This month’s FM spotlight is Janet Acevedo. Janet oversees Facilities and Mailroom Services for a Hedge Fund in Midtown NYC. Her role involves overseeing daily office operations in NY and NJ and project management for the firm’s sites outside of the tristate area. Her areas of responsibility range from office maintenance, HVAC and electrical to planning, design and construction.
"Janet developed a true facilities “program” to a large and well-established infrastructure, which includes nine facilities (approximately 240,000 square feet), in multiple time zones. Janet carries a wealth of experience in all facilities matters, such as construction, maintenance, UPS/generators, HVAC, and budgeting. Her attention to detail is unparalleled, serving not only the best interest of the firm but also the needs of each individual staff member." - Charlie Veneziano, Director of IT, Hedge Fund in Midtown NYC
What is one thing no one knows about you?
"After achieving my B.S. in Marketing and Psychology, I pursued a Master’s Degree in Visual Impairment to become a Rehabilitation/Orientation & Mobility Specialist to provide specialized support services to individuals with visual impairments. During this time, I became fluent in reading and writing braille."
How did you get into the Facilities field?
"I started in Facilities as a Conference Coordinator during my Junior Year in College. Part of my job involved cleaning dorm rooms at the end of the spring semester to prepare the facility for guests staying at the college for summer conferences. I learned strict attention to detail during that time. My entry into a formal Facilities role was in 2003 where I started as a part-time temp at NBCUniversal’s Facilities Help Desk in Rockefeller Center. That role evolved into a full time opportunity where I was part of the 3rd party Tishman Speyer Management team dedicated to NBCUniversal’s Facility Operations. I worked in various capacities from Administrative Assistant to Assistant Facilities Manager and worked my way up to Senior Facilities Manager over the course of 10 years."
Tell us about your favorite project highlight.
"When Comcast took over NBCUniversal, I was tasked with managing the removal and replacement of all logo signage to reflect the company’s rebrand. This project was complex as the space was over 1.7 million square feet and all logo signage was of different scale and composition. It also involved carefully planned prep work to make sure the surfaces where the existing signage was removed were properly treated to be able to receive the new signage. The installation of the new signage had to take place during one weeknight in preparation for the “Day 1” reveal. This was my favorite project because it was a highly visible one during such a pivotal moment in NBCUniversal’s history."
What is your greatest success story?
"My greatest success story was being an integral part of the project team to deliver the newly constructed global HQ for Medidata Solutions. The buildout was a full renovation of 100,000 square feet across three floors and was completed 16 weeks. I joined the organization shortly before construction started, so I had to do a deep dive very quickly to understand all facets of the project in conjunction with managing the day-to-day operations. The relocation component consisted of moving 300+ employees from three separate offices which all had different restoration requirements. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work on such an amazing project- I learned a tremendous amount during this time."
Tell us about a challenge or obstacle that you face in the Real Estate/Facilities world.
"A challenge that many of us have faced is outgrowing a space too quickly. In Facilities, it is easy to become wrapped up in the day-to-day, but you have to understand what is happening in the market and in the business that can impact growth and also be prepared to manage unexpected growth (like those 10…20…now 30 summer interns that you need seats for, but only have enough to accommodate half of that)."
What learning experience would you pass onto future FM’s?
"Don’t be afraid to ask questions. In Facilities, you have to be knowledgeable in a wide variety of areas, but you don’t have to be a subject matter expert in everything (that’s where maintaining strong relationships with those who are is important!). Facilities functions and areas of responsibility in every organization are different, so spend time learning things that will help you add value."
Interviewed by Sonya Verny of IA Interior Architects, IFMA NYC Secretary