I haven’t been to World Workplace, the mass gathering of American facilities (sorry facility) managers for a few years and I’d forgotten the sheer scale of the affair. Shops and restaurants in the host city Phoenix, Arizona have “Phoenix welcomes World Workplace” posters and the hotels and coffee shops must be rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of several thousand visitors from out of state and around the world descending on their city for a few days.
The opening ceremony is still an hour or so away, and I trust it will be as glitzy with as much razzmatazz as in previous years, but in true IFMA style the conference has really been going all week. Yesterday there were site visits to the Arizona Science Centre, the US Airways Center and Trinity Episcopal Cathedral and on Monday Global FM held a day’s meeting. Many of the British contingent have been here since Sunday night.
One lesson has definitely been learned from previous years. When I last reported from World Workplace, in Dallas in 2008, I was very critical of the location of the convention centre miles from the conference hotels. This resulted in huge, yet mainly empty coaches, ferrying delegates to and fro all day (and sitting with engines idling when they weren’t). The 2008 conference focused on sustainability. This year, the main hotels and convention centre are all within comfortable walking distance, although the BIFM’s Richard Byatt told me that delegates were warned on the site visits that there may be stairs to climb.
After today’s breakfast of bacon, eggs and grits, I’m hoping there will be.