The International Facility Management Association Foundation seeks to position facilities management as a career of choice, ensuring that the path to a fulfilling career in the industry is available to all who seek to enter the profession.

The Global Workforce Initiative, a program from the IFMA Foundation, helps grow the FM workforce talent gap as more than half of today’s practitioners are expected to retire in the next five to 15 years. IFMA is working to introduce the profession to students through various programs.

To further interest people in the industry, C&W Services has created Tips from the Field—a series of posts from our professionals with advice for those considering a profession in FM or just starting out in an FM position.

Find advice from Jim—the facility operations manager at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.—below.

Knowing your skill set.

Some students might not find their calling in traditional studies—something doesn’t quite fit, and they’re left searching for more.

Jim was one of those students—until he found a way to hit the books and study trades.

“I started to use my hands,” he says. Then, when I started combining both sides—studying the mechanics of equipment and using my hands—I was able to appreciate learning.”

He urges students just like him that haven’t yet found a subject or class they really enjoy, to search for something they’re passionate about and then find a way to combine that with other classes in school.

“There are kids that don’t fit into a proper mold. They naturally gravitate to working with their hands,” he says. “There are some amazing thinkers out there that can do amazing things. It all starts with them using their hands.”

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Knowing your team.

As a manager, Jim deals with 15 different personalities, work styles and skill sets. His leadership tactic is practicing empathy and encouragement.

“I know how difficult some of the tasks that they’re performing are,” he says. “They all strive to do their best they can every day. We have yet not to complete something that we’ve been asked of.”

For new facilities managers, he stresses that they pay attention to their staff and understand the work environment they’re entering into so as to continue the current team’s success.

“Sometimes, before you can put your stamp on something, you have to understand the dynamics,” he says. “If you’re walking into a great situation, pay attention, because things have been running really well without you being there. It’s now your chance to bring it to the next level.”

Knowing your priorities.

With such a large team and venue (more than 68,000 fans can fit in the stadium), safety is a top priority—both Jim and the entire staff adhere to the strictest safety procedures.

“We don’t do a task unless it’s done safely,” he says. “Before we start a task, we sit down and talk about what we’re going to do. Safety is the first and foremost rule of C&W Services.”

As an incredibly public venue, Jim stresses that cleanliness also is top of mind.

“It’s all about public perception and making sure that when every fan walks into the stadium, everything looks presentable,” he says.

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Where do you fit in?

If Jim’s story and experience interests you, check out our Careers page for to search for roles by category and location and sign up to receive job alerts. These alerts will send you new job opportunities that align with your skill set and provide you with relevant communication about our organization.