phased, and while it had its challenges, it was the first project (my baby!) that really tested my ability as a Facilities Manager and leader. Over the last four years, I’ve managed our growing footprint at 225 PAS, and it’s been amazing to see it flourish.”
What is your greatest success story?
“My greatest success story is my parents’ story. My father was born about 92 years ago in authoritarian Spain under Franco rule, and at 17 years old, he hid on a ship set to leave Spain toward France. When he arrived in France, he was put in a concentration camp, escaped a year later and traveled the world on a Greek ship. My father struggled getting by and his immediate family did not know of his whereabouts, but he had the courage to continue looking for a better way of life. My father eventually arrived in NYC, where he became a sous chef for a prestigious political club, meeting and cooking shrimp for the likes of Jacqueline Kennedy.
My mother was born and raised in poverty-stricken Dominican Republic and lost her mother at the age of 8. My mother had to grow up fast and managed to care for her younger sisters by having the courage to understand the needs of her family and work hard to obtain them. You may ask why I haven’t mentioned a specific success story related to myself – here’s why: I am my parents’ success story, and they are mine. I am a “little, red-headed kid from the Bronx,” and I’ve had the privilege of working hard and to work for great companies like PepsiCo and Facebook. Their story shows that anyone can make it if you have the determination, drive and resilience – this is my success story.”
Tell us about a challenge or obstacle that you face in the Real Estate/Facilities world.
“My career-long mission has been to make sure that Facilities Management gets a “seat at the table.” The biggest obstacle I face is not being seen as a valued professional in the Facilities Management field because many people don’t understand the true nature of the role and all that it entails in order to ensure the office spaces that they enjoy run smoothly behind the scenes. For this reason, I’ve worked on my ability to be a thought leader in the field and develop relationships with key personnel in my organization so that they have the trust and confidence that, as a Facilities Manager, I make decisions for safety and in the best interest of employees.
Most organizations see Facilities as a mere cost center, but Facilities is more than that and working on changing that narrative has been my career mission. This is why I am happy to be part of the GWI IFMA committee, whose main mission is to reach young adults in local communities and to educate them on the possibilities in pursuing a career in Facilities Management. This is why I also kickstarted a partnership with YearUp this year to onboard Facilities interns so that they learn about Facilities Management and possibly further their career in FM. My work has only started, but at the end, I want to know that I was able to further the Facilities Management roles as a valued partner in making important, high-level organizational decisions.”
What learning experience would you pass onto future FMs?
“I would let future FMs know that they are thought leaders, that they should be open and take the moment to understand the entire Real Estate & Facilities life cycle (Planning, Transactions, Project Management, Facilities Operations, Operations and Maintenance) and how each component harmonizes with one another. More importantly, value yourself as a professional and don’t be shy to provide input and feedback.”
Interviewed by Sonya Verny of IA Interior Architects, IFMA NYC Secretary