Six months on: FM Innovation Awards Overall Winner
FM Media is recognising and celebrating innovation and excellence within the facilities management industry through its FM Innovation Awards, the first of which was held in early 2018 and saw a ceremony and celebration on day one of the Total Facilities expo.
The inaugural awards celebrated five categories within FM: Healthcare, Workplace, Hospitality, Education and Multi-Residential, as well as crowning an Overall Winner.
The worthy winner of the Hospitality award, as well as the Overall Winner award, was South Melbourne Market (SMM) for its Innovation for Sustainability project. SMM’s vision was to create a unique ‘village market’ combining sustainability, community and efficiency in operation. The market’s facilities management team, led by Adam Mehegan, showed extraordinary commitment to environmental and economic sustainability throughout the year, and were deservedly nominated by SUMS Group. For details on the Innovation for Sustainability visit FM Media’s coverage here.
Now six months on from the awards, FM Media catches up with Adam Mehegan (SMM) and Margrethe Ingemann (SUMS) to discover how the project is flourishing and what winning the awards has meant for them.
FM Media: What has winning the FM Innovation Award meant for you?
Adam Mehegan: Well, it justifies what I’ve been doing for the past four years. I come up with these crazy ideas – and you think, are the going to work? So when you get nominated for an award, and then win it, justifies it and cements that what you’re doing is the right thing and you’re on the right track. I think that’s pretty important. It endorses what I had been doing.
Margrethe Ingemann: We obviously nominated our partner and customer at the South Melbourne Market, so it was an opportunity for us to share in their glory, really. Our partner Adam Mehegan accepted the award and we were just in the background and we were pleased with that. It’s nice for us to know that our customers are able to shine, partly, due to some of the activities that they’re doing with us.
MI: I was proud that we put Adam Mehegan and South Melbourne Market forward, and I learnt more about our own customer in the process of pulling together the submission. The award was well deserved, because of the lengths they go to to achieve sustainability completely across the board. It’s really phenomenal, especially as they have the constraints of working with a site from 1867 that really wasn’t built to cater for sustainability.
FM: Tell us about winning the award – how did it feel?
AM: Winning the award was amazing. I knew I’d been nominated for [the Hospitality] category, but I wasn’t aware of the Overall Award, so to win it was another massive bonus. I was pretty stoked about winning. I had my wife there and it was nice to share it with her, because she’s been a big supporter of all the crazy ideas I come up with.
FM: Did you enjoy the celebration?
AM: Yes, it was a really good celebration! It was a great night – it was casual, there were no strict formalities about it, and it was a good way to network… There were some people there I actually know from the industry that I hadn’t seen for a few years, since I’ve been at the market, so it was nice to say hello to them. It was good venue too!
FM: Would you recommend others to enter the FM Innovation Awards? Why?
AM: Oh absolutely! Me personally, I don’t do what I do to receive awards – I don’t nominate myself. If someone nominates me, I appreciate that. But to be recognised, to be fortunate to be nominated and win an award, it gives you that drive to continue to develop further initiatives. It gives you a buzz actually, because you come back to work the next day and it’s like, “What else can I do? What else can I develop and come up with to try and improve that?”
MI: Absolutely. I think there’s not enough recognition for building managers and the FM people of this world. They’re seen as troubleshooters, and they respond to and resolve a multitude of problems with great grace, dignity and ability, but they don’t always receive the commendations that they should. They have a difficult task and generally there are a lot of people to keep happy. If you look at South Melbourne Market, [Mehegan’s] having to keep all of his store holders happy, he’s having to keep management and the council happy, he’s having to keep happy customers coming through the door, and also all of the suppliers to the market – so there are a lot of stakeholders.
MI: We would have no hesitation in nominating again and we’re already thinking about who we’re going to put forward for next year. It can be difficult for a facility manager to gain engagement, they will have an idea of something that they want to do, but to achieve a consensus of opinion to actually be able to follow through on some of these fantastic sustainability ideas, they need to gain the traction of the people on the ground. And you can only do that through understanding and engagement – and that’s, I think, one of SUMS Group’s strengths.
MI: You’ll definitely be hearing from us for submissions. I have to commend you on the fact that the submissions protocol is very clear, and it’s refreshing that it’s 800 words rather than it having to be an enormous task.
Image: (L-R) SMM’s Adam Mehegan with Martin Leitch, co-organiser and emcee of the FM Innovation Awards.