This month’s Facility Manager (FM) Spotlight is focused on Colleen Moran, Client Service Leader & Facilities Director at NBCUniversal. Colleen has had quite an impressive career working with companies such as Standard Chartered Bank, Newsweek and Goldman Sachs. Even more impressive is that fact that two of her past projects were nominated for IFMA Awards: Newsweek (160k sq. feet) and Standard Chartered Bank (110k sq. feet).
“Working with Colleen was always both a positive and productive experience. She is very detail-oriented, talented, and most passionate about her work. Both an excellent manager and mentor, her valuable communication skills support her effective leadership and problem resolution traits. Colleen is a strategic thinker who always finds the best approach to achieve her objectives and deliver. Her tremendous skill set, combined with both her ambition and constant upbeat personality are what make Colleen so successful and give her the ability to thrive in any environment.” - Terrence Donovan, Vice President at Jefferies & Company who worked with Colleen at Goldman Sachs
What is one thing that no one knows about you?
“Prior to knee surgeries in my late teens I was a ballerina. I was one exam away from being a member of the Royal Academy of Dance and planning to do it forever. Facilities is the next best thing!"
How did you start your career?
“I started in Corporate Services at Goldman Sachs in 1999. I was building/expanding offices on the West Coast for the .com bubble and traveling for 2 years.
I was managing and remodeling the San Francisco office, managing and densifying the Menlo Park office, setting up the new Seattle office, and assisting with the ground up plans for a 200,000 sq. ft. Palo Alto building.
After that I closed the Memphis office, prepared the Salt Lake City office for a huge expansion, and assisted with the project completion and operational setup of the Sao Palo location.
I then coordinated the moves from NYC to 30 Hudson Street in Jersey City and standardized the Corporate Services operations in all of the regional office in the Americas for GS from NYC.”
Tell us about your work at NBCUniversal.
“Most recently for NBCU, I completed 2 floors in 30 Rock, and a 63K sq. ft. Tech Center in NJ. The floors at 30 Rock are part of a $200M renovation project where we gut and rebuild existing floors. As we move teams onto them, we are able to reduce our overall footprint, by giving up spaces in other buildings as the leases expire.
The NBCUniversal Technology Center in Englewood Cliffs, NJ was a completely stand-alone project. We took an existing, occupied space and invested $17M into renovating it. It has some unique qualities that made it a fun project to manage. We actually spent months gathering input from all of the employees slated to move. We discussed all of their concerns as well as what would make it a great place to work and what they really needed to get their jobs done. It is 63K sq. ft. and has only 11 offices, however there are 31 varied touch downs, huddle spaces to meet, make a call, or just go work on something that requires a lot of focus. This space also has 6 Video conferencing rooms, a proper telepresence room, a training room, 2 virtual hallways connecting NJ to KY and CA, as well as a café area that can be set up to accommodate 100 people for town hall type meetings. The location has 2 other unique spaces: the Show Lab, where we can showcase all the new and innovative ways that we can deliver content to consumers and the Smart Bar where there are live people to help you solve all your technology issues for any device you can carry to them.”
What is your favorite success story?
"I needed the security to be up and running for day 1 of the Seattle office of Goldman Sachs. On Friday night the installer melted the board that runs the systems and said he couldn’t get another until Wednesday. I told him I would get the board and he should be back at noon Saturday. He said it wasn’t possible but would be here. I had the board flown in from NYC on a passenger plane, arriving in Seattle at 10:30 am. He installed that board and when we opened Monday everything was up and running."
Tell us how you got your nickname – “The Recycler.”
“I have been labeled as “the recycler” at NBC because I have been successful at finding furniture from spaces we are vacating new homes. While building out Englewood Cliffs, I was aware of a number of other projects and their timing. In addition to re-purposing many of the conference room tables existing in EC, I took chairs, tables, lights from 3 reception areas in 1221 Avenue of the Americas and made them into huddle rooms, tables from Chelsea to make many of the 4 packs of cubes more like teaming areas, seating for the training room came from 75 Rock, and some colorful soft seating from 30 Rock became break out areas. I also placed 2 lifts, light fixtures, area rugs, bakers racks, and many coat hooks in new spaces as well. This allows me some additional wiggle room in my budget and saves space in the landfill.”
What are some challenges or obstacles that you have found in the industry?
“There are too many to list! That’s what keeps it fun and exciting. Most of the things we deal with and problems we solve are things you could never make up.
There is never enough space so being able to make some of the space flexible is very important. When building out the Newsweek space we wanted to have somewhere adjacent to the server of the cafeteria for employees to eat lunch, away from their desks. At the same time we were wrestling with dedicating that much space for use only 4 or so hours a day. We also needed large conference spaces. We were able to create a room with easily reconfigurable furniture that could be one large room, or 4 small rooms, or any combination in between. It allowed us to maximize the usage of both the space and the furniture.”
What are some of your best learning experiences that you can share with future FM’s?
“Never be afraid to just jump in and do something new. Just because you haven’t done it before doesn’t mean you won’t be successful. Some of my best work days were right after 9/11. There were no politics, no agendas. Everyone was just collaborating to get things up and running and closer to normal. We all pulled together and did what needed to be done. Often great things come from crisis.“
Interviewed by Sonya Verny of IA Interior Architects, IFMA NYC Secretary.