A Natural Partnership: The National Park Service and BOMA 360
By Tanner Johnston
When you think of the National Park Service (NPS), you might think of the beauty of the natural world: lush forests, painted deserts and towering mountains. But, behind the scenery is a vast network of personnel who all are dedicated to the same mission of caring for America’s national parks and helping people develop a relationship with nature. It’s a massive undertaking, but the principle is simple: Every member of the team has a role to play, and each role is uniquely important.
The same concept goes for the property management team responsible for ensuring the building that NPS occupies in Lakewood, Colorado, operates efficiently. The building was constructed for the government agency just outside Denver in 1988 and, when The RMR Group assumed management operations in 2010, the two formed a close tenant-manager relationship with matching philosophies.
"Successful property management is all about teamwork and communication, especially for a building with a single tenant carrying out an important mission," says Julia Paluka, area manager and broker of record for The RMR Group, an alternative asset management firm. "For instance, we have to do our part to ensure that the building’s systems are energy efficient so that NPS can do their job effectively."
When Paluka and her team decided to pursue the BOMA 360 designation for the building, they knew their biggest ally would be their tenant. "When we first informed NPS about the process, our approach was, ‘We believe we can achieve a BOMA 360 designation for this building, but we’ll need your help,’ and NPS could not have been more supportive throughout the application process," notes Paluka.
BOMA 360 includes sustainability and energy management as part of its holistic approach to building operations and management. As you might expect, the National Park Service is a tenant that prioritizes efforts that promote employee wellness and minimize their impact on the environment. Because of this, Paluka and her team have successfully established effective and consistent communication about their efforts to keep the building "green." Just one example of this kind of tenant communication is an Earth Day newsletter that includes tips and tricks on reducing energy usage. Thanks to this atmosphere of open communication and collaboration of efforts, the property management team has been successful at keeping its utility costs consistently low for three years in a row.
In addition to the enthusiasm from NPS to pursue the BOMA 360 designation, Paluka and her team also found support from RMR’s internal network of property managers around the United States. BOMA 360 participation reinforces the company’s mission. And, with nearly 40 BOMA 360-designated buildings currently in its portfolio, RMR’s property managers look to each other for strategies on how to best handle the application process. There’s no shortage of cooperation and camaraderie among RMR’s property managers when applying for the designation.
In conversations with her network of colleagues during her application process, Paluka and her team realized that they were already performing most of the goals outlined in the BOMA 360 criteria. "The designation was the perfect opportunity to highlight those achievements and be officially recognized for them," says Paluka.
Paluka now plans to apply what she learned during this submission process to other BOMA 360 applications for buildings in her portfolio. "No matter how long you’ve been a property manager, no matter how proud you are of your building, there’s always something new to learn about improving your operations," she says. "BOMA 360 gives you the opportunity to re-evaluate yourself and see where you can do better."
This article was originally published in the March/April 2019 issue of BOMA Magazine.