FM Spotlight

FM Spotlight: Thomas Miner – Kaplan

Thomas oversees about 200,000 square feet of Kaplan space in Manhattan and Brooklyn. While Thomas is stationed at KTP Headquarters in Midtown, he also assists at two Kaplan International Centers, MPrep, SocialCode, Slate and the corporate apartments. He manages relationships with our service provider network in NYC, manages moves, and identifies/responds to a wide variety of facilities based issues and requests. Thomas has taken on minor project management responsibilities and some preventative maintenance responsibilities as well.

"Over the past couple of years Tom Miner has been a pleasure to work with.  His attention to detail, technical knowledge, and communication/people skills are an asset to our organization.  Tom is a conscientious worker who understands a sense of urgency is of utmost importance in the management of facilities." - Carl Thomas, National Facilities Director, Kaplan

What is one thing that no one knows about you?
“I was a Lexington, KY Police Officer for a year. While working in sports after college, I met my wife. At the time, I was running the Food and Beverage Department for a class AA ball club just outside of Knoxville, TN. My wife and I were getting more serious, so I decided to move to Lexington, KY while she finished grad school. Having about five nickels to my name and in need of a job, I saw an advertisement for the Lexington Police Department. With a bit of naivety, I thought, ‘this will be so easy’. It turns out, it is not that easy. However, being a police officer was exactly what I needed at this time in my life. It taught me discipline, humility, compassion and self-confidence. I was very lucky to have the opportunity to work here and I still keep in touch with a few officers.”

How did you get into the Facilities/Real Estate field?
“After my wife graduated from Grad School, we wanted to move to NYC. I knew a headhunter here, and I had been emailing with her. She was able to get my foot in the door at 21st Century Fox. I started in the mail room and a year later a position opened up for a Maintenance Tech. Somehow, I managed to convince the folks at Fox that I knew what I was doing in the facilities world.”

Tell us about a favorite project highlight.
“One of the first things I noticed at Kaplan was the white boards. They were a little bit outdated, and it was the first thing I noticed when I walked into the conference rooms. Unbeknownst to my boss, I put together a small presentation and sent it to him. He loved it and said he would pass it up the chain. He did, but it kind of fizzled out somewhere along the way. Over the next year, there were a few opportunities to bring it up. I did, but unfortunately to no avail. Finally, I caught a break when our CTO asked for a new white board. I was able to get him a very stylish, glass white board. Over the next two months, I installed 5 more. This shows that persistence pays off.”

What is your greatest success story?
“Mitchell Rossin has worked at Kaplan for 30 years in various capacities. Upon arriving at Kaplan, I was told that while I was not Mitchell's manager, I would be supervising his day-to-day. I quickly understood this would be no easy task. Mitchell is one of the kindest people I've ever met. However over those 30 years, he has developed some negative work habits that had to change. The most important thing I've learned in my professional career is that being able to relate to people is vital. Mitchell and I were able to find these commonalities and his behavior has changed a great deal. Taking more responsibility and ownership, clearer communication and attitude are the areas that I saw the greatest change. Mitchell has had a profound effect on me.”

Tell us about a challenge or obstacle that you face in the Real Estate/Facilities world.
“During my experience at Fox, I had the opportunity to go to City Tech for Basic Electrical/Plumbing Maintenance. The electrical class was particularly challenging for me. I had no real hands on experience with electric and was afraid of it. Even though the course was challenging, I valued the knowledge that I was gaining. Over time and with some persistence, I was able to both understand electricity and gain some soft electrical skills.”

What learning experience would you pass onto future FM’s?
“Take every opportunity you have to learn something new. Engineers/project managers/electricians/plumbers/HVAC techs are a great resource for you and they are willing to share information.”

Interviewed by Sonya Verny of IA Interior Architects, IFMA NYC Secretary