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[PODCAST TRANSCRIPT] Episode 2: Interview with Gary McKelvey, Jr. | Siemens Corporation

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Gary McKelvey - FM Innovator

On this episode, Gary McKelvey, Jr. of Siemens Corporation discusses connecting and collaborating with the FM community, facility management industry conferences, building automation, energy savings, and technology trends in the built environment. Topics discussed include a motivational quote from Teddy Roosevelt, IFMA’s World Workplace, NFMT, and IoT technologies. Mike Petrusky also shares his love of movies and one particular rock band.


Show Transcript:

"We must dare to be great and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage". Our guest today will talk about that quote from Teddy Roosevelt and so much more.

This is "The Facility Management Innovator Podcast" where we talk with FM industry leaders about workplace trends, challenges, and the future of the built environment. This show is brought to you by Kayrell Connections, providing information, consulting and marketing expertise to help organizations deliver workplace innovation to the facility management community.

Hey there! How's it going again? I'm Mike Petrusky and I want to welcome you to episode 2 of "The Facility Management Innovator Podcast". Every time I hear a podcast and they mention an episode number, it always reminds me of the greatest movie franchise of all time. Of course, I'm talking about Star Wars, right? Am I right? That epic space opera…are you listening John Lucien Grillo? Well if you disagree, if there's another franchise you think competes with Star Wars for the title of greatest of all time please leave me a comment. But really, I am a super Star Wars geek, so I feel I should honor the great George Lucas and go with this Star Wars theme for these podcast titles. So what do you think? This is "Episode 2: Attack of the FM Innovators" and that last one would have been "Episode 1: The Phantom FM Innovator". You know? That actually works. The introductory episode did not have a guest, so it was the "Phantom FM Innovator". Alright, Episode 3 will be "Revenge of the FM Innovators". Ok, I know gone too far with the Star Wars jokes. At least I didn't mention Jar Jar Binks. Right? So moving on…

Welcome again, to this our second episode, but this is the first full interview edition of the podcast, so I cannot wait to introduce you to our guest today. He is Gary Mckelvey and we sat down recently for a conversation about some of the latest technologies, innovations and resources that are available to facility managers, helping them more efficiently and effectively manage their facilities. Gary is a senior account executive with Siemens Corporation, one of the world's largest companies, a leader in building automation, energy and technology solutions. And Gary is definitely a guy who is dedicated to serving the facility management community. I have seen it personally myself. He has shared his expertise. He has proven his value to FMs, and he is, indeed, an FM innovator. Now, during this interview you'll hear us talk about how to connect with the FM community through IFMA and you'll learn some strategies for becoming a valued resource to facility managers. We talk about the education and collaboration that takes place at facility management industry conferences and tradeshows. Gary will share a case study about a school system that was able to save energy in reduce operating expenses with the help of Siemens and of course will cover some of the changes and trends with technology that Gary is seeing in the FM world, and actually I sneak in a quote from a movie the movie, "Rain Man". Let me see if you pick up on that...I don't think Gary recognized it. Now, before we roll the audio for our conversation, I do want to take a moment and give a huge thank you to Gary because when we decided that Kayrell Connections was going to produce a podcast, Gary was one of the first people I asked to sit down for an interview and he immediately agreed…sight and sound unseen. I had no existing podcast to play for him. Nothing but a vision of what we hope to accomplish with this thing and he jumped right in without hesitation. So, Gary thank you for putting your trust in me. I'm really humbled by that and I really think you're gonna be happy with how this turned out. I'm sure that our listeners will have some great takeaways and there's some awesome content here and great information, so job well done. One last note before we get started, the recording we did was before we had figured out all the technical aspects of recording a podcast for the highest quality results, so the sound is not perfect here but I think it's decent and the valuable content still comes through loud and clear. So with that said, here we go. Enjoy!

MIKE PETRUSKY: Well, we want get to know you a little bit Gary... tell us about yourself, your background, where did you go to school, how'd you end up here and how do you want to be known in the FM community?

GARY MCKELVEY, JR.: Thank you, Mike. Thank you for the opportunity. I am originally from San Diego. I joined the US Navy and then after my transition out joined Siemens. Personally, I enjoy providing the FMs with the capabilities, the full capabilities, of Siemens where we can provide just about any service that is needed at the right time and on budget. So that's what we like to do for FMs.

MP: Gary also serves alongside yours truly on the board of the Capital Chapter of IFMA here in Washington, DC and we've been through quite a bit together over the last few years.

GM: It's been a fun journey.

MP: We've been to a few conferences together - World Workplace in Denver last year as well as NMFT in Baltimore. What do you enjoy most about those conferences?

GM: I enjoy learning what's new. Going to the sessions and learning what FMs are learning about and what possible solutions or new things that I can bring to FMs through those solutions or what Siemens may be able to provide to those customers.

MP: I'm sure we'll talk more about those trends and technologies in a little bit here, but before we get too far let's learn a little bit more about you personally. I'm curious to know what kind of music you like...you're in the car...you're driving to a big meeting, you've got a big presentation… What are we listening to on the radio?

GM: It could be wide range, but often times some U2..Beautiful day is always one that's keeps everything going in the hectic traffic that we enjoy down here in DC.

MP: It's a beautiful day. Don't let it get away. All right! U2 is one of my favorite bands from my teen years on to this day. Have you ever seen them perform live?

GM: Several times. 

MP: Awesome. Best live band out there. So, let's talk about this... Do you have a favorite business book or a motivational quote you can share with us?

GM: Teddy Roosevelt once said, "We must dare to be great and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage." So, you know, anything that we do for our customers is going to take a lot of effort and a lot of explaining of how we can help them so don't settle for the mediocrity. Go for the greatness and that's what we try to provide to the FMs.

MP: Excellent! I love that. It speaks to my philosophy that I hold where I tell industry partners you've got to earn it, you've got to do the work and make the sacrifices and the results will come later. There are just so many challenges that FMs face and it's no wonder that many facility managers have a military background because they need the discipline and the wide array of skill sets to do their job. I mean, there are many retired military in the facility management profession. Have you noticed that?

GM: There's quite a few. Yes, I’ve noticed.

MP: One thing I've always talked about in today's marketplace, as I mentioned, is we must strive to be subject matter experts and we really prove our value to FMs by preparing ourselves to deliver our solution. So, what do you feel is your expertise and what particular parts of your job are you most passionate about?

GM: I’m a subject matter expert in building automation. I have been doing this for almost 20 years. One of the things I take pride in is finding solutions to challenges that are out of the ordinary. How do you provide innovative ideas to FMs that can save them energy, save operating costs and make sure that, at the end of the day, they're getting more than what they expected out of any given solution.

MP: And how do you like to connect with the facility management community? We have obviously IFMA, a lot of associations. We can be a part of events we go to, like the conferences. Can you tell me about any opportunities you've had to collaborate with facility managers through these organizations or otherwise?

GM: I've been collaborating with facility managers at a number of the shows, going to some of the professional events, meeting and just getting questions asked that are prompted through these sessions as they're learning about something. That's a great way to introduce the synergy of any kind of challenge or what can be learned at a session to some of the solutions that Siemens has to offer the FM.

MP: Excellent. Tell me a story about one of the specific opportunities or solutions you brought to the table.

GM: One of my customers is a school and they had a challenge where they had an aging system. It was an older system...almost 25 years old...and they noticed that during the school year it was uncomfortable for students and for teachers and they needed a way to replace the unit, and if possible, of course save energy and reduce their operating expenses. So, what we did is we found a way to replace their rooftop unit...a very large unit...for their main school and updated their systems at the room level, so that they were able to see how the rooms are operating and bring all of that to their handheld, so they were able to see it remotely. At the end of the day, they were able to save costs, their operating expenses went down significantly; we were able to give it get a utility incentive which saved them ten percent of the project and their organization is now able to operate more efficiently, because they're able to go into these rooms or watch the rooms remotely via cell phone, and are able to quickly identify any problems and get things fixed, and the students end up happier in an environment that's more productive to learning.

MP: Awesome. That's what we do. We equip FMs with the tools needed to solve these challenges and that's a great story about that. I appreciate it. It is an ever-changing world, an ever-changing build environment, so tell me about your perspective. You've been in the business for a long time and you've seen a lot of changes. What have you seen in the FM world over last five to ten years? What was the biggest change you've seen in the past up until today?

GM: Five to ten years ago, you kind of had a mixed bag of how these systems were connected to each other and how an FM could view, not just one building, but a campus. Now, with these systems all being integrated and being put into an IT backbone, it really gets into system integration and how much data does the FM want to see and then how do they work with that information? It’s a lot of data and a lot of information and can be extremely overwhelming. So how do you sift through it and how do you make that more usable to the FM on a day-to-day basis? So that's been the biggest change I've seen. It is big data and things moving to an IT-type platform.

MP: Great. What do you think about the future? "The future of rock and roll", as I say. The future of FM. The future of the built environment. Where do you see things going five to ten years from now and are there any promising technologies on the horizon that you think will really impact the workplace?

GM: I think the technology is just going to continue to grow. The systems that are going to be integrated into a building automation system are becoming almost limitless. We’re seeing lighting, even shades are getting involved in how you save energy and how do you bring all the things are within a building into one platform so they're easily seen? That being put on an IT backbone is where technology is going. With where the advancements are going, it makes sense for an FM to be able to just look at these systems right on their phone and be able to sort through data and quickly diagnose problems and be able to get their customers feeling comfortable about their buildings and their working spaces.

MP: You see this is the kind of a question that comes to mind from a real-life scenario. The security of these web solutions, these phone cloud solutions. What do you do you see companies like Siemens doing to address the security issue that's obviously a high priority?

GM: We've addressed that in a number of ways. We take pride in working with the federal government and in some of their high security requirements for any federal building, because they become such a target, the building automation system has to be secure. We've taken pride in making sure that we work with the IT community and any particular IT professional at a facility to make sure that the building is extremely secure and not vulnerable to any kind of attacks through the internet.

MP: Great, Gary. One final question and this one's a little outside the box. We’ve been around the industry for a while and sometimes it's fun to look back and think about "how would I do things differently, if I was just starting out today", right? So, I certainly had a lot more energy back then. That'd be one thing that would be different, but if we're just starting out today, say you're a new employee at a company that offers an innovative facility management solution,  What would you do right out of the gates, your first week on the job? What would you focus your efforts on?

GM: Looking back at my career, it's overwhelming. Especially now with technology the way it is, it can be even more so, especially if you're not up to speed with how these systems or applications are being used today. So my first week is really going to be soaking in and what does that company do? How does that business run? How do I fit into that facility and being able to be productive within that company? That would be the first thing. If I saw or came into the company with a good solution or something I thought was valuable, I think looking and figure out how to be productive can take that good idea, delivering it at the right time, can become a great idea and explaining and showing how it benefits the company and everybody that works for them so. It’s delivering the solution, at the right time, and showing the benefits to the company, and that just takes time to realize that.

MP: Absolutely, we've got to earn it first. We talked about it at the very beginning of this conversation. We need to prove our value. We need to be the expert. We need to understand our client, our customer. We have to understand their world more than sometimes they even understand it, when it comes to a particular solution we are offering and then bring the solution to the table, so they can adapt and innovate in their environment. So that is a great example of taking that initial step and anybody out there who might be starting a career in business development, sales, or marketing for a new product or a new innovative idea. You’ve got to do the work. You’ve got to do the leg work upfront. Build trust. Become an expert in your client and then adapt and offer your solution to their situation specifically. Thanks, Gary, for that story and for taking the time to do this today. I really appreciate it!

GM: Thank you, Mike.

MP: Well there you have it. Some great insights from Gary McKelvey of Siemens Corporation. Lots of good stuff for sure. So did you hear it? My "Rain Man" quote? Remember in the movie when Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise are listening to the radio in the convertible on the way to Vegas, I think, and the DJ says "97X...BAM! The future of rock and roll." And then Hoffman’s character, Ray, just starts saying that over and over..."The future of rock and roll". Good times, one of my favorites. So yes, it's quite possible you'll hear me quote a lot of movies in the coming weeks and coming episodes. My uncle says that I actually exclusively speak in movie quotes...I have no original thoughts of my own... So, we'll see about that. But that's it for today. I hope you enjoyed this discussion and that you will actually be a part of the conversation with us. Please subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, email us with your feedback. The address is "connections at kayrell.com". Please connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter @Mikepetrusky. You can leave me your comments there about anything you heard today or suggestions you might have for future episodes. We are certainly open to hearing your ideas for topics of interest to the facility management community. People you may want me to interview or really just about anything that would make this podcast a source of useful content and worth your time. I do appreciate you listening, so thanks again. I look forward to hearing from you and we will talk again soon. Until then, I encourage you to continue to Be an FM innovator!® Peace out... or should I say "Hasta La Vista, baby!"

You’ve been listening to “The Facility Management Innovator Podcast”. We hope you found this discussion beneficial, as we work together to elevate the FM community, by building partnerships that lead to innovative, workplace solutions. For more information about facility management collaboration and marketing resources, visit www.kayrellconnections.com.

LISTEN TO THE EPISODE: http://kayrellconnections.com/episode2

SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNES: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/facility-management-innovator/id1154571864



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