The grey skies that brought welcomed rains to the Los Angeles area over the weekend had been replaced by warm Southern California sunshine by the time the winter meeting of Facilities Services Network got underway on Monday, March 3. It was the 40th meeting for the group of now 20 independent member companies with a 15-year history of promoting professionalism, best practices and high performance in the facility services segment of the contract furniture industry.
Day 1 Overview
Gene Kosman, President of the FSN Executive Committee, called the meeting to order at 8:00 AM Monday and offered welcoming remarks.
Following a motivational talk by the meeting moderator, Andy Jacobs of Rapid Information Destruction Services, the attendees engaged enthusiastically in what is the customary highlight of an FSN meeting: a roundtable discussion of economic, market and technical challenges, lessons learned since the group’s last meeting (in this case, September 2013 in Boston) and the members’ major goals and initiatives in 2014.
Rounding out the morning session, George Kosovic (Cogent Editorial) provided a workshop on social marketing and Carl Clappison (a Chartered Accountant and Certified Financial Planner) updated the attendees on FSN’s financials and explained the timeline and process for the group’s operational and financial benchmarking in 2014.
Risk management topics dominated the afternoon session. Gene Kosman (Colonial Systems) covered proposed best practices for terms and conditions and provided an update on business insurance considerations. Rick Kelly (Multi Systems Installation) presented a case study in unfunded pension liability.
The session turned to product education when Rob Way, the president of Swiftspace, Inc., made a presentation on the company’s recently released ForeSight Benching System. Swiftspace, based near Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, offers a wide and ever-expanding range of fast and flexible workspace solutions.
A discussion regarding plans for FSN’s summer and fall meetings (June before NeoCon in Chicago, Toronto in mid-September) closed out the afternoon. There was a group dinner Monday evening at The Lobster, a restaurant near Santa Monica Pier.
Day 2 Overview
The host members for the Santa Monica meeting—Environments Plus (EPI) and Service West—provided enjoyable bookends for the Tuesday agenda.
The morning started with welcoming remarks by Mark Cordell, the president of Environments Plus, and an overview by Mark Cordell Jr. (new business development, project management) of EPI’s mission, clientele, operating profile and staff. The presentation included a virtual tour of the company’s headquarters and Los Angeles office, in San Fernando, Calif., and San Diego office. Aaron Buckner (business development) closed out the EPI portion of the agenda by presenting EPI’s earthquake preparedness services, a new area of business for the company.
The afternoon activity was a motor coach ride to Service West’s branch in Fullerton, Calif., for lunch and a warehouse tour. Mark Vignoles, the CEO of Service West, gave some historical background on the company’s Southern California branch and then introduced Paul Langlois, the general manager. Paul led the warehouse tour, explaining some of the improvements he has put in place since becoming the GM about three months ago. (Service West also operates in Northern California, with corporate headquarters and branch operations in San Leandro and branch operations in Sacramento.)
In between these host-member activities, the meeting attendees posed on the terrace for group photos, held elections for replacements on the Executive Committee required by FSN’s by-laws and heard a presentation on the business management system E-Manage. Stephan Edwards, the president of Systemcenter, a Honolulu-based Haworth Authorized Dealer, made the presentation. Nathan Wittig, the market manager for Systemcenter’s commercial business, was also there representing E-Manage. The recently completed implementation of E-Manage for Turnkey Project Services, an FSN member company, provided something of a case study for the group’s discussion.