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IFMA conference offers timely expertise on emergency preparedness and business continuity

Oct. 02, 2017

In the wake of destructive hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria, Houston-based IFMA is inviting professionals to learn about emergency planning and business continuity at its flagship event, the World Workplace Conference and Expo, to be held in Houston, Texas, USA, on Oct. 18-20. Presented in collaboration with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), this year’s conference theme is, “We are FM: A Universe of Possibilities.”

The statistics are shocking: 43 percent of businesses that close their doors following a natural disaster never re-open, yet 81 percent of the organizations IFMA surveyed did not have an up-to-date emergency preparedness and business continuity plan. As the largest and best-recognized professional association for FM professionals, IFMA polls members around the world to identify key competency areas and then builds educational curricula around them. One such competency area is emergency preparedness and business continuity — the ability to plan for emergencies before they hit and to recover quickly after.

Registration for World Workplace Conference and Expo is currently open at

What: World Workplace Conference and Expo
When: Oct. 18-20, 2017
Where: George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas, Houston, Texas, USA

IFMA’s matrix of educational offerings includes 8 courses about emergency preparedness and business continuity. For FM professionals, these courses can make all the difference in preparing for and recovering from natural disasters including hurricanes, earthquakes and fires, as well as events like terrorist attacks, active shooters and more. Class offerings include sessions such as:

  • Ready, Set, Exercise! How to Develop and Conduct a Business Continuity Plan Exercise
    Successful crisis management and disaster recovery takes more than a plan: it requires realistic testing and validation. Are your exercises smoke and mirrors or do they provide as-close-to-real situations as possible? How can you improve? During this hands-on workshop, you will learn how to set up and conduct a successful business continuity plan exercise. Through a mock exercise of an actual event as the case study, you’ll participate in response and recovery activities. We’ll use some surprise participants and provide timely insertions to add realism to the scenario.
  • The Facility Manager’s Keys to Effective Emergency Preparedness
    Facility managers and building engineers are the most important people when it comes to the safety and well-being of the individuals working in and visiting facilities. You are the one responders want to talk to when they first arrive on the scene after an incident. So, how can you be fully prepared to answer their questions? We’ll equip you with the key steps, strategies and resources necessary to achieve effective emergency preparedness. We’ll also highlight effective methods of staff instruction. You’ll walk away with the strategies and resources you need to either strengthen your existing emergency preparedness program or to begin building one. We’ll enable you to work collectively within your organization to protect your most valuable asset (your people) and give your operations a way to recover more quickly from a disruptive incident.
  • Developing a Portfolio-wide Emergency Management Program
    Many aspects of resiliency are the responsibility of the base building operator, but there are also features and operations that should be the responsibility of the facility manager. It’s important to understand the respective roles and responsibilities and ensure that there is good coordination and collaboration between the building manager and the occupant’s facility manager. This presentation describes a strategic approach to evaluate the resiliency of a corporate portfolio in terms of the four pillars of an emergency management program: 1) Mitigation; 2) (documented) Plans; 3) Readiness to respond; and 4) Recovery to business as usual.

In addition, IFMA’s Corporate Facilities Council (CFC) will host a two-hour session titled “Real Life Conversations: Business Continuity Planning” beginning at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 18, in Room 310A. This panel will feature CFC members who have real-life experience with business continuity planning. Each will provide a unique perspective, examples and practical advice to help all facilities professionals be prepared for whatever challenges may arise.


  • Alice Hogueisson, CFM, SFP, Director of Facilities and Business Continuity Plan Owner at Edelman Public Relations
  • Lisa De Rosa, CFM, FMP, CM-Lean, Corporate Director of Facilities and Office Services, Sundt Construction
  • R. Mark Ellis, CFM, a seasoned facility professional most recently Integrated Workplace Services Director for North America at Nike
  • Paul Boundy, President, LRS Architects
  • Sarah Wortman, LRS Architects​ (moderator)

World Workplace is the original all-encompassing learning and networking event on facilities and how to manage them. There’s program value for FM professionals at every point of their careers and across all types of facilities. Although many have tried to imitate its success, World Workplace remains the gold standard for discovering new ideas and technology impacting the FM industry. Just as Houston has been a key staging point for humanity’s exploration of outer space, World Workplace in Houston will be the launching point for FM professionals into exciting new dimensions of discovery.