Published on: December 19, 2019
MISA is a worldwide metal solutions provider offering value-added steel and aluminum solutions to customers in automotive, construction, appliance, food, medical and aerospace industries. Denise oversees real estate and facilities management for MISA and is responsible for procurement, construction buildouts, project management and facility operations. She is based in New York City and manages the MISA portfolio with 9 locations in the United States.
“Denise Ditta has been a pleasure to work with over the past two years. She carries a wealth of experience in all facilities matters, such as construction, maintenance, project management, procurement and event planning. Her attention to detail is unparalleled, serving not only the best interest of the organization, but also the needs of each individual staff member. She is a true asset to our team." – Dympna Purtill, General Manager, Human Resources and General Affairs
What is one thing that no one knows about you?
“I am a true native New Yorker. Born, raised and still residing with my family in Brooklyn, New York, on the same street that I grew up on. I am an avid lover of the ballet and enjoy going to Lincoln Center to see the New York City Ballet perform.”
How did you get into the Facilities/Real Estate field?
“I began my career in 1980 in the legal industry, serving as Office Manager for a large New York City law firm. My managerial and administrative experience expanded into the area of Facilities and Operations Management. I became responsible for managing various facilities projects, including the office relocation of 100 staff members and eventually moving 300 staff members to entirely new office space. I learned a great deal on the job about construction, space utilization, furniture, technology, how to read construction drawings and everything that relates to office buildouts and moves.
The most enjoyable part of my job is giving our most valuable asset – our people – the tools that they need to get the job done and creating an office environment that enhances employee engagement.”
Tell us about a favorite project highlight.
“In 2016, as Facilities, Operations and Real Estate Manager for a 950-million-dollar, multinational software company, I created a cutting-edge, innovative office environment with a totally open floor plan to maximize space utilization. This project included breakthrough technology training rooms with high-resolution video walls, multi-functional collaboration areas with modern-concept furniture, a hoteling concept and system to reserve seating, and a very large meeting space for town hall meetings.
My favorite part of this project was my ability to enhance the employee experience by incorporating a recreational lounge with ping pong tables, video games and equipment, movie projection, creative rooms with presentation wallcoverings, telephone booths for private and personal calls and a large open-area café for employee meals, breaks and celebrations.”
What is your greatest success story?
“Shortly before joining MISA, I spearheaded and completed the project management of a $10M construction buildout of 90,000 square feet of raw space for a fashion-forward worldwide apparel company. This project included managing the budget, design and construction of their award-winning showrooms and office space, all while calculating and negotiating costs for required goods and services to achieve maximum value for dollars spent. I successfully relocated all 250 associates and IT services and equipment overnight without business interruption while the owners were on vacation without the ability to be consulted or contacted by telephone, voicemail or email.”
Tell us about a challenge or obstacle that you face in the Real Estate/Facilities world.
“A facilities challenge we face every day is lack of meeting space. The larger the organization, the more meetings conducted at any given time and the more meeting rooms that need to be managed. We all scramble to find available conference rooms for in-person meetings or to host conference calls. Room-reservation software and digital conference room panels are helpful, but the challenge is very real.”
What learning experience would you pass onto future FMs?
“Facilities managers can make meaningful improvements in the workplace by creating an environment that supports collaboration and productivity. Don’t make the mistake of assuming the employee experience is primarily an HR responsibility. No matter the size of your organization, this should be a high priority. Take ownership of your role in it!”
Interviewed by Sonya Verny of IA Interior Architects, IFMA NYC Secretary.