Published on: March 15, 2015
This month’s FM spotlight is Jay Feiertag, Director of Facilities & Real Estate at Manhattan-based not-for-profit organization - Fedcap Rehabilitation Services, Inc. Jay is the epitome of being an active member of IFMA NYC as he has been loyally with IFMA for the past 23 years!
“Jay is an excellent communicator. He presents material in a clear and concise manner. When I worked with him at the Corporation, he would very often have to take me through design plans and architectural drawings as I needed to have an understanding of how staff and clients would move through one of our facilities. He understood how to walk me through a floor plan or architectural drawings in layman's terms and always accepted my feedback and took my thoughts into consideration. He also appreciated that I was juggling multiple responsibilities and was always accommodating when it came to working with my schedule. Also, he never missed a deadline and always reached out when he needed clarification.” -Former Chief of Staff of a Large Multi-Site Corporation
What is one thing that no one knows about you?
“I love reading or watching science fiction; and own a TARDIS bathrobe.”
How did you get into the Facilities/Real Estate field?
“My Facilities Career really started when I accepted a position as Director of Facilities at Safe Horizons formerly known as Victim Services which is another Not for Profit. I was soon tasked with negotiating a wide range of services. To do this I needed a network of resources to draw upon to find good vendors. This was pre-Google; if you remember that! Lucky for me I found IFMA’s New York City chapter and quickly joined. Almost at the same time I became co-chair of Career Services. That was 23 years ago!"
Tell us about a favorite project highlight.
“One of my current projects is nearing completion; a $9 million new midtown facility for Fedcap. At this new site, we offer services to a wide range of our clientele; including a Career Design School with a $2 million state of the art Culinary Arts kitchen. I’ve made some changes that will reduce our operating expenses. For example, I relocated some programs to other parts of the city-wide portfolio so we can now offer a block of space from 1,000sf to 9,000sf to any other Not For Profit organization interested in a prime midtown location at below market rents."
Tell us a about a success story.
“I once had an employee who, after two years working for me at the other Not For Profit; gave notice. I knew this was the right move for him as we couldn’t very well compete with the private sector salary that he was offered. He was excited to tell me that because of the knowledge he gained while working for me, where I had him do everything on the projects from start to completion, he was offered a much higher starting salary than would normally be given. He now knew design, construction and facilities management. He has since become a successful general contractor. I couldn’t be more proud!”
Tell us about a challenge or obstacle that you face in the Facilities world.
“A particular challenge I’ve had to face here at Fedcap was being able to hit the ground running. Although, the CEO did say it should take me about 3 months to get the lay of the land, some decisions couldn’t wait.
Another challenge is being able to understand the culture of the organization, the decision-making process, seeking consensus, explaining in detail what you are trying to accomplish to others, and translating what is on the drawings into something the client can understand.”
What learning experience would you pass onto future FM’s?
“I frequently tell the students I meet at Pratt’s FM program or Pratt architectural undergrads that they should take the time to learn as much as they can; beyond just the FM role. We are all being pulled into other responsibilities. It is very important to become a generalist and to always be knowledgeable about a whole host of issues to make yourself more valuable to any future employer.”
Interviewed by Sonya Verny of IA Interior Architects, IFMA NYC Secretary.