This month’s FM spotlight is Phillip Henry Jr, Facilities Manager at the American beauty products manufacturer – Coty.
At Coty, Phil manages the day to day operations of the Facilities Department. The Facilities team is responsible for providing general facilities support to internal clients and liaison to external vendor partners at Coty headquarters in New York City.
“Phil is the guy who keeps the lights on, literally! He has the hard job of making sure everything works and the good news is that normally, everything works quite well. He is like the ‘Wizard of Oz’ of Coty, always behind the curtain controlling the climate, the lights, the circuits. It’s an old building so he does have to emerge from time to time to sort out problems, but always with good spirit and energy.” - Jules Kaufman, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, COTY
What is one thing that no one knows about you?
“Most people don’t know that I’m a big classic rock fan. I like to listen to AC/DC, The Eagles, Thin Lizzy etc. Every now and then I like to have a few cold Blue Moons, whip out my Fender Semi-Hollow Telecaster and pretend to play along with the band.”
How did you get into the Facilities field?
“I began my career almost two decades ago in 1998, working as an Office Services Assistant for Calvin Klein Cosmetics Company (CKCC). After Unilever Cosmetics International (UCI) decided to expand its portfolio in 2000, I was promoted to Supervisor of the Office Services Staff. During the summer of 2005, Coty acquired UCI and I was transferred to the newly constructed Two Park Avenue facility after assisting with the closing and subsequent move to the new facility.
During my formative years at Coty, I had the opportunity to interact with a few Senior Managers and formed an informal mentor relationship with some. These relationships built my self-assurance to voice my thoughts on facility related challenges. Because of the company’s growth, in 2013 it was agreed that someone should be responsible for the facilities/real estate of the building. The powers that be felt I had cut my teeth over the years and I could manage the job. I’ve been “The Guy” ever since.”
Tell us about a favorite project highlight.
“One of the projects I’m most proud of was Coty’s move to the Empire State Building. The renovation of the 15th through 19th floors was the first project that I was on from beginning to completion. We accomplished a LEED Gold certification for energy efficiency of the office and it turned out to be a beautiful space. I cannot accept the credit for the result, but experiencing the day-to-day and the inevitable challenges, I am very proud of that project.”
What is your greatest success story?
“An Oscar winning actress visited our old office at Two Park Avenue. Paparazzi had been tailing her car all day, even after she was dropped off to the Coty office. When it was time for her to depart Two Park Avenue, I was tasked with getting her into her awaiting vehicle unseen. When she called her car, he told her that he was still being tailed and picking her up unnoticed would be virtually impossible. So, I sprang into action and secured control of the building freight elevator, I saw a UPS driver that I was friendly with pulling into the underground loading dock and asked for his assistance. My UPS buddy blocked the oncoming traffic with his truck, while her car pulled in and whisked her away into the sunset, free from paparazzi.”
Tell us about a challenge or obstacle that you face in the Real Estate/Facilities world.
“One of the challenges in facilities is visibility. When things are going well, no one takes notice to why they are going well, or who’s behind it. Why the amenities they need are present. Why the equipment functions and meetings go on free of hiccups. In many ways it's a thankless job, but for me, when it’s quiet is when I know I’ve done my job well.”
What learning experience would you pass onto future FM’s?
“The best advice I can give to a FM is that not knowing isn’t a fatal flaw. Our position is a multifaceted and complex position. The danger is becoming complacent in not knowing, not caring, or thinking it’s another person's job to know. Get involved in IFMA, network with your industry peers and seek out the knowledge that you may lack.”
Interviewed by Sonya Verny of IA Interior Architects, IFMA NYC Secretary.