FM Spotlight

Michael McCabe – Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP

This month’s FM spotlight is Michael McCabe, Director of Facilities at leading law firm – Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP. Michael has been with the firm for over 12 years and is excited about the recent announcement of the firm’s upcoming move from 1285 Sixth Avenue to 1251 Sixth Avenue.

“I have had the privilege and pleasure of working with Michael McCabe and BLB&G for over twelve years. During this time, Mike has always regarded RGTS as a trusted advisor and key strategic partner. This type of relationship has allowed us to work collaboratively and successfully on a number of key technology initiatives and relocation projects. Mike meets regularly with members of the RGTS account team to review service performance, technological enhancements and cost saving strategies. Mike is the consummate professional and has always been committed to meeting the goals and expectations of his firm and end-user community. His efforts consistently result in a level of management sophistication that is unmatched in the industry. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Mike and BLB&G for many years to come.” – Rich Gross, Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Rockefeller Group Technology Solutions, Inc.

What is one thing that no one knows about you?
“I guess the biggest thing that most people don’t know about me is that I am currently studying to be a Deacon in the Catholic Church. I think that my faith has helped me stay grounded at work. I am also a heavy metal enthusiast.”

How did you get into the Facilities field?
“I started my career in purchasing at the advertising agency – Ted Bates. I started as a messenger then I worked in reprographics and finally in purchasing. And yes those were the days of handwriting purchase orders aka Mad Men!

Next I went to the law firm, Curtis Mallet. There I started in purchasing, but the way that I really got into facilities was never saying no to any responsibly that was given to me. I was put in charge of moves and relocations and then in charge of facilities…. the secret is to never say no.”

From there I went to a law firm in the same capacity.“

Tell us about a favorite project highlight.
“I think that the biggest highlight would have to be the renovation I did at my last law firm. We built out three floors without any swing space. We did it in 6 phases… a half floor at a time. It was a very challenging endeavor to say the least! It was very rewarding when it was completed. The build out was for over 100,000 square feet!”

What is your greatest success story?
“I think my greatest success story is when I started at my current firm. They were small at the time and they never had a person in my position. I was able to reorganize several departments to run much more efficiently and with substantial savings per year. We were able to streamline and modernize several areas. One of the biggest successes was bringing our Records Department into the digital age.

When I got here everything was being done by hand and all of the files were in a corner in the records department. Nothing was computerized and everyone was still writing on pads of paper. To date, we have scanned over a million records!”

Tell us about a challenge or obstacle that you face in the Real Estate/Facilities world.
“The biggest challenge is the upkeep of the facilities without disrupting the work environment. Keeping everything behind the scenes and making it as seamless as possible. Another challenge is working with all the trades and keeping everyone happy and on the same page. I try not to think about obstacles. I believe if you have the right mindset you won’t have any. You have to have a very balanced personality when it comes to facilities. I liken it to being a head coach of a football team. You can never get to high when things are going good and you can’t get too low when they aren’t working the way you planned.”

What learning experience would you pass onto future FM’s?
“The best take away for future FMs would be to never stop learning. Get involved in every aspect of the facilities. A good FM needs to know how everything in his office works. That way you can be prepared if something goes wrong. I think an FM has to always show confidence in what he is doing. Most people look to the FM in times of duress.”

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