The Next Generation of Facility Management: Nurturing Millennial Leadership

Authors: Jake A. Gunnoe, PhD, Jacob S. Kashiwagi, PhD, Rick Corea



Workforce demographics are changing as baby-boomers approach retirement. By 2020, nearly
half of the workforce will be younger than 35. This poses a challenge in industries that are
dominated by older employees. This paper examines how changing workforce demographics will
affect one of these at-risk industries, facility management. The authors propose that to mitigate
the negative effects of an employee exodus, the FM industry (and other similar industries), will
have to embrace the next generation of leadership. The authors suggest that young employees
may not have the same technical training as older employees, but they can still effectively assume
leadership roles if they are taught to properly integrate new technology and utilize the expertise
of others. This teaching methodology is the “FM of the Future” approach. This research shows
the results of implementing the “FM of the Future” approach in an International Facility
Management Associate student chapter to create a pipeline of high-performing students to
assume FM roles. The results of the effort reveal two key findings: college students can
implement this model to effectively manage industry projects which result in significant cost
avoidance ($4 million), and second, high school students can use this training to develop
leadership skills to help them become less stressed, more stable, and better students. The authors
recommend additional case studies with both college students and high school students.
Keywords: Education, Facility management, test results, performance.