When I first entered the editorial offices of Buildings in September 1981 as an eager, inexperienced associate editor, I knew very little about the commercial real estate industry and even less about the building owner. At the time, commercial real estate was booming, and the decade looked promising: Demand for and construction of offices were on the rise, improvements to a declining rental housing stock were pledged, and the opportunities for the development of mega-malls in the retail sector appeared almost inexhaustible as a steady flow of investment and foreign monies flowed into the marketplace. The building owner and manager, I quickly learned from my colleagues and industry insiders, had ultimate responsibility for the development, construction, and management of these properties, not only as the solitary authority that funded their successful operation, but also as the professional organization that had to live with any decisions made long after the architect, engineer, contractor, or consultant had moved on to other projects. Since then, not a day has gone by when I haven't learned something new from some savvy member of this elite group, and it has intrigued and fascinated me for the past 27 years. Simply put, I love the business of buildings.
My first assignment was to present the latest update to the American National Standards Institute's (ANSI's) A117.1 accessibility standards for properties that were federally funded; 9 years later, when I was in the middle of my first year as editor of the Buildings brand, the Americans with Disabilities Act became one of the decade's revolutionary breakthroughs.
Energy conservation and management were top-of-mind for Buildings readers when I first began my career, but subsequent years saw the re-emergence of environmental concerns, too. A growing awareness of poor indoor air quality was first linked to the effects of sick building syndrome. The signing of the Montreal Protocol in 1987 mandated the discontinued production of such ozone-depleting substances as certain refrigerants, fire-suppression chemicals, insulation, and aerosols. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency introduced its voluntary "Green Lights" program (the precursor to ENERGY STAR®) in 1991, while a group of friends and industry colleagues decided that the way they were constructing projects could be accomplished in a manner that would be less damaging to the environment while still being profitable. This group eventually became a coalition of like-minded professionals, known as the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), who developed a framework to help design and construct environmentally friendly, energy-efficient buildings (LEED). Let's not forget industry suppliers that addressed the challenges facing the buildings industry, by creating a multitude of products—from compact fluorescents to flooring made from recycled content—that were never before deemed possible or profitable, as well as the organizations, like BOMA Intl. and IFMA, which helped grow the profession and direct the industry. Topics were ever-evolving, but the goals of professional building ownership and facilities management remained the same: quality, customer service, and optimal performance.
I've written thousands of articles, both in-print and online, and a couple hundred editorials, and this—my 228th and last one—has been written with a hint of sadness as I look forward to enjoying the early retirement my family (thank you, Jim and Andrew) and I have planned for the past few years. More importantly, though, it's written with great pride and an appreciation of being a part of your professional lives this past quarter century as I pass the reins to the very capable hands of Editor Jana J. Madsen, Managing Editor Leah B. Garris, and New Products Editor Jenna M. Aker, who will take the Buildings brand to greater heights. I look forward to receiving each month's issue and frequently referencing Buildings.com.
It's never easy to say goodbye, so let me end with this: Thank you, my friends, and God Bless.