Facilities/Construction Management Receives National APPA Award

appa award

Facilities/Construction Management has recently been awarded the APPA Award for Excellence in Facilities Management. 

This national recognition marks the first time the department has received the APPA Award and acknowledges F/CM’s work at a high standard of excellence    and for its outstanding achievements in facilities management. 

“I was extraordinarily proud of the F/CM team and all the hard work, dedication, and commitment that is demonstrated daily that made this possible. They make Building Futures, Maintaining Excellence happen,” said David Oliver, F/CM Senior Associate Vice Chancellor and Senior Associate Vice President. 

F/CM is no stranger to receiving awards. In 2021, the department proudly won the TAPPA Stars Across Texas Award from the Texas Association of Physical Plant Administrators (TAPPA).  It was a great achievement and helped boost the department’s confidence for national recognition.   

Applications for the APPA Award put the department up against universities across the U.S., but the award does not directly compete with those higher institutions. 

“We’re competing against a standard, and that bar is set very high,” said Oliver. 

F/CM submitted their application for the APPA Award in December 2022, which included a letter from UH President Renu Khator. APPA received many applications for the Excellence Award, and only a few universities moved on to the next phase, an on-campus visit. 

After reviewing the applications, the University of Houston was one of two universities picked to receive an on-campus two-day visit from APPA. 

“The onsite reviewers are individuals scheduled through APPA that are from different universities,” said Jennifer Rea, Executive Director, Facilities/Construction Management. “And they’re reviewing to see if they can confirm we met the standards of excellence within the seven different categories.” 

The seven categories F/CM was judged on during its visit were leadership, strategic and operational planning, customer focus, information and analysis, development and management of human resources, process management and performance results. 

During the visit, the APPA representatives verified that the information on the application was accurate, questioned the department on the effectiveness of its programs, and spoke to Administration and Finance Senior Leadership, department employees, and UH customers for a total of 25 interviews. 

The comments received by the APPA visitors during their interviews give an insight into why F/CM earned the APPA Award. 

Comments like: 

  • "I have never seen a department run so efficiently" 
  • "Being proactive versus reactive" 
  • "Always training someone to step up and take your job" 
  • "Handwritten personal notes" 
  • "Leadership And Culture" 
  • "I suggest they keep doing what they are doing because it works" 
  • "Leadership opportunities" 
  • "They provide a culture of dedication and service" 
  • "Work as we are all the same" 

“I was floored. These comments are about as good as they come,” said Oliver. 

Excitement was in the air when Oliver shared the news that F/CM won the APPA Award for Excellence with the entire department during a recent town hall meeting. 

“The pride that you see from people being recognized in this manner was very evident,” said Oliver. 

F/CM has always had high standards for itself, but five years ago, it set out to raise them even higher. Rea said the department planted the seeds of what F/CM is today in 2018. In 2020, it designated a purpose statement that the department lives up to: Building Futures, Maintaining Excellence. 

“We didn’t do this to get an award,” said Oliver on F/CM’s transformation. “What we did was build an organization of excellence. That was the goal.” 

Winning the APPA Award is the culmination of F/CM setting a high standard for itself and remaking its culture. And while the goal has been achieved, F/CM aims to continue to build futures while maintaining the excellence it has worked towards.