FM Spotlight

Audrey Schultz – Pratt Institute

Published on: January 15, 2015

“It’s all about education that matters – the quest for knowledge and then giving back to the community.”

As an educator, Professor Audrey Schultz’s first concern is sustainability and protecting all of our resources for the next generation and our children’s children. It was great to sit down and learn about her journey to Pratt & IFMA.

What are your top goals as the Chair for the IFMA Education Committee?
"My top goal is to develop an IFMA community outreach program to both middle and high school students by partnering with local area STEM programs, educating them about educational and career opportunities within the Facilities Management industry and introducing them to IFMA, Professional Qualification and Certification programs linked to the mission and vision of IFMA, the IFMA NYC chapter and IFMA Foundation. We want to communicate with these young students what the FM industry is all about and share our experiences, how we got into the FM field, and what career opportunities exist for them after high school. This additionally goes beyond the STEM school programs, we would like to communicate to NYC professionals about education and career opportunities that exist in the FM industry in the NYC region and beyond."

How are you going to accomplish that goal?
"As the lead educator, and the only full-time professor in the Pratt Construction and Facilities Management program, I am interacting daily with the next generation of CM/FM professionals. Several of my students have graduated from the Pratt program and are now serving on the Education Committee and spearheading the Emerging Leaders community with IFMA NYC. These bright young professionals are developing great tools that we can bring to area Middle and High Schools, informing them of career opportunities to cultivate their interest in Facilities Management as a potential career. There is a PM Card Game that ASU developed that I use for students and professionals to link PM/CM and FM leadership skills that would be a good activity to use in our outreach program. Additionally, the Education Committee is working with Emerging Leaders Committee who have developed a one-on-one Mentoring Program to pair seasoned FM professionals with new young FMs."

How did you start your career as a Facility Manager?
"I actually began my second career as an interior designer working for an architecture firm, Holland Lessard Group, in Washington, DC. I continued working in the AEC/FM field as an interior designer, project and construction manager, and facility planner, while pursuing a Masters of Architecture/ Construction Management from Virginia Tech. After working for an International AEC firm as a project manager and marketing and business developer for CM services internationally, I had the opportunity to work as a Design and Construction Project Manager on the Pentagon Renovation and Construction Program. I enjoyed working on such an amazing, complex, large-scale, government/military program."

What led you to pursuing a PhD?
"During my tenure working at the Pentagon, I was recruited for a full-time lecturer position in CM at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo, CA an ACCE accredited CM program. Although I loved my time in central coast California, it confirmed my interest to pursue an academic career track. After 4 years as a full-time lecturer in CM, I left California and moved across the pond to study and work at The University of Salford in Salford, England, where I recently completed my PhD studies.

During my time at Salford, I studied, lectured, and participated in several exciting research ventures including acting as a Visiting Research Scholar at Northeastern University, Boston, MA through the international consortium CLUD – Community Local Urban Development. The CLUD research program approaches projects by reinforcing the sense of community while reducing transportation costs and building attractive urban environments. It was very exciting to be part of this international and interdisciplinary research team with the Italians. This became an excellent center of synergy for research and innovation transfer in the field of PPP – Public Private Partnerships as it related to urban regeneration actions and policies.

Additionally, I was a founding member and first secretary for the North West Chapter Lean Construction Institute – UK (LCI-UK) organization. I participated in a research program with Aalto University in Espoo, Finland on adding Value in Real Estate/FM industry. As the President of The University of Salford’s CIB Student Chapter, I submitted the winning proposal for the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB) Sebestyén Future Leaders Award 2012 for which I wrote and submitted a report Title: The Economic and Sustainable Impact of BIM’s Alliance on the AEC Community and Society.

As for my own PhD dissertation, I conducted research in integrating lean visual management in FM, by assessing the leanness of a University FM department, then conducting a workshop to educate them and introduce Lean Visual Management, and analyzing the outcomes through Design Science Philosophy, with an Action Research Approach. I am looking forward to presenting my research to the FM industry in the near future."

How did you come to work at Pratt?
"I was born in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and both sides of my family are from New York. When I was little my parents moved to Maryland, and I grew up in the DC area. Although I always felt that Brooklyn/NY was my home. While looking for a new career opportunity after three years in England, I was fortunate that a position in the MSc FM program opened up at Pratt. Being very familiar with Pratt Institute, I applied and got the job; it felt like I was coming home. My grandfather taught design and layout at Pratt in 1946 and one of my uncles graduated in 1966 with a design degree. Technically, I am third generation associated with Pratt it feels good. I am the only full-time academic professor in the CM/FM program; we have approximately 33 industry professionals who teach in program. We are also one of only six in the US higher education programs that are accredited by IFMA for its Facilities Management Masters of Science degree Program."

When not teaching and serving the FM community what are your interests and pursuits?
"I started dancing at three years of age and still love ballet, jazz, and Zumba, anything dance related. I was inspired by my grandmother who was a dancer, and my grandfather who danced professionally at Club 21. Dance is innate to my personality. You could say it’s in my genes. As well as art, being that both grandmother and grandfather were artists, as well. Therefore I grew up with a keen interest in the arts, and anything inspired by architecture and engineering, as well as fashion design and writing poetry. I am very much looking forward to returning to these passions with the conclusion of my doctorate studies, as I can’t wait to start a new life in NYC. I just want to read a non-academic book, go to the theatre, and read the New York Times on a Sunday, looking forward to that."

Written by AnneMarie Fleming of MovePlan, IFMA NYC Communications Committee Member.