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Karen McClellan

Title & Organization:
Corporate Real Estate Manager,
Schneider Electric North America,
Palatine, Ill.

Schneider has over 10 million sq. ft. (929,000 sq. m.) of both owned and leased property in North America.

What does your company manufacture?
The North American Operating Division of Schneider Electric had sales of $2.8 billion in 2005. The North American Operating Division is one of four operating divisions of Schneider Electric, headquartered in Paris, France, and markets the Square D, Telemecanique and Merlin Gerin brand products to customers in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In the United States, Schneider Electric is best known by its flagship Square D brand, with Telemecanique becoming increasingly known in the industrial control and automation markets and supported by many Square D distributors. For 100 years, Square D has been a market- leading brand of electrical distribution and industrial control products, systems and services. Schneider Electric is a global electrical industry leader with 2005 sales of approximately $14.5 billion.

To whom do you report?
Vice President of Safety, Real Estate, and Environmental Affairs.

How many years have you worked in the profession?
I've been with the company for almost ten years and in my current position just over three years. I began my career with Schneider in the Purchasing organization. The company went through some restructuring and as a result the company decided to outsource our transaction management to one service provider. I was then offered the position in the Real Estate organization and have been thoroughly enjoying the job since that time!

Where and what did you study?
I earned my Bachelor of Science in Operations Management from Miami University in Ohio and a Masters Degree in Business from the University of Dayton.

Describe the most important transaction or project for which you were responsible.
One of the recent major transactions my team completed was opening a new distribution center. Included in this project was the closure and sale of the old distribution facility and the lease acquisition of a new facility. The project took more than a year to complete and encompassed a search area of several states, working with local and state economic development groups, and finding an investment company to purchase our selected property. The old property was sold and we are now successfully shipping from our newly leased facility.

What is the biggest professional challenge you face on a regular basis?
Our company is in a growth mode and I am continually faced with the challenge of working with new acquisition companies. Each new acquisition means introducing my team, the services we offer and encouraging them to work with us on all real estate issues.

How is the role of manager of real estate evolving?
At Schneider, the role of the real estate manager is evolving into a job of coordinating strategically between the different Schneider businesses. We are trying to keep from duplicating facilities in many parts of the country and are involved up front in the acquisition process to determine where there are opportunities for consolidation.

Which technology do you consider to be essential in your professional life?
Our database is the most important tool and is an absolute everyday essential. We don't have a high- powered database with all of the extras, but just a simple database that we work hard to keep accurate and current. This database allows us to provide up- to- date reports and information immediately to our internal customers and senior management.

What is the value of IAMC membership to you?
Membership in IAMC allows me the opportunity to network with other Corporate Real Estate professionals on a regular basis. Because this is a smaller organization, I am getting to know many of the members and feel I can call on them for direction when necessary. In addition, the Forums provide an excellent way to keep up with the trends in real estate and benchmark the performance of my team.

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