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About IFMA

Brief History of IFMA


In the early 1970s, a move toward using systems furniture (commonly referred to as cubicles) and the introduction of computer terminals into the workplace helped set the evolutionary course of facility management. As FM grew, those tasked with overseeing the new workplace were in need of guidance.

At that time, there was no organization that focused on providing information to manage the office environment. The first step toward the formation of a more specialized organization occurred in December 1978 when Herman Miller Research Corp. hosted a conference, “Facility Influence on Productivity,” in Ann Arbor, Mich., USA.

This conference brought together the three founders of IFMA. George Graves of Texas Eastern Transmission Corp., Charles Hitch of Manufacturer’s Bank in Detroit and David Armstrong of Michigan State University voiced a need for an organization comprised of facility professionals from private industry.

George Graves at Podium


In May 1980, Graves hosted a meeting in Houston to establish a formal organizational base for a facility management association. By the end of the meeting, the National Facility Management Association had a constitution, bylaws, temporary officers and plans to expand nationally.

At the first National Facility Management Association meeting in October 1980, there were 47 participants — 25 were direct members of the association. The attendees from Houston helped establish the first chapter and committed to host the second annual national conference. Shortly after the 1981 conference, the name was changed to the International Facility Management Association to accommodate a growing Canadian membership.

1990s and beyond

In the more than three decades since IFMA’s inception, the association has grown exponentially. With more than 24,000 members in 94 countries with 130 chapters and 17 councils, the association advances the global facility management profession by providing exceptional services, products, resources and opportunities.

Through educational programs available online and in person, three credential programs, original research, the Knowledge Library, a Career Center, industry-leading publications and ample opportunities for all involved in the facility management profession to network with others, IFMA is the ultimate resource for facility management professionals as well as the leader in promoting excellence in management of the work environment.