Title & Organization: Supervisor,
3M Real Estate
Portfolio & Operations:
3M operates 82 manufacturing facilities in 29 states. We have 102 manufacturing and converting facilities in 35 countries outside the United States. In total, 3M has approximately 600 sites in 70 countries that total 70 million sq. ft. (6.5 million sq. m.). The majority of our sites are owned. At the end of 2008, 3M employed a total of 79,183 people, with 33,662 of those based in the U.S. What does your company manufacture?
3M is a diversified technology company with a global presence in Industrial and Transportation (industrial tapes, abrasives and adhesives), Health Care (medical tapes, products and dental products), Security and Protection Services (loss prevention devices, respirators and hearing protection), Consumer and Office (Scotch® tape and Post-it® Notes, Filtrete™ filters for furnaces and air conditioners), Display and Graphics (optical films for flat screen monitors, films for windows, graphics for buses and trains) and Electro and Communications (electronic connectors and flexible circuits). To whom do you report?
I report to the Manager of Real Estate, who in turn reports to the Vice President of Corporate Tax. The Vice President of Tax reports directly to the CFO. I serve our international businesses in Asia and Latin America. In addition, I support a portion of our business unit locations in the United States. The team that reports to me has responsibility for U.S. and Canada locations. How many years have you worked in the profession?
My first position in real estate was in 1994. Prior to that I was managing construction projects on both owned and leased sites for that same company, based in Chicago. I joined 3M in the fall of 2005 and now focus primarily in the real estate field. Where and what did you study?
I have a B.B.A. in Economics from the University of Iowa. I have also studied advanced accounting and construction project management at a few other schools as I moved around. Describe the most important transaction or project for which you were responsible.
Each time my phone rings, the project that the caller wants to discuss is the most important issue at the time. That sounds like a canned answer, but it is true. Maybe a fair response would be the closing of a site. There are so many issues to keep in front of you: equipment relocation and removal, the community interests, your company's financial goals. Then sprinkle in the occasional defect in your title that occurred 70 years ago, or an environmental issue. There are more activities to manage and a greater number of potential hurdles and outcomes that you are faced with when you close a site and work to transfer the property to its next user. What is the biggest professional challenge you face on a regular basis?
Today's economic climate has certainly challenged our team. With the demand to shave costs and conserve cash, we needed to comb through the portfolio to find opportunities. I am very fortunate to be employed by a firm that has a strong balance sheet, but once the credit crisis hit we changed the priority of the data points we analyze in comparing opportunities. We have always looked at the P&L impact and cash flow aspects of any transaction. Now the cash flow has a much higher profile as compared to the bottom-line impact. How is the role of manager of real estate evolving?
This question ties directly to my answer above. There is certainly more work load to balance, and the types of things that cross my desk contain a very large range of activities. The real change is that we are more involved with the development of real estate strategies to support the business goals. This is exciting work and really gives us the opportunity to add value to the company. But at the same you cannot get lost in that process.
You must keep those transactions moving – lease renewals, easements … everyone reading this knows the drill. You name it and our department is handling it. The real art to managing a large international portfolio is time management and constantly rebalancing your priorities. Which technology do you consider to be essential in your professional life?
Starting this month we are going to implement a new global site database system for leased and owned sites. This project will take two years to complete, and I am very excited that we received approval to move forward with it. What is the value of IAMC membership to you?
The professional network is number one. I have reached out to our active members to learn about real estate practices in countries that are new territory for me. I have reached out to our associate EDC members to gather data on available sites and state programs. There are a number of associate members from the real estate services industry whom I have worked with, and many more whom I have contacted for advice and information. We have created a fantastic community of knowledge that is very easy to tap into. I think it is safe to say that no matter what comes across one of our members' desks, some other member has had the same issue at one time. You can always reach out for advice.
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