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Episode 6

Project Management & Investment Planning in Asset Management

with Chris Klos of the City of Winnipeg

Chris Klos is Manager of the Corporate Asset Management Office for the City of Winnipeg where he manages the Asset Management Program through an integrated set of business processes that help to balance lifecycle costs, strategic risk and targeted levels of service. Mike Petrusky asks Chris about his journey into the world of asset management and they explore the importance of visionary leadership during these unprecedented times and why building sustainable strategies are essential to effectively deliver services to customers. In today's fast-changing marketplace, technology tools can help asset management professionals capture and utilize the relevant data needed to reach corporate objectives with high performing assets and trained employees using documented standards and transparent processes. Mike and Chris are both children of the 1980's and have a fun time discovering how both music and fashion styles have come full circle and made a return in modern times!

Connect with Chris on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chris-klos-b3879979/

Learn more about the City of Winnipeg Infrastructure Planning Office: https://winnipeg.ca/infrastructure/default.stm

Download the Canadian Network of Asset Managers Competency Framework: https://cnam.ca/amcf-download/

Connect with Mike on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikepetrusky/

Learn more about the iOFFICE Asset Division and explore more interviews at: https://www.assetchampion.com/

Share your thoughts with Mike via email: podcast@iOFFICECORP.com

Read full transcript:

Mike:

When I feel most accomplished is if a system can remain sustainable. So you've got to reinforce the process and really build that into the culture of the organization. It doesn't happen overnight. It takes persistence and consistency, but it's possible if you apply all the tools effectively.

 

[00:00:30]

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.

 

Mike:

 

 

[00:01:00]

Hey there, folks. Welcome to the show. My name is Mike, and this is episode six of the Asset Champion Podcast. Thanks for tuning in, and I am so glad you're here because this week I have a very enjoyable conversation to share with you. My guest today is Chris Klos, the manager of the Corporate Asset Management Office for the City of Winnipeg up in Manitoba, Canada. I learned so much while talking to Chris and we also had a ton of fun when I brought up music, as I often do. And we found a common interest with that and the 1980s. Well, you'll see, let's get right to it.

 

[00:01:30]

Joining us today on the Asset Champion hotline, all the way from Winnipeg in Canada, it's Chris Klos. Welcome Chris.

 

Chris Klos:

Thanks for having me. I appreciate this.

 

Mike:

I appreciate you. As you have heard, I am on a journey to learn about the discipline of asset management and all there is to know. And I understand you have some experience in this area. Is that true?

 

Chris Klos:

 

[00:02:00]

That's true. But I'm with you on this journey. It's probably going to be a lifelong journey. There's always something new and exciting to learn. So it's a real exciting industry and I'm happy to share whatever I can with you today.

 

Mike:

Well we can help each other. That'll be fantastic. So actually, Chris, let's start by having you introduce yourself. Who are you, and what do you do?

 

Chris Klos:

 

 

[00:02:30]

 

 

 

[00:03:00]

 

 

 

 

 

[00:03:30]

Yeah, sure. Well, you know my name, but my name is Chris Klos. I graduated with a degree in engineering many, many years ago. And I've have basically been working as an engineer since graduation. And I started off actually designing sprinkler systems, fire protection systems, was my first job. I soon transitioned into the aerospace industry as a facility engineer where I focused a lot on process improvement, process engineering, facility management, et cetera. I then transitioned into the public realm, working for the provincial government in Manitoba Housing, where I first started to get exposed to asset management and investments and capital, et cetera, and operating. And through my journey with the province I had some interactions with our city, municipality, who were also starting to establish an asset management program. They were further along than the province was, and through my interactions with them over a few months, an opportunity actually came about where the person responsible for integrating the asset management program with the city was retiring. And so I took a chance at that position to further expand my knowledge in asset management and I've been with the city ever since. So it's been just over three years now.

 

Mike:

 

 

 

[00:04:00]

Wow. Awesome. Well, Chris, this show is a little different than others out there. I think I really want to spend some time getting to know the personal side of my guests. And I'm a huge music guy, Chris. So I think one of the best ways to get to know the personality of my guests in a quick way is to ask them about music. Are you a fan of any particular genre or artist?

 

Chris Klos:

 

 

 

[00:04:30]

I have to say yes, of course music's super important. And I tend to gravitate to whatever the mood or the situation dictates. My parents grew up playing a lot of rock so I was heavily into AC/DC, Kiss, Metallica, all those heavy metal guys and that's never left my repertoire. It got me into guitar. I took guitar for a number of years, kind of let it slide thus far but always hoping to get back into it one of these days.

 

Mike:

Cool. How about Canadian bands? Any particular homegrown rock heroes that you could point to that you're a fan of?

 

Chris Klos:

I'd have to say the Tragically Hip. That was definitely a huge staple growing up. And you'd play it at the cabins on camping trips, on the beach kind of thing. So I think most people would default to them right off the bat.

 

[00:05:00]

Mike:

 

Sure. There's so many bands, so many artists, actually, actors and musicians that all have come from the Great White North. I always just default to Rush. I'm a child of the '80s and they're the ones I remember.

 

Chris Klos:

Yeah, absolutely.

 

Mike:

But in more recent memory there's so many bands and artists. Avril Levine's still putting out great stuff.

 

Chris Klos:

Absolutely.

 

Mike:

She's Canadian.

 

Chris Klos:

The Weekend.

 

Mike:

Oh the Weekend. He's Canadian!

 

Chris Klos:

That's right.

 

Mike:

And I love his new album, and it's such an '80s sound to it. Have you heard-

 

Chris Klos:

Yes, I agree with you.

 

Mike:

... the Blinding Lights? That song, Blinding Lights?

 

[00:05:30]

Chris Klos:

 

When it comes on I'm thinking I'm on the wrong station, but then it gets into it and yeah, it's a throwback for sure. And I'm a child of the '80s as well so it's pretty nostalgic with a new twist.

 

Mike:

Yeah. I discovered it, Chris, the weirdest way on TikTok. Here I am, an old guy, searching through TikTok dances and there's this song that comes on. It's like, do-sh-do-sh-do-sh-do-sh-dee-dee-dee-dee...

 

Chris Klos:

Right.

 

[00:06:00]

Mike:

 

I can't do it without thinking about the dance, where the people are waving their arms. And then he's got this really cool vibe from straight out of the '80s. It's right up my alley. Synth-rock, '80s new wave sound. And I went back and the whole album has that vibe to it so it's really great.

 

Chris Klos:

I haven't heard the rest of it. I'm looking forward to it.

 

Mike:

Yeah. Check it out folks, if you haven't, if you're a fan of that style of music, the great '80s synth-pop rock, electronic keyboards, all that great stuff.

 

[00:06:30]

Chris Klos:

 

I guess just like fashion, it's cyclical.

 

Mike:

It's coming back. Certainly my hair, certainly my hair has made a comeback in recent months-

 

Chris Klos:

You got a mullet again or-

 

Mike:

I was going to say, since I haven't been able to get a haircut for three months, I've got a little bit of a mullet going, a little bit of a feathered-back new wave look to me, a little Flock of Seagulls, a little combination-

 

Chris Klos:

You just need your leather tie and you're set.

 

Mike:

Yeah, exactly. A skinny leather tie, and my white jacket with my sleeves rolled up, and a pink shirt and I'm looking like Duran Duran. I'm looking like Duran Duran again.

 

[00:07:00]

Chris Klos:

 

Yeah. I'm getting a mental image.

 

Mike:

There you go. There you go. Well, how about this? I like to inspire the audience on this podcast. Do you have a favorite motivational quote you could share with us?

 

Chris Klos:

 

 

[00:07:30]

 

 

 

 

 

[00:08:00]

You know what? I was going through my Rolodex of quotes and sayings and there's too many to pick from, to say it's my number one. But there is one that I wrote down when I was first starting off on my leadership journey, so to speak, and it just kind of stuck with me. And it goes, "Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something that you want done because they want to do it." And I think it really speaks to having positive influence, establishing those shared visions and managing change in times of uncertainty. So it really introduced me to the art of negotiation and change management early on. And it was a model that always rang in the back of my mind when working with people and trying to get everybody on the same page and move towards the same direction.

 

Mike:

 

 

 

 

[00:08:30]

I love that Chris. That speaks so loudly to the need we have today for great leaders with vision. Because none of us really know in these uncertain times where things are headed, and I think even leaders don't know. So it's okay to admit that, and then also just cast a vision of being a guide to get us where we need to go and being prepared to lead through experience, and understanding that we can't predict it all and we don't certainly know everything that's going to happen. But the principle of what you just said helps guide people to get to that ultimate destination, right?

 

Chris Klos:

 

 

 

[00:09:00]

Yeah, absolutely. And I'm one to, I would say lead by example. I say what I do and I do what I say. And it was interesting because a pretty good book that I read by Lee Cockerell, who was the CEO of Disney, wrote a book called Creating Magic. And it's a pretty easy read, but one of the chapters was dedicated to considering leaders like a character, and you're onstage and you're playing a role and everybody's watching your every move. And you just got to constantly be behaving in a way that's professional and moving an organization forward and considerate to folks because people get inspired by that and will formulate opinions quite quickly based on the actions that you take.

 

Mike:

[00:09:30]

So I want to talk more about your experience and your role in asset management. What are you most passionate about? What brings you the most satisfaction in your work as an asset management professional?

 

Chris Klos:

 

 

 

[00:10:00]

You know what? The question's good because I've actually been asked a similar question on an interview once. And I remember my answer and I feel like it still rings true, where if I'm able to have the ability to implement a positive change or increase the level of performance of a person, a process or a system, and it sustains long after I leave, that I think is a true measure of my success. And it really gives me a sense of accomplishment knowing that I was able to have that influence and see it live long after I leave. I've always been saying to myself, I try to work myself out of a job. If I can create an efficiency such that I'm not needed there anymore and it can be sustained, great. Now, unfortunately I've never worked myself out of a job because there's always work to be done, but that's the mindset that I put myself into and brings me the most satisfaction.

 

[00:10:30]

Mike:

 

Wow. That's great. So from your particular experience and your point of view, how do you define asset management? What really is it, what are we talking about here?

 

Chris Klos:

 

 

 

[00:11:00]

 

 

 

 

[00:11:30]

Many people can define it in a way that suits their organization, but really, for us, we've got an asset management policy which was established in 2015. And really it's centered around an integrated set of business processes that minimize lifecycle costs of owning, operating, and maintaining assets at acceptable levels of risks, while continuously delivering established levels of service. So basically, assets exist to deliver a level of service. It's to produce something, either for a customer or in our case, residents. And at the City of Winnipeg, we basically have parsed asset management into project management and investment planning. So we've got two streams within the organization that are separate sets of skills that are required, but together they help formulate what we term asset management at the City of Winnipeg. So if I was to put it into a slogan, it's basically prioritizing the right investments at the right time, and delivering them in the right way.

 

Mike:

Yeah, that makes sense. And give me an example of what type of assets are you talking about here? Buildings, equipment? In a city setting I magic could be just about anything, right?

 

Chris Klos:

[00:12:00]

It's everything. So it's vertical assets, being buildings, and linear assets, which are roads and water mains, et cetera. We've got fleets, we've got recreational facilities, libraries, pools, traffic signals, fire hydrants. It's everything that we own.

 

Mike:

 

 

 

[00:12:30]

Wow. Let's talk about technology, Chris. I have a great interest in technology overall. I've been podcasting for years, talking about workplace and real estate technology and the advancements taking place in those industries. But what about in the world of asset management? What technology tools either available today, or that you see on the horizon, having a big impact on the asset management world?

 

Chris Klos:

 

 

 

[00:13:00]

 

 

 

 

 

[00:13:30]

Well, I know for our municipality and many others across Canada, often data collection and analysis is at the forefront. There is so much data out there and it's not all good data. Some people collect data for the sake of it and it's not actually valuable. So being able to establish a data policy, software solutions that are available for storing data in a centralized location and categorizing it accordingly and making it available to everybody across the organization is a big deal. It's a huge undertaking. Often there's a lot of patchy software solutions that exist within an organization that try to emulate portions of what are needed, but no one solution conquers all of the needs that are necessary. And having them communicate with each other and interact with each other is quite a monumental task and can't always be done, and it's also quite pricey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[00:14:00]

So there's this unique challenge of being able to collect relevant data and then using it for scenario analysis, whatever type of analysis you want to do. That's one of the areas we specifically are trying to focus on now. We do a lot of manual labor to collect this information and analyze it. And I'm sure you know that anything that is manual in nature or living out of an Excel spreadsheet is prone to error. It lives and dies with one person who has it saved on their desktop. It's not efficient. And if we really want to make a significant change and tell our story effectively, I think it's going to come down to how we collect and manage our information.

 

Mike:

Sure. And that's a universal challenge. If it's not the financial hurdles, it's the resistance to the new technology. And we're talking again about change management and dealing with people, right?

 

Chris Klos:

Right. Absolutely.

 

[00:14:30]

Mike:

 

Have you had any successes, any stories of implementing a change management program that included retraining or upskilling to help your team better leverage these tools?

 

Chris Klos:

 

 

[00:15:00]

Yeah. Again, within the Corporate Asset Management office, one of my objectives is to maintain a training program that does provide staff with knowledge on what is the importance of asset management overall. And most recently we've been shifting and refocusing how we do our training specific to the tools and the templates that we've established to help the process of asset management and investment planning and project management. So again, we're trying to do this in a consistent manner, ensuring that we can compare apples to apples when making decisions. So we've spent a lot of hands-on time with each specific department and their isolated asset management teams to walk through examples, show everything line by line. We really take a hands-on approach.

 

[00:15:30]

 

 

 

 

 

[00:16:00]

We also have a lot of documentation and instructions that supplements, and it can be used as guidelines if somebody's not available. But we do emphasize the importance of building organizational competence and capacity. I recently worked on a committee with the Canadian Network of Asset Managers who rolled out an asset management competency framework, which is now available for free and you can download, which really demonstrates the skills necessary to do this job effectively at various schools and levels within an organization. So we're really trying to build the team such that we can be successful moving asset management forward. Because if you don't have the ability, knowledge, capacity, it's going to be very difficult to integrate something with any success.

 

Mike:

Wow! Well, this has been really helpful and I've learned a lot. But for those out there listening who may be new to the profession or the industry as well, do you have any advice for up and coming asset management leaders?

 

Chris Klos:

[00:16:30]

 

 

 

 

 

[00:17:00]

 

 

 

 

 

[00:17:30]

Like I said, I would definitely tap into any available resources like I did, joining working groups, boards, communities of practice. Really establish a network around yourselves, because there's a lot of smart folks in this arena that have been doing it for decades and it's an excellent resource to tap into. Spend a lot of time with the people that are helping you build this program. Like I mentioned, the asset management competency framework, building development plans for staff to really get on board with asset management. Involve your people as much as possible right from the beginning. And really focusing on those change management strategies, right? Making people aware and buying in, providing the training and really reinforcing the use of these systems. Because like I said earlier, one of my accomplishments, when I feel most accomplished is if a system can remain sustainable. So you've got to reinforce the process and really build that into the culture of the organization. It doesn't happen overnight. It takes persistence and consistency, but it's possible if you apply all the tools effectively.

 

Mike:

Excellent. Chris, this has been great. Enjoyed getting to know you and thanks so much for being on the Asset Champion Podcast.

 

Chris Klos:

Appreciate it. Thanks for having me.

 

Mike:

 

 

[00:18:00]

There you have it everybody. Chris Klos from the City of Winnipeg sharing just a little bit about his asset management journey and some of the lessons he has learned along the way. Another very helpful discussion for me as I continue to seek a better understanding about the processes, the tools and the strategies that make up a successful asset management program. So thank you again Chris for a great conversation.

 

 

 

 

[00:18:30]

 

 

 

 

 

[00:19:00]

I also want to take just a moment to thank a couple of my listeners out there who were kind enough to leave a rating and a positive written review about this show over on Apple Podcasts. That's right. My sincerest thanks go out to Mark and Logan. You both have literally put the wind beneath my wings as the divine Miss M might say, with your kind words, and I truly appreciate your comments so much more than you can even know. Thank you very much. And if anyone else out there has found some value in this podcast so far, I'd be happy to give you a shout-out on a future episode. Just leave me your thoughts in a comment at Apple, or send me a note via email. podcast@iofficecorp.com is the address and I thank you in advance. And hey, can we do this again next week? Let's continue on our journey together as we inspire each other to be an asset champion. Peace out.

 

Mike:

 

 

[00:19:30]

You've been listening to the Asset Champion Podcast. We 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 assetchampion.com.