John oversees 220,000 sqare feet of direct and managed office spaces in the US, EMEA and APAC. With an operating-expense budget just shy of $30M, John's role keeps him in the air, ensuring that the employee experience at all locations is at the highest level, reinforcing LiveRamp's leadership goal to be best in class and establishing a solid service and operating plan for every location.
Although he is based in New York, it seems that San Francisco and Arkansas have seen the most of him these days. From staffing needs, vendor services, life safety and more – regardless of the office size – all services must be in place.
"John's impact at LiveRamp over only a short period of time has been tremendous. By bringing his years of people and operational knowledge, he has helped bring in new blood and motivated the new team to really step up and deliver. Hard to underestimate the impact of his leadership, triage and getting things done from Day 1 to now only 4 months in." – Eric J. Nelson, Head of Global Workplace Experience | LiveRamp
What is one thing that no one knows about you?
“That's a tough one! I would say being the president of a motorcycle club could be one of them. Corporate by day and biker at night. Me and my Real Live Ryders balance corporate life, family and street fun. The other is that I still DJ in clubs and lounges at least twice a month in New Jersey.”
How did you get into the Facilities/Real Estate field?
“It was rather organic in its nature. I started off in office services and mail operations for a law firm 25 years ago. Supervising that team and earning the trust of the office manager to take on more responsibilities around the office was the start. It wasn't until my time at Madison Square Garden, along with an amazing manager, that showed me what facilities was all about. There I learned high-level planning and construction, complex budgets, detailed reporting and – the most important part – dealing with people and large teams.”
Tell us about a favorite project highlight.
“I've had so many construction and build projects that it's hard to call out one. Today’s FM wears a lot of new hats, and event coordination is just one of the new areas that we must master. Organizing the annual holiday party for Audible in Newark was one of them. With a Cirque du Soleil theme, I hosted more than 800 attendees in a unique-car-enthusiast club. From transportation and municipal permits to décor and entertainment, the event to this day stands unmatched, both there and in my event career.”
What is your greatest success story?
“I had a short stint at the tech startup, PlaceIQ. Anyone who's ever worked for a start-up company knows that things are done quite differently. I was the new guy and was faced with being over budget, with staff changes and with the task of moving the office to the new headquarters overlooking Bryant Park by a specific date. Part of the project was to eliminate a large section of the floor in order to create stadium seating. Adding structural steel and creating a catwalk to service the window units over the open area were just a couple unknowns that seem to plague this project. As added salt to the wound, I was a one-man show working through the night and sleeping on site in order to put ancillary furniture together. Tough judgment calls, design changes and showing both the CEO and CFO what the new design vision would look like resulted in a great space, delivered on time and within budget.”
What learning experience would you pass onto future FMs?
“'Successful people are not gifted; they just work hard and succeed on purpose.’ This is a motto that I live by and share. To the next FMs I would simply tell them, "measure twice and cut once." The companies we work for rely and depend on us to perform at the highest level. Our responsibilities can reach to global locations. It's important that we are as accurate as possible in everything that we do. Go over your work to ensure that you’re mistake free. Bring in that subject-matter expert; tap into your internal and external network for advice and for a sanity check. You'll be a stronger FM if you equip your professional toolbox with the proper people and tools.”
Interviewed by Sonya Verny of IA Interior Architects, IFMA NYC Secretary