Member Profiles

Member Profiles

Michael Kurland, Founder and CEO, Branded Group, Inc., has worked in the facility management industry for more than 14 years and launched Branded Group five years ago. We asked him his thoughts on FM and the value of his PRSM membership. 

What is the most interesting FM task you have been asked to do?

We completed a rollout for a national retailer where we renovated more than 75 of their employee breakrooms. It was an extensive and detail-oriented process. I oversaw the project from inception to completion. 

What are the main benefits you get from being a PRSM member?

The various networking events, which provide a valuable opportunity to brainstorm with my industry colleagues. I believe it is important that we collectively support and enhance the reputation of the industry. 

What advice would you give to someone entering the FM industry?

Network with industry peers. If you’re on the retail side, network with vendors, and if you’re on the vendor side, network with retailers. Focus on building authentic relationships, rather than selling. Gather as much knowledge as you can, because there’s always something to learn.

What do you see as the biggest challenges to the retail FM industry and why?

Facility management is often overlooked in the real estate department. Many times, the first line item to be cut from the budget is maintenance, which to me seems counterintuitive. If you don’t keep your stores looking fresh and inviting, customers will not want to shop in them. There is no immediate ROI on facility maintenance. However, it is a valuable investment in your brand, which influences your customer’s experience during every visit. 

Jamie Hubbard, Assistant Vice President, Procurement, Ascena Retail Group, has been working in facilities management on and off for 10 years. We talked with him about what he enjoys most about the industry, and asked what advice he has for those entering the field. 

Why were you interested in FM as a career? 

I love the fast-paced, ever-changing ebb and flow of the retail world. When I moved to corporate, what I missed most was interaction. Being in facilities, you can ultimately impact stores and customers in an interesting way. 

What are the main benefits you get from being a PRSM member? 

Definitely the supplier interaction, talking to new suppliers who can bring new fresh ideas to our organization — and the interaction with our peers, especially during the shows, talking about what products they’re looking at, what strategies they’ve put in place and what new technologies we’re not up to speed on. 

What advice would you give to someone entering the FM industry? 

You have to be prepared to handle different tasks every day. If you’re not a person who likes a challenge and turning chaos into structure, it’s not for you. You have to be prepared to handle the good with the bad. 

What do you see as the biggest challenges to the retail FM industry and why?

Most fleets out there are aging and funds available to bring everybody up to speed may be unrealistic. It’s a balance to pick the right supplier and the right number of stores that they can handle to be successful and to balance that with the right number of team members to make sure that your customer service is up to par while still managing the cost. 

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Published: January 31, 2019