A BOMI Institute success story

Walt Flannery currently serves as the Supervisor of Operations and Maintenance at Chevron Park in San Ramon, Galif. Using more than 30 years of experience, he supervises more than 2 million sq. ft. among Chevron's San Ramon, Bishop Ranch and Dublin facilities.

Mr. Flannery was the first, and remains one of the few professionals, to earn all three of BOMI Institute's designations, RPA, FMA and SMA.

Q. Walt, how did you get started in the industry?

A. I started out in 1964 as a laborer for a plumbing contractor. It was a part-time job to give me some spending money. In 1966, I got into an apprenticeship program and worked nights and weekends while I attended California State University. Because I became a Journeyman Plumber while I earned my Bachelor of Arts in History, I found I could make twice as much money in plumbing and heating than I could teaching history. I achieved journeyman status in Heating, Air Conditioning, Pipe Fitting, Gas Fitting and Welding.

Eventually, I joined Chevron Corporation in its maintenance program, switched to the refinery operations team and worked my way up from there.

Q. What are your main responsibilities for Chevron?

A. I am the Supervisor of Operations and Maintenance at the San Ramon Facilities, which cover 142 acres. This includes a petroleum and geology lab, a data center, two warehouses and a 12 building office park (BOMA's 1990 Office Building of the Year, Corporate Facilities Headquarters category). I supervise seven members of the management team and more than 125 contractors. The San Ramon Facilities house about 3,500 employees.

Q. How has BOMI Institute training helped you personally?

A. My studies in the BOMI Institute programs led me to a new way of thinking about real estate and facilities. Naturally, I started out with the SMA program, but during my FMA and RPA studies I made that breakthrough from a "mechanic turned supervisor" to a facilities professional. No longer was I making reactionary decisions. I began making decisions based on carefully thought out life cycle cost analysis and extensive upfront engineering. I used many of the ideas laid out in the course texbooks to further improve my operations. The bottom line is that the BOMI Institute programs were key to my getting four promotions and doubling my salary in five years.

Q. Can you give an example of how Institute training has saved Chevron time or money?

A. The BOMI Institute course material has helped us to lower our operating costs each year. Today, for example, our staff is using concepts and strategies learned from Institute training to keep operating costs to the actual 1991 expenses. Our energy management programs are driving our utility costs down, thanks to SMA programs. Also, our preventative/predictive maintenance programs are paying for themselves through lower maintenance costs, less overtime and preventing breakdowns. We also use the contract negotiating and contract administration processes from the RPA and FMA curriculum to secure better contracts and improve company/contractor relationships.

Q. In what ways are you working differently today than 10 years ago?

A. I think the greatest change is that we are becoming more future-oriented. Instead of breakdown/crisis maintenance, we are moving into preventative/predictive/reliability-based maintenance programs. I've also seen greater emphasis on education in the last ten years. Ten years ago a degree or some experience was enough to get by. Today, in an era of continuous quality improvement, people need continuous training. Journeymen, for example, are no longer guys with oily rags and wrenches in their pockets. These are technical professionals with integrated processing, control and programming knowledge. They now have to know requirements for handling CFCs, hazardous waste, lock-out/tag-out procedures and safety data tracking. All this requires constant, cutting-edge training. This also goes for facilities managers and property managers.

Q. If there is one thing you can recommend to young people in the industry, what would that be?

A. To me, this is the key to the survival of the U.S. industry: Young people must seek out companies and industries that support mentor and internship programs. If you plan to be in the buildings industry, there is no better training than the combination of college education, BOMI Institute course work and practical experience through an apprenticeship or internship.




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