August 04, 2011

Facilities Planning and Management student and professor earn IFMA awards

Tom Bourgeois is going to be a management executive in the future, probably making some big decisions in years to come

Tom Bourgeois, BFPM ’11, is a graduating senior who just wants to work hard and retire early so that he can dedicate his time to personal interests such as traveling, volunteering, and possibly teaching. Richard Christiano, professor of facilities planning and management, is retired from his former facilities management job, but can’t seem to stop working on the things he is passionate about.

The two men, both recognizable faces in their department, were recently honored with awards from the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA) Boston chapter. Bourgeois was recognized with an Emerging Leader Award and Christiano won an award for Education and Professional Development.

Bourgeois has completed two demanding co-ops, planned conferences, and been courted by several different companies with job offers. And he’s excited about his immediate future. “I’d rather work hard now and then enjoy the fruits of my labor later on [down] the road, and I think that’s sort of what pushes me,” he said.  

Bourgeois attributes his award to his work planning the Facility Fusion Conference for IFMA this past March, an undertaking that he says impressed association members across the country. “[IFMA is] planning a conference in Phoenix in the fall, and I’ve had people reach out to me to help,” he said. “The Atlanta chapter has asked us why our emerging leader program here in Boston has been so successful.”

An active IFMA member for about a decade, Professor Christiano served on its Sustainability Committee before being appointed as vice president of education for the Boston chapter. In February 2010, he accompanied Bourgeois and the Wentworth Student Association for Facilities Managers to Woburn High School, where they held a fundraiser for a student trip to the annual IFMA World WorkPlace Conference in Atlanta. It may have been a weekend and he may have been off-campus, but Christiano was still teaching.

“He would point [things] out: ‘What are these pipes for?’ and ‘What’s this for?’ and ‘What’s this electrical system?’ and test us like that,” Bourgeois said. “You can’t ask for anything more. He is just amazing.”

The appreciation is mutual. Christiano said he would bet money on Bourgeois’ success, and that the quality of his work is “first rate.”

“He’s going to be a management executive in the future, probably making some big decisions in years to come,” says Christiano. “His talent for networking and knowing how to get his name out there is really extraordinary—he’s done himself a world of good because of his efforts. He’s a hard worker who understands people.”

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