Serving America as a Facility Manager: The Podcast Interview

by Juan Thomas
177 views 3 min read

“…we don’t do that sexy stuff…we do the important stuff” – Chief Jacob Dunbar

Last week, as I celebrated the 37th International Day of Juan, I wrote the Season Premiere post. One of the goals I set for myself at Age 37 was to put my name out there more…to break away from my self-imposed anonymity brought on by my strong preference of team over self. Aside from the two possible books I have waiting in the wings, I mentioned that I would look to do some more professional articles and industry media. Well, it certainly didn’t take too long for me to accomplish that goal. Late last month, I received a message from a representative at Go Rogue X via LinkedIn in which they indicated they had listened to the podcast interview I did with Naomi Millán for the FacilitiesNet FM’s Next Gen series. The message inquired if I were interested in being a featured guest on the FM Evolution Podcast hosted by Shawn Black of CGP Maintenance & Construction Services, Inc. as a means of sharing my story of serving the nation as a Facility Manager. Obviously, I was very interested but unlike the podcast interview I did with Building Operation Management when I was still with the U.S. Department of the Interior a couple of years back, I’m now in the United States Foreign Service. It’s a totally different ballgame for me as I’m a diplomatic representative of the U.S. Department of State and such things require approvals. I sought out to gather those approvals and the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations’ External Affairs Office thought it would be good for me to discuss my career trajectory in addition to it being great exposure for the Foreign Service Facility Manager role with us having a current vacancy announcement (check here to apply if you’re interested, by the way). I conducted the recording on October 25th and it was a wonderful session with Shawn. We talked about my career in the Air Force, the leadership skills I’ve grown into, and the differences between the military and the Federal civil and Foreign Service sectors concerning facility management. My episode, entitled “Serving Our Country in FM”, was released this past Friday on several podcast platforms.

For me, the interview emphasized the driving force of why I wake up every morning to take on the challenge of being a Federal Facility Manager: to serve my nation. If one looks at all of the different occupational series categories on USAJOBS, you’ll see hundreds of different types of Federal jobs out there. And while they all are important in some way, I don’t believe they are as important as the work my colleagues and I do as Facility Managers. We’re not glamourous people. We don’t regularly wear suits to the office and we don’t often mingle with those that wield power in Washington and beyond. We usually don’t end up with the nice, cozy offices on high floors with windows and spectacular views. That’s all of the sexy stuff that Chief Dunbar alluded to during all of those commander calls and Prime BEEF gatherings when I was in the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron at Yokota more than a decade ago. As Facility Managers, our job is to keep the buildings upright so that the rest of the Federal Government workforce can go about their business of keeping America running like those old Napa Auto Parts commercials. What we do is the important stuff. I was proud to express all of this in the interview.

Take the next 40 minutes or so to listen to my podcast interview below.

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