When BOMI Institute first began offering professional education 25 years ago, the commercial property industry was a very different business. There were no such things as "smart buildings," the ADA or IAQ. Today, new challenges and more sophisticated asset management and operations strategies are reshaping the industry.
Celebrating its 25th Anniversary, BOMI Institute continues to be on the cutting edge of helping property managers, facilities managers, building engineers and maintenance technicians obtain the practical training necessary to keep up in these ever-changing times.
Of course, when this education institute was founded in 1970, there were no fax machines, car phones or PCs. BOMI's staff of two used to assemble by hand the documents used as textbooks. Like the industry it serves, BOMI Institute has come a long way.
Today, it offers four professional designation programs, a multitude of specialized courses and boasts 30,000 students in its educational programs. Each year, BOMI's staff -- now numbering more than 50 people -- enrolls 2,500 new students, prints 16,000 textbooks, administers 14,000 examinations and graduates approximately 1,000 professional designees in the commercial property field.
"BOMI Institute has progressed from providing a core curriculum of 'fundamentals' for property managers to offering education courses that cover essentially all facets of commercial property," says Mary L. Lowe, RPA, a property manager with Cushman & Wakefield of Illinois and chairman of BOMI Institute. "I can think of no better way professionals can improve their career or their company's bottom line than through our educational programs."
MEETING THE NEEDS OF A DYNAMIC INDUSTRY
In today's recovering commercial real estate market, many organizations have been forced to cut budgets or staff. Although these downsizing efforts may have been necessary for survival, the results have often left staff ill-prepared to meet increasing workloads and new demands.
On the other side of the table, tenants are demanding new and expanded services for the same amount or fewer dollars. Increased government regulations, too, are putting additional pressures on property staff and the ability of owners and investors to profit.
For building owners, as well as property and facility managers, the key to meeting these many challenges is to have a workforce that has been trained to do more with less.
"In today's instant information, high-tech business world, professional education is a prerequisite to success," says David A. Henrichon, CPE, FMA, staff director of NYNEX's Buildings Technical Training Center. "The timeliness and scope of BOMI Institute's education programs are an integral part of making our real estate professionals world class."
One secret to the Institute's success is its responsiveness to the needs of both new and experienced industry professionals. New courses are constantly being developed as new issues emerge, from environmental compliance to the growing fields of facilities and asset management. Information-hungry professionals can enroll in BOMI courses one at a time, or take a multi-layered curriculum to earn a professional designation. All programs are consistently updated to give students the latest information relevant to their jobs.
"The training I received from BOMI keeps me on top of new approaches to running my building," says John C. Radcliffe, SMA, chief engineer of Broad Street Associates, whose 300,000-sq.-ft. building houses approximately 900 employees. "Ultimately, both the owners and tenants gain from my being up on advancements in the industry."
From AT&T to Cushman & Wakefield -- corporate real estate departments, property management companies, government agencies and local unions turn to BOMI Institute to improve staff skills and increase profit margins.
"BOMI's programs have helped me implement new energy management strategies, as well as enhance my administrative and human relations skills," says Raymond A. Zampino, SMA, chief engineer with Ogden Services Corporation, CPC International Inc. "I was able to cut operating expenses at our facility without sacrificing comfort!"
Learning how to cut energy costs is just one of the many benefits of a BOMI education. Managers report greater staff productivity and increased individual responsibility. They also see lower turnover rates as employees recognize their company's commitment to staff development. And cross-training among employees in different departments can break down communication barriers that stand in the way of efficiency and increased returns on investments.
In addition, as employees gain advanced credentials, they bring further credibility to the company. According to Cushman & Wakefield's Kenneth A. Shearer, RPA, CPM, "The unique scope of the BOMI programs, from SMA courses for building system specialists to RPA courses for our property managers, is invaluable to providing excellent service to the owners we represent."
Like many companies, Cushman & Wakefield views professional education as a solid investment. "We subsidize our employees costs to utilize BOMI Institute's educational programs," says Shearer. Companies know that committing financial resources to their work force -- the same kind of investment made in hard assets -- will continue to pay big dividends year after year.
Four Convenient Study Plans
BOMI Institute offers a variety of convenient study methods to its students. Classes are sponsored by local Building Owners and Managers Associations (BOMA) in nearly 70 cities throughout North America. Whether spending one evening per week for 15 weeks or devoting weekend time, course participants work with colleagues and learn directly from industry experts who represent a wide variety of specialties.
An equally popular method, Self-Study, allows busy professionals to take courses wherever and whenever they want. They learn at their own pace, using easy-to-follow study guides that present the same information covered by students in the classroom.
Another option is the Accelerated Review class, an intensive four-day program that requires advanced self-study. Looking ahead, the Institute envisions a series of shorter seminars designed to meet demanding schedules, and is looking into developing one-day and two-day seminars.
Corporate employees may get one of the best deals, since the Institute can arrange to hold classes directly on a company's premises. These programs are usually run as four-day accelerated review classes, but can be set up in a variety of ways to accommodate the sponsoring organization. Many unions and government agencies also opt for this method.
College and Continuing Education Credits
Of the states that currently require licensed property professionals to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs), essentially all have accepted BOMI Institute's courses.
The American Council on Education (ACE) has recommended that many BOMI courses are eligible for college credit. Already, numerous colleges and universities offer these courses through their own continuing education programs. In addition, the Institute for Real Estate Management (IREM) welcomes BOMI courses to satisfy its own CEU requirements, and the International Facility Managers Association (IFMA) recognizes the value of BOMI Institute courses as a valuable resource for achieving its CFM designation.
For 25 years, BOMI Institute has provided property professionals with the tools they need to succeed.
"As a member of the first BOMI graduating class, I have watched the acceptance and necessity of the Institute's courses and designations grow significantly," says Jerry Rowe, RPA, CPM, senior vice president, United Properties. "Over that time, I have witnessed how these students transfer what they learn into bringing a higher level of professionalism to their companies."
That commitment to excellence has helped to advance the entire commercial property industry. After twenty-five years of achievement, BOMI Institute will continue to provide professional education to answer tomorrow's questions.
BOMI INSTITUTE COURSES ADDRESS HOT TOPICS
The Institute's new and updated courses give property professionals valuable skills and the latest information relevant to their jobs. The courses cover a variety of subject areas, from broad "fundamentals" courses, to more specific subjects that can fill a specific knowledge gap:
* Property and Facilities Management
* Building Operations and Systems Maintenance
* Finance and Asset Management
* The Environment
* Leasing and Marketing
* Real Estate Law
Focusing on the Environment
One of the Institute's newest courses, Environmental Health and Safety Issues, addresses today's critical environmental concerns. It provides concrete suggestions for protecting workers and the public from potential hazards found in and around buildings. Among the many topics covered are asbestos, indoor air quality (IAQ), office ergonomics and health and safety laws. The course also focuses on how to handle potential hazardous waste, stormwater/wastewater, storage tanks and pollution control.
In addition, the Environmental course helps professionals by clarifying government regulations. Compliance with OSHA and EPA guidelines is covered, as well as how to handle environmental assessments, audits and recordkeeping. This course alone can save a building owner from tremendous liability and financial loss.
The accompanying textbook is complete with facts, figures and strategies that should be required reading for all property professionals.
Improving Asset Management
Another new Institute course addresses one of today's most important skills -- asset management. It focuses on how to maximize the value of a single property or an entire porfolio within the objectives of an owner, and takes participants through a series of situations from acquisition to disposition.
The course emphasizes effective strategic planning and includes investment analysis, operation analysis and the proper positioning of a property within the marketplace to retain and attract tenants.
In addition to the regular course, the Institute is considering the development of one-day and two-day seminars covering the Asset Management course's key points. The textbook will also be made available separately as a reference guide.
Addressing Today's Ethical Dilemmas
BOMI Institute also has unveiled a new seminar, "Ethics is Good Business," which will highlight ethical issues affecting professional image and performance. This seminar will identify, analyze and encourage ethical decision making on the job. "Ethics" will be the first Institute program available solely as a one-day seminar.
To prepare the course, discussion groups were held with working property professionals across the United States and Canada to analyze the kinds of ethical dilemmas they regularly encounter. From this pool of "real life" situations, the Institute created a series of hypothetical case studies that form the heart of this new seminar.
Because these case studies stem from actual incidents, participants review realistic dilemmas that could directly affect their daily work and careers. Among the ethical topics addressed are tenant relations, such as representation and leases; company policies such as confidentiality, record keeping and trade secrets; financial issues including budgeting, commingling and proper use of funds; and conflicts of interest such as gifts, kickbacks and nepotism.
Many states require specific training in ethics for property professionals. BOMI, too, sets strict ethical standards for all designation candidates.
For information about any new BOMI INSTITUTE course for yourself or for your company, call 1-800-235-BOMI.
BOMI DESIGNATIONS ARE MARKS OF PROFESSIONAL EXCELLENCE
The four BOMI Institute designations are marks of excellence that can increase a professional's reputation and a company's ROI. Each offers a comprehensive educational program focusing on a specific industry career path.
In addition, designees must agree to a strict Code of Professional Ethics and Conduct. This increases the esteem of the designations and promotes honesty as an integral part of a graduate's reputation.
REAL PROPERTY ADMINISTRATOR FOR PROPERTY MANAGERS
By earning the RPA credentials, property managers gain advanced skills to improve their building's bottom line. Nine separate courses provide in-depth coverage of the design and operation of building systems, energy management, legal and financial issues, asset management, the environment and more.
More than 6,500 property managers hold this title, and nearly 1,000 enter the program every year. Throughout the industry, the RPA is recognized as the preeminent program to teach managers how to stream-line operations, minimize risk and maximize leasing and marketing opportunities.
FACILITIES MANAGEMENT ADMINISTRATOR FOR FACILITIES MANAGERS
The FMA program prepares facilities managers to effectively handle the competing priorities of one of the industry's fastest growing professions. As managers progress through seven FMA courses, they gain a better understanding of new technologies and building systems, project management, budgeting, office ergonomics, safety, security and more.
Enrollment in this program continues to rise as FMAs set the professional standard for those in the facilities management field.
SYSTEMS MAINTENANCE TECHNICIAN AND SYSTEMS MAINTENANCE ADMINISTRATOR FOR
MAINTENANCE TECHNICIANS AND BUILDINGS ENGINEERS
In either the SMT or SMA designation program, building technicians will develop the job skills that save time, energy and money. Five practical courses in boilders and heating systems, refrigeration systems, air handling, water treatment and plumbing, and electrical systems make up the SMT. Three additional courses in building design and maintenance, energy management and supervision add up to the SMA.
These programs provide much needed education for building staff who are often behind the scenes, but who can make a dramatic impact on overall operations and profitability.
BOMI INSTITUTE COURSES
COVER THE SPECTRUM OF COMMERCIAL PROPERTY
* Fundamentals of Real Property Administration
* Facilities Management and the Work Environment
* Technology for Facilities Management
* Facilities Planning and Project Management
* Managing Real Estate and General Services Activities
Operations and Maintenance Courses
* The Design, Operation, and Maintenance of Building Systems, Part I
* The Design, Operation, and Maintenance of Building Systems, Part II
* Boilders, Heating Systems and Applied Mathematics
* Refrigeration Systems and Accessories
* Air Handling, Water Treatment, and Plumbing Systems
* Electrical Systems and Illumination
* Building Control Systems
Finance and Asset Management Courses
* Risk Management and Insurance
* Real Estate Investment and Finance
* Managing Facilities as Assets
* Real Property Accounting
* Asset Management
* Environmental Health and Safety Issues
* Energy Management
* Leasing and Marketing for Property Managers
* Law for Property Managers
* Ethics is Good Business
The Institute makes it convenient to take individual courses or earn an RPA, FMA, or SMT/SMA designation. Courses are available in nearly 70 cities in North America, as well as through self-study and an accelerated review program. Busy professionals can select the study method that best meets their geographic location, personal needs and professional schedules. For a free course catalog, call the Institute at 1-800-235-2664.
Property and Facility Managers are invited to join their peers in BOMA International. Managing more than 6 billion sq. ft. of office space, BOMA members include building owners, managers, developers, corporate facility managers and a host of related industry professionals, from both public and private sectors.
BOMA International has achieved high visibility for its work involving prominent issues such as indoor air quality, proposed OSHA regulations and the phaseout of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Keeping members informed about the impact of these changes and other issues affecting the industry is BOMA's number one priority. For more information about joining BOMA International, call 1-800-426-6292.