This month’s Facility Manager (FM) Spotlight is focused on Teri Meek, Facilities Manager at Skidmore Owings & Merrill, LLP (SOM). Teri is a woman to truly admire as she has risen to where she is in her career with little training. She demonstrates that with enough drive and persistence you can succeed anywhere.
“I came into the industry without prior knowledge of facilities management. It is possible to succeed in the facilities industry with hard work, determination and passion for what you do.” – Teri Meek
How did you get started in facilities management?
“I joined SOM in 2007 when I was hired as the Facilities Coordinator. After just two years, I was promoted to Supervisor. I had developed my management skills while working previously as a police dispatcher, a retail manager and owning my own business. At SOM, I showed management my initiative by following through, excelling at my job and continuously showing initiative.”
Tell us about this beautiful office project you spearheaded.
“In 2010, we renovated our 60,000 sq ft office in downtown Manhattan into an open floor plan to allow better collaboration amongst the project teams. Most recently, several sustainable initiatives were also implemented including the installation of 500 LED lights, removal of all desk side garbage cans and replacing them with waste stations and lastly removing all disposable cups from their pantries. All these initiatives significantly reduced SOM’s overall waste as well as cut overhead costs.”
Why do you love being an active member of IFMA?
“I truly love being part of IFMA as it provides me with the opportunity to learn and meet many people from the facilities industry. I have attended educational events in Real Estate, HVAC concepts and Emergency Communications. Thanks to IFMA, I completed my Facility Management Professional Certification and I now have the FMP designation!
IFMA provides me a lifeline to people who I can talk to when I need it. I didn’t have the experience the other FMs had. What is also great about IFMA is the fact that it doesn’t just consist of FMs. There are also vendors and Real Estate professionals from whom we can all learn.”
You were nominated for the IFMA FM Achievement Award. What advice would you give future FMs?
“My advice to future Facility Managers is to stay true to oneself. I credit my career advancement to always being honest. My company values honesty, good or bad. They need to know what’s going on.”
Another piece of advice is to always think a step ahead to the next task. Don’t just stay in the moment. I always think about what management may ask me do next.
I love working as an FM. Every day is completely different!”
“Managing staff expectations during in-place renovation is challenging enough, but imagine that the staff members are all architects! Teri adeptly handled all the ‘expert opinions’ given to her with charm, humor and empathy….even when their opinions deserved a lot less!” - Mark F. Leininger, AIA, Associate Director, Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP
Interviewed by Sonya Verny of IA Interior Architects, IFMA NYC Secretary.