FM 2 FM: A Virtual Sit-down with Facilities Subject Matter Expert Jon Burke
SCLogic was fortunate enough to learn about Jon Burke via our amazing VP of Marketing, Ashley Cleveland. Mr. Burke is a distant relative by marriage, so she affectionately refers to him as “Uncle Jon” or “Non-Uncle Jon” as the actual case may be. Precise familial ties aside, Mr. Burke is the Facilities Subject Matter Expert for a major electronics company, so we were excited that he agreed to talk to us about his life in Facility Management, as well as answer a few fun questions.
Tell us a little about your history. How did you get into Facility Management?
In 1981, I joined the United States Air Force to work on our Minuteman ICBM nuclear weapons systems. I began as a facilities maintenance technician, then became a team chief, and eventually became an instructor. I also enrolled in CCAF to earn an associate’s degree. In 1991, I was honorably discharged and relocated my family to northeast Wisconsin where I was hired as a facilities technician by an area electronics manufacturer. After my first year with my employer, I entered an apprenticeship to become a journeyman industrial electrician. In 1996, I was promoted to Facilities Manager for my business site. In 2012, after the construction of our largest manufacturing facility, I assumed facilities management responsibility for all our manufacturing sites in NE Wisconsin and was appointed Facilities Subject Matter Expert for all North America manufacturing sites. In late 2012, I went back to school to earn a Bachelor of Science in Technical Management from DeVry University and graduated in early 2015.
What is the best part about being a Facility Manager?
The bulk of my professional experience as a Facility Manager has been within the manufacturing industry. And for me, the best part of being a Facility Manager has been to know that what I do is extremely important to the overall success of the organization. It is the responsibility of any Facility Manager to provide and sustain a physical environment for the organization that is conducive to optimum productivity and efficiency. Being able to do that consistently over my career has given me a great deal of gratification.
What is the hardest part?
I would say the most challenging part of my career as a Facility Manager has been convincing my executive leadership teams of the benefits of pro-actively investing in long-term facilities improvements and upgrades. A Facility Manager working within an organization where facilities is not their core business has to be able to effectively communicate the short and long-term ROI of facilities enhancements regarding performance improvement, efficiency, and sustainability. This requires the Facility Manager to understand the goals and mission of the business and to be able to translate the importance of those improvements in terms the leadership team will readily understand and appreciate.
What is your favorite word?
What is your least favorite word?
What trends/future technology are you most excited about in Facility Management?
I am very excited to see trends and technology that are moving organizations toward greater efficiency and environmental sustainability, and that the technology is getting more and more affordable and accessible for even small businesses. Organizations need to see these as not just good from an altruistic perspective, but also that investing in them is also a good business decision.
What sound or noise do you love to hear in the office/facility?
Pleasant conversations between employees.
What sound or noise do you not like to hear in the office/facility?
If you weren’t a Facility Manager, what profession would you want to try?
Professional musician. I am a part-time working drummer and I really enjoy it.
What profession would you least want to try?
At the end of your career, what is the one thing you hope you’ll be able to look back and say?
I would like to say that my career as a Facility Manager has made this world a better place for this generation and future generations. I want to feel good knowing that my contribution has reduced our impact on the planet while adding to the success of the organizations I’ve had the privilege to work with.
What terrific insight into the evolution of one person’s journey through Facility Management.
Jon, we most sincerely thank you for taking the time to share your thoughtful and humorous responses!