CRE Newsletter Showcases AEF

In a March 1st e-newsletter, spotlights the Foundation in a feature article that quotes AEF Chair Kathy Barnes of Akridge (pictured). Here’s an excerpt :
By Tanya Sterling | March 01, 2019 :

“WASHINGTON, DC—For many years, building owners and managers have had a challenging time recruiting, hiring and retaining the next generation of building engineers or building maintenance employees. In response to this urgent need, the AOBA Educational Foundation (AEF) was created mainly to provide comprehensive and regional solutions for this engineering talent crisis.

“The baby boomers are starting to retire and the generation following up is smaller and not as available. Plus a lot of millennials believe their only path, post-high school, is to go to a 4-year college,” says Kathy Barnes, Senior Vice President, Property Management, Akridge, a real estate services company and AEF Board Member.

Building engineers are not necessarily blue-collar jobs. They are more of a gray-collared job where one works in smart and sophisticated buildings and are more customer-service oriented. Building engineers are exposed to a variety of different technologies, both to assist tenants and also to monitor and control the various building systems. Tenant management-related technologies include digital communication plus utilization of apps to help manage tenant service requests and track preventive maintenance tasks. Building engineer managers now walk around with not only a tool-belt, but also a laptop, tablet and a cellphone.

“Thirty years ago, a building manager could respond to an issue within 24 hours,” says Barnes. “Now they respond in 5 minutes. Customers now have higher expectations.”

Building engineers also help to oversee a commercial building’s automation systems utilizing computer systems and apps that monitor and control the various building systems including lighting, HVAC, life safety systems, lighting, access control systems, CCTV and video surveillance and elevators. As a result, building engineers needs to show proficiency in both tool skills and well as the use of technology.

Building owners are literally putting the health of their 400,000 square foot building into the hands of experienced building engineers, Barnes tells Unfortunately for them, the hiring pool is getting smaller and smaller.”

To read more, check out AEF’s Facebook page at: