Kevin Gray’s career in facilities management spans over fifteen years. He is currently working at a major Canadian company who has been experiencing incredibly rapid growth. Kevin joined the company when it had one facility. The expansion has grown to nine facilities across Canada over the last 5 years under his direction and management. The head office had to accommodate the growth of the company by hiring additional staff that grew from eighty office employees to over four-hundred office employees.
His facilities management department is currently expanding. They have found it necessary to hire an assistant due to the company’s explosive growth. Kevin considers himself to be a “Jack of all trades” and a go-to person. However, no matter how knowledgeable or committed and engaged he is in his work, he is only one person. The company is still growing rapidly. There is no sign of slow-down. They still face many challenges ahead. They are always busy and there is always something new coming around the corner.
Much as the Greek Titan Atlas, he brings the strength and determination to the company who can move forward optimistically. They are in good hands.
How did you get started in facilities management? What inspired you to do so?
The major influence in my life was my grandfather. When I was young, he was a self-employed general contractor. He built homes on a small scale. He built one at a time then sold them. That was the way he made his living. I always liked working hands-on with tools and admire a job well done. That was my major influence.
How does your firm make money?
When I am making money for my company, I use any means available. It could be government incentives or incentives offered by our local utility providers. One of the incentives provided by the utility company is a compressed air audit. The audit shows how efficiently we are using our energy. If the specs were too large, we can downsize. We also removed our fluorescent lighting. We went strictly to LED lighting. The result of the lighting change in the head office alone reduced our monthly lighting by nearly twenty thousand dollars a month. That reduction in cost reflects the lower cost of consumption on the LEDs as well as the compressor because it is smaller and more efficient. We have managed to qualify for about a hundred thousand in rebates for lowering consumption. It helps the utility company generate the power that they need without having to enhance or add another power plant to their grid.
How long did it take for your firm to become profitable?
I work as a Facilities Manager for the company. I do not own the company; I operate and fine-tune everything in each facility. I make my department as efficient as it can possibly be. I reduce costs where ever possible. I am responsible for vendor management. I bring in new vendors who provide different quotes, and I hold them accountable. Vendors should be able to make a living from our company but not excessively, which is why it’s my job to oversee this process. That is my part in assisting the company to be profitable.
When you first started out did you ever doubt that this would work for you? If so, how did you handle it?
I’ve never doubted that this was the right career path for me. I knew I could do a good job. I had the knowledge and training. My confidence is in knowing how to speak with vendors and how to build relationships. I have an intuitive instinct about how each relationship is going. I have a great deal of knowledge about assessing quotes that are fair, not excessive. Having that knowledge lays a good foundation for vendor relationships. It is part of being successful in facilities management and fostering a mutually beneficial relationship for both parties.
What do you think makes you successful?
I think the thing that makes me successful is that I get things done. I take every task given to me to heart. I do not take it lightly. I have a type-A personality. I have no issue with taking a task and getting it done whether it is done on my own or I delegate the task to someone who is an authority on the subject. I gather all the information and make things happen.
I do not let a task go unfinished. It is also my ability to shift gears as required. I usually have a set plan for the day. But, if emergencies come up, I determine what priorities have to be addressed and find a different direction to get things done.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
I would have to say we are in the most satisfying position we have been in since I joined this company. Our department is run as a very lean department. We have very little help here.
I have gone from managing one facility to managing nine facilities. Our office alone has gone from eighty people to four-hundred people in less than five years. In spite of the rapid growth and the lean department, I think we have done incredibly well.
What does the future hold for you and your firm? What are you most excited about?
Though I do not own the business, we are still growing rapidly. There is no sign of slow-down. We still have lots of challenges ahead. We are always busy and there is always something new coming around the corner.
What business books have inspired you that would you recommend?
I’m afraid that I don’t have any books that I can recommend as inspirational to me. My inspiration did not come from books. My inspiration initially came from the way my grandfather worked, followed by on-the-job training and my experiences with other people. I have never delved into anyone else’s opinion on how to do the job I do.
What is a recent purchase that you have made for your business?
The best business-related purchased that I have made for my company has been the energy incentive related items. It was the purchase of LED’s and the equipment required for the installation. I made our overall energy consumption much less and our overall carbon footprint minimal considering our size.