Episode 13

Building Operations & Maintenance and Creating an Asset-Driven Culture

with Dean Stanberry, CFM, LEED AP O+M of GSA & IFMA

Dean Stanberry, CFM, LEED AP O+M, is a solutions-oriented facilities professional with over 20 years of broad-based experience in facilities management, real estate portfolio management, process & quality improvement, procurement, workplace services, program and project management, space & occupancy planning, sustainability, information systems implementation, and critical environment operations. Mike Petrusky asks Dean about his experiences related to asset management and they explore ISO 55000, building operations, reliability centered maintenance, and creating an asset-driven culture. They also enjoy some rock and roll music and share concert road trip stories which leads to a Don Henley edition of “podcast karaoke”!Your Asset Management Toolkit

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Read the full transcript:

Dean Stanberry (00:00):

You go back to the basics, so examine the pyramid of process, people, and tools. First, you need to have a well-defined set of operational processes designed to deliver the desired organizational results. If you can't design it on blue lined paper, you'll never make it work in a piece of software.

Mike (00:21):

This is the Asset Champion podcast, where we talk with facilities maintenance and asset management leaders about the industry trends and technologies impacting your organization. This show is powered by the iOFFICE Asset Division, delivering easy to use maintenance management software tools to help you drive powerful asset performance.

            Hey everybody, welcome to the show. My name is Mike. This is episode 13 of the Asset Champion podcast, and I've got to kick things off with an exciting announcement. We have a new comment that's been posted on Apple Podcasts, it's a review, and I have promised to give a shout-out to anyone who writes one. So, hey Louis R. Gonzalez of Houston, Texas. Thank you sir, for taking time to share your thoughts about the new show. Louis said some very nice things, and it made my day. The only complaint he had was that the show is just a little bit too short. Should be an hour, right, Louis?

            Well, I wish it could be. I understand your feelings there, and maybe someday we will do a longer form version of this show. I like the idea, and I do it for my Workplace Innovator podcast. We have an hour long live conversation every week, and maybe if the audience keeps building, we'll be able to do that for the Asset Champion community as well. But in the meantime, thank you so much, and anyone else out there who is enjoying these podcasts, please take just a moment, head over to Apple Podcasts, leave us an honest rating and write a short review, and hey, maybe you will hear your name on a future episode.

            But today, we have an amazing guest. Dean Stanberry is someone who I have admired for a long time. He is a facilities professional with over 20 years of experience across many disciplines, not the least of which is asset management. So I got a chance to talk with Dean and ask about his current experiences working for the GSA. There is a lot to share here, and as Louis said, there's just not enough time for it all, so let's not waste any of it. Let's get to it.

            Calling in today on the Asset Champion hotline from Denver, Colorado, I am pleased to welcome Dean Stanberry to the show. Hi, Dean.

Dean Stanberry (02:47):

Good morning, Mike. Glad we could put this together.

Mike (02:50):

As am I, sir, I've known you for many years. Certainly, your leadership role at the International Facility Management Association is something that I've appreciated, and I have had the chance to get to know your work over the years. You're now the second vice chair of the Global Board of Directors, so congratulations.

Dean Stanberry (03:09):

Thank you. That was effective July 1st. We have a mid-year fiscal year, as well changing over our leadership, and I am now in the second vice chair role, part of the Executive Committee, and on a progression to become chairman in a couple of years.

Mike (03:26):

Excellent. And Dean, you are also the NCMMS program manager for the GSA, the General Services Administration of our very own US federal government. So what does that mean?

Dean Stanberry (03:40):

Well, technically I'm a contractor, but they have a National Computerized Maintenance Management System, so that's the NCMMS part. So most people may be familiar with the CMMS acronym, which is really, it is an enterprise asset management system. If we're allowed to mention product names, they are using IBM's Maximo, that was stood up about five years ago. Actually, they went through a lengthy process of determining that they needed a national tool. Prior to that, they were not using one asset and maintenance management system across the nation. And the GSA is the largest real estate owner and manager, with over 370 million square feet.

Mike (04:29):


Dean Stanberry (04:30):

So they're separated into 11 regions. Region eight is six states, and they brought me on board to help improve the adoption of that tool and do some of the data cleanup. It's very much on point with our topic today on asset management. So when people talk about asset management, it covers a lot of ground, but certainly those in facility management, are asset managers, whether they know it or not.

Mike (04:58):

Excellent. Well, we will talk more about that for sure, and when the government does something, it's big and lessons are learned, right?

Dean Stanberry (05:06):


Mike (05:06):

And I'm sure the audience here on the Asset Champion podcast will be able to learn from some of your experiences. But before we get too far, let's talk a little bit more about you personally, Dean. Tell us just a quick synopsis of your career and how you got to where you are today.

Dean Stanberry (05:20):

Well, I've had two distinct careers so far. I spent about 22 years in IT, running data centers and other activities for a large telecom company, and then I kind of took a right turn into real estate and facility management. They call it the accidental profession, and I can actually tell you exactly when my accident happened. But when I got into that and started focusing on it as a career, I said there was a few more things I needed to learn, and that's where I became involved with IFMA shortly after getting my first large assignment of real estate for that telecom company. I somewhat inherited about five million square feet of administrative space, and about a million and a half square feet of data centers.

Mike (06:07):


Dean Stanberry (06:08):

So I said, I had run data centers, which involved facility management at that time, you very much were running the space as well as the technology, and I said I needed to learn a little bit more about running office buildings and things like that. I got involved with IFMA, joined the Denver. Chapter one day, I raised my hand to join a committee, and now I'm second vice chair of IFMA's Global Board of Directors.

Mike (06:39):

That's how it happens. That's how it happens.

Dean Stanberry (06:41):

Yeah, it's like eating potato chips, I couldn't eat just one.

Mike (06:45):

I love it.

Dean Stanberry (06:45):

So I had to keep moving up the organization.

Mike (06:47):

That's right. You raise your hand, you volunteer, and the next thing you know, you're in charge, doing all the work, which is wonderful. I've appreciated getting to see you from afar a little bit, and I know you have a great sense of humor whenever you present in front of the IFMA crowd, you always make us smile. And I also enjoy learning more about people's personality, and I do that by asking about music, my favorite topic. Do you have a favorite motivational song that inspires you?

Dean Stanberry (07:15):

Well, I really love the lyrics to Don Henley's song, My Thanksgiving.

Mike (07:21):

I don't know that one.

Dean Stanberry (07:22):

So, this is kind of in the middle of the song, but the phrase goes, "Here in this fragmented world, I still believe in learning how to give love-"

Mike (07:22):


Dean Stanberry (07:32):

"... and how to receive it, and I would not be among those to abuse this privilege, sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge."

Mike (07:40):

Yes. I love it.

Dean Stanberry (07:41):

And it's that last line that really just caught me. And everybody always says, "Don't burn your bridges."

Mike (07:48):


Dean Stanberry (07:49):

And that's really saying sometimes you get some insight, you get a better light from that burning bridge.

Mike (07:56):

Wow. A little contrarianism from Don Henley. I love it.

Dean Stanberry (08:00):

Yep. I guess I'm one of these guys, I dance to the words.

Mike (08:03):


Dean Stanberry (08:04):

I grew up in California, actually about 70 miles from San Francisco, and the minute I had my driver's license, I spent almost every weekend in Winterland, or the Fillmore West, and I've seen just about every classic rock band that you can imagine.

Mike (08:20):

Well, I love Don Henley. That was the soundtrack to my teen years, The Boys of Summer. "Out on the road today, I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac."

Dean Stanberry (08:30):

Oh yeah.

Mike (08:31):

"A little voice inside my head said, 'Don't look back. You can never look back.'"

Dean Stanberry (08:36):

Yeah. I've seen The Grateful dead about 30 times.

Mike (08:40):

All right, there you go. Another one. Driving in that Cadillac with the top down, and your hair slicked back with those Wayfarers on, baby."

Dean Stanberry (08:51):

No, it was actually a 66 GTO.

Mike (08:54):

Okay. Well, that's great too. That's great too. We need to sing some Beach Boys then, in a little GTO.

Dean Stanberry (09:00):

All right.

Mike (09:00):

We could do a whole podcast, Dean, about those stories, I bet, but-

Dean Stanberry (09:05):

Yeah. Cool.

Mike (09:07):

Do you have a favorite, inspirational or motivational quote you could share with the audience today?

Dean Stanberry (09:12):

Through my entire career, I've worked in operations and so, I'm pretty much a process and the quality improvement guy, and This is not really an inspirational quote, but a one phrase that I use quite often is, "We didn't have time to do it right, but we always find time to do it over."

Mike (09:27):

I can see.

Dean Stanberry (09:29):

And so most of my career, I've gone in and fixed problems, and a lot of those problems, the root cause was that somebody decided they didn't want to take the time to do it right, and then we had to go in and redo it. So, basically, you're wasting time to have to redo something, rather than just taking a little extra time to do it right the first time.

Mike (09:56):

Good advice. Yeah.

Dean Stanberry (09:57):

Yeah, it is about sometimes the basics, that's what you need. You need to have process and procedure, you have to have some things documented, and some expectations out there that this is the way that we do business.

Mike (10:13):

Awesome. Well, I know that you've had a lot of experience across many industries, and I have begun this journey, Dean, into the world of asset management. I've learned a lot so far from my incredible guests, and I'm excited to learn more. What is asset management? How do you define it, and what is the value of it to those out there that are interested in this discipline?

Dean Stanberry (10:35):

Yeah. I don't know how many people have brought it up so far, but do you know there is an ISO, or an International Standards Organization standard for asset management? It's ISO 55000.

Mike (10:46):

It's been referenced, but I don't know the details.

Dean Stanberry (10:48):

Well, if you're familiar with ISO at all, they usually put together management standards. So it doesn't tell you how to do everything, but it really lays out the framework for what must be done in order to be exceptional at any given discipline. So in ISO 55000, they define that asset management enables an organization to realize value from assets in the achievement of its organizational objectives. What constitutes value will depend on those objectives, the nature and purpose of the organization, and the needs and expectations of its stakeholders. So that's a very broad definition, because the term asset can mean just about anything. So it's anything of value. You'll often hear even people referred to as assets. In the spy movies, we have this asset in this other country.

Mike (11:44):

Yes, Jason Bourne.

Dean Stanberry (11:45):

Yeah, there you go. So, assets can be people, assets can be physical things. That's what we often refer to them, because it's something that you buy, and that it has a useful life, and it delivers value to the organization. So the notion of looking at it and trying to become asset-driven so that when you purchase something you're looking at it from that entire life cycle, from the moment of procurement, through its useful life, and down to its disposition, that is asset management in a nutshell.

Mike (12:23):

Perfect. It's beginning to come together for me. And certainly, we're in a interesting time in the economy, in the marketplace, things are changing rapidly. What are some of the significant trends that you see out there today?

Dean Stanberry (12:37):

Well again, working mostly in what I would call a corporate real estate, or government real estate now, but real estate and facility management, corporate real estate is the last industry to go digital, but it's now being consumed by this tsunami of technologies targeting the workplace and building operations. The advances in sensor technology that augment our building operations workforce with improved fault detection and diagnostic tools, and it's really kind of stimulating this progression from what you would consider traditional preventative maintenance, towards what's termed reliability-centered maintenance.

            And that is kind of a hierarchy, so preventive maintenance says, "I change the oil in my car every three months, whether it needs it or not." When you start moving towards reliability-centered maintenance, you're now looking at things that's like predictive and condition-based monitoring. So, applying a vibration sensor to a motor, and knowing that it operates within a certain range, so that when it starts to move outside of that range, you know that you need to do something, go in and lubricate the bearings, or something along that line, or if it starts becoming an increasing problem, you know that you might need to change that thing out. Maybe it's at the end of its life, or has a shorter life than was intended. You see this mostly in manufacturing, because as you can imagine, in a manufacturing line or a process, any downtime is revenue, it's money. And so, they spend a lot of time looking at their equipment and how it's operating, and working to make sure that it's well maintained so that they avoid that downtime.

Mike (14:28):

So let's talk a little bit about challenges in the industry. As those listening here today may be looking for some solutions to those problems, what are some of the big issues facing asset management professionals today, and how can technology and strategy help them better manage things?

Dean Stanberry (14:46):

Well, something that I see in a variety of areas, but tracking and managing assets continues to be hindered by a lack of integration between distinct systems, and a lack of a consistent data model for that built environment. So as you move from one system to another, they're using different data models. So now, in order to take information out of one tool, it doesn't move seamlessly to another tool. So that includes finance systems, asset management systems, maintenance management systems, and then the fault detection and diagnostic systems, just as general categories.

            And so, while many of these systems can interoperate, in many cases, there are disparities in the asset naming and identification, which makes it difficult to, say, go out of the finance system and into your asset management system, and identify an asset, uniquely identify an asset, because they use different naming and different identification mechanisms between those two tools. So you spend a lot of time and money building those bridges or interfaces between those tools. Back when I was in IT, even in the '80s, we used to say that we spent 80 cents out of every maintenance dollar, maintaining interfaces between systems, not the systems themselves.

Mike (16:12):

Wow, interesting. So unlike Don Henley burning bridges, we need to build bridges between these systems. How do we do it? Is it a technology question or is it more of a people concern? You mentioned culture is important. What are the factors and how do we put it all together?

Dean Stanberry (16:29):

Well, I mentioned having a consistent data model. Systems are only as good as the information you feed them, so therefore, the data quality that you get is only as good as your weakest user of the system. So we're in the midst of a generational transition within the built environment workforce. Many of the traditional maintenance and facility management workers have had limited exposure to these advanced technologies or data analytics that are beginning to really dominate this new operational landscape. So there are fundamental skills that will need to be commonplace at all levels of the organization. So we can no longer accept technophobia, because there's a generation that still doesn't like using computers or mobile devices, or we cannot operate solely on tribal knowledge, people that just basically, everything they know is in their head, and we need to stop doing that. So a concerted effort is required to evolve the organization into adopting an asset-driven culture, if you want to put it in that terminology.

Mike (17:41):

Interesting. And that, to me, seems to indicate that with all the technology, all the protocols, and strategies, and culture, and driving change, is something that requires an understanding of human beings.

Dean Stanberry (17:55):

Yeah. I mean, technology is a tool. I often hear people complain that there's something wrong with the system. I said, "There's nothing wrong with the system. The system does exactly what you tell it to do. The problem lies is that human beings are involved."

Mike (18:13):

Yeah, there you go. There's the flaw in the system.

Dean Stanberry (18:14):

We find more flaws in human beings than we do in software, I can tell you that.

Mike (18:17):

Exactly. Exactly. Well, that's good, and that's what I hope this show does a little bit is humanize the experience. And with that in mind, what advice would you give to future asset management professionals, or those that are growing in their career?

Dean Stanberry (18:32):

Absolutely. I go back to my process management training. So you go back to the basics, so examine the pyramid of process, people, and tools. First, you need to have a well-defined set of operational processes designed to deliver into the desired organizational results. If you can't design it on blue lined paper, you'll never make it work in a piece of software. And then secondly, you have to understand the knowledge, the skills, and the experience required of your people to execute those processes. So again, you can have a great process, but if you don't have the right people, you're still not going to get the results. And then lastly, you identify and deploy technology tools that support your people and processes.

            So pay attention to the order that I just presented those in because in many cases, organizations attack the topics in exactly the wrong order, because they have a belief that some silver bullet software technology can overcome their organizational and people problems, and I've never seen that happen in all my years of working in it. It really goes back to those basics. You have to have some fundamentals, and the rules that people operate on, or having a strategy, but they say, "Strategy without execution is just a good idea."

Mike (19:55):

Oh, I love it. Good stuff. Really well said. Dean, I want to thank you for taking time to be on the Asset Champion podcast.

Dean Stanberry (20:04):

Thank you, Mike. My pleasure.

Mike (20:07):

There, you have it folks, Dean Stanberry sharing just a few thoughts about his experiences in the world of both facility management and asset management. So much great stuff here, and if you want to learn more about IFMA, it is a community that I have been involved with for a very long time and I recommend it highly, so feel free to reach out to Dean. I have shared with you a link in the show notes to connect with Dean, but also feel free to reach out to me. The email here is, and I'd be happy to give you my thoughts about that community and all that it has to offer.

            Again, thank you, Dean, really enjoyed our time together, and thank you, our listeners, for making this podcast possible. I really enjoy doing these, and I hope that you will share them with a colleague or a friend that might benefit, as we build this community of professionals who are on a mission to encourage and inspire each other to be an asset champion. Peace out.

            You've been listening to the Asset Champion podcast. I hope you found this discussion beneficial, as we work together to elevate asset management success by improving efficiency, reducing costs, and building best practices. For more information about how the iOFFICE Asset Division can boost the performance of your physical assets by providing comprehensive enterprise asset management software solutions, please visit