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Mentorship: Sustaining Knowledge in the Facilities Management Profession

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Teaching the Business Side of Construction

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1148.1 - 26.1148.10



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Paper Authors


Jake Smithwick Arizona State University Orcid 16x16

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Jake is a Researcher and Educator in the Del E. Webb School of Construction at Arizona State University (ASU). He received his degrees in Computer Information Systems and Construction Management, and spent six years in the US Air Force (Emergency Management). Jake works with owners, contractors, designers/engineers, and other agents in value-based project delivery, on a variety of delivery methods. He has supported over 250 projects totaling $600M of project value, in diverse scopes (new construction, tenant improvement, software services, health insurance, commodities, and others), at a wide range of public and private organizations (school districts, cities, counties, states, universities, manufacturers). Jake has given 100 presentations to more than 3,000 people throughout the United States and Canada. He is finishing a PhD in Construction Management and a Master of Public Administration (MPA). His research focuses on a flexible model for managing and optimizing construction overhead expenses.

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Kristen Caroline Hurtado Arizona State University

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Kristen Hurtado, MS, LEED AP (O+M), Fulbright Scholar, is a PhD student in Construction Management in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University (ASU). Currently, Kristen’s research is in the fields of measurement of adult learning in the built environment and how that relates to organizational change management. She is a lecturer and project manager at the Performance Based Studies Research Group (PBSRG), at ASU. Kristen has her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Construction Management, with an emphasis on Facilities Management from ASU. In her career, she has had the opportunity to work in the building industry for large international contractors, owners, consulting entities, and recently as an educator in the field. She has seen projects in the public, private, transportation, health, and manufacturing sectors. While also pursuing her PhD, Kristen is also working towards another graduate degree in Education and Instructional Design.

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Anna Thurston Arizona State University

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Anna Thurston is a Master's student at Arizona State University with professional experience in the optimization of the building life cycle and Strategic Facility Planning. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Urban and Environmental Planning from Arizona State University in 2013 and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Construction Management with a focus in Facility Management. She is passionate about the Built Environment and is committed to industry improvement, the application of sustainable practices and helping to foster student enrollment into the industry.

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Kenneth Timothy Sullivan Arizona State University

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Mentorship: Sustaining Knowledge in the Facilities Management ProfessionAbstract Mentorship has been shown to enhance career progression and learning of all partiesinvolved. Mentorship can take place between individuals with different organizational positions(i.e., an executive and the new junior salesperson), or even different levels of experience (a newhire with 20 years of experience at another job and the new hire straight out of college).Mentorship is a powerful tool due to its reciprocal nature: both parties gain mutual benefitthrough participation in the transaction. The mentee learns more about their profession orindustry, while the mentor may gain new perspectives on their field, or perhaps a different wayof explaining a certain nuance of the job. Mentoring relationships also have the effect of helpingthe junior person to the industry gain an identity and the proper socialization within anorganizational context. From these simple constructs, the reader may deduce that mentorship has positiveancillary benefits for an entire industry. One field that would highly benefit from increased useof mentoring educational experiences is building engineering (i.e., facilities management). A2010 survey of 169 facility managers found the profession of facility management (FM) does nothave a well-defined career path from entrance to retirement. Currently, there are 27 accreditedFM degree programs throughout the world. 64 percent of the survey’s respondents reported thatthey do not have a succession plan in place. The survey respondents also identified that 49percent were planning to retire in 10 years (73 percent retiring in 15 years). The lack of formaleducation programs, no long term succession planning, and an impending massive retirement ofFM professionals necessitates an immediate response that provides new entrants with some ofthe institutional and technical knowledge of the soon-to-be-retired FM professionals. Theauthors propose that student-industry mentorship helps address these problems. Over the past 18 months, the authors collaboratively developed a mentorship programbetween a local International Facility Management Association (IFMA) student chapter, theirsponsoring professional chapter, and the local university. Students and mentors are alignedbased on their mutual interests and expertise, and participate in a wide array of activities:coaching, job shadowing, resolving challenges, and project meetings. Data was collected onthree different aspects of the program: (1) survey of the local FM industry to gage their supportof a mentorship program, (2) pre- and post-surveys of program participants and their perceptionsof the FM industry, and (3) post-mentorship impacts (employment, another mentorship, degreechoice, etc.). In the pilot year of the program, the results showed positive local industry support,positive perceptions of the participants, and half of the student participants received paid full-time employment upon graduation. Further, the pilot year resulted in lessons learned and newstructural elements that were implemented in the second year of the program. This study willalso specifically focus on changes in student perceptions of the FM and built environmentindustry, and the students’ propensity to continue work in the field due to their mentorshipprogram participation.

Smithwick, J., & Hurtado, K. C., & Thurston, A., & Sullivan, K. T. (2015, June), Mentorship: Sustaining Knowledge in the Facilities Management Profession Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24485

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