You Belong Here: ConnexFM | 2022 National Conference
Packed full of education, networking and entertainment, the annual event was a huge success.
By Scott Mason
The ConnexFM | 2022 National Conference did not disappoint. The four-day event April 24–27 in Long Beach, California, allowed for the perfect opportunity for facilities professionals to network, learn and let their hair down after a difficult few years. Themed “You Belong Here,” the conference assured members from all industries that ConnexFM has a place for them. Here are some highlights from this year’s event.
Meeting and Greeting
Networking is always a high point at ConnexFM events, and this year’s conference was no different. Once again, SMARTNetworking technology made connecting and sharing information with fellow members as easy as possible. Attendees simply stood near each other, clicked the button on their name badges, and sat back as each other’s information was beamed straight into the ConnexFM Events app for later access.
ConnexFM hosted several roundtables and meetups for various groups throughout the week. The Technology and Healthcare Councils met to discuss matters relating to important FM verticals, while the Food & Beverage Council held a private reception for FMs and Suppliers to network.
In addition, The Young Professionals (YP), Women in Action (WIA) and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) committees all held events at the conference, allowing access to any new members to get involved.
Attendees were also treated to an incredible ‘70s-themed opening reception, complete with a DJ, drinks, catering from several local Long Beach food trucks and photo ops with roller girls.
The General Session was held Tuesday morning and was kicked off with a welcoming message from Bill Yanek, CEO of ConnexFM. He spoke about the association’s future and the focuses. “We have four strategic ends: Our marketplace, our professional development, our thought leadership and our core values,” Yanek said. “These are big, and they are critical. And without you in the audience and the ConnexFM team, they don’t come together.”
Next, 2019–2021 Board Chair Jordan Campbell, Manager of Architecture Preservation at Bottega Venetta, spoke about his two-year tenure and the need to work together to make the association better. An avid snow and skateboarder, Campbell joked that even though his favorite hobbies are traditionally viewed as individual activities, he relies heavily on communities within the sports to support him. “We push each other to go beyond our current abilities,” Campbell said. “Because nobody excels alone. You always need a team.”
Campbell had the honor of introducing incoming 2022 Board Chair Pat Bacigalupo, Director of Store Maintenance at Gap Inc., to the stage and reiterated the event’s motto. “Every member should have a sense of belonging,” Bacigalupo said. “Whether you’re a new member or have been here since the PRSM days, and everyone in between. We all have a seat at the table, and there’s plenty of room to welcome others.”
To conclude the General Session, the association welcomed former NBA star and current businessman and entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson. Johnson spoke about his time as a pro basketball player and how his mentality for winning propelled him to succeed in the business world. “Larry Bird made me a better basketball player and a better man,” Johnson said. “Your competitor can make you better. They make you better, and you make them better.”
ConnexFM | 2022 offered an abundance of education sessions for facilities professionals. Members and outside professionals alike offered presentations so attendees could listen, learn and bring knowledge back to their teams at home. A few highlights from the week:
Are You Certifiable? 5 Reasons Why Business Certifications Are Critical For Your Business, presented by Sherry Darden, CIRSBY, LLC
ESG 101: Understanding ESG and its Impact, presented by Tom Kay, SMG Facilities
A panel on supply chain diversification and how the FM industry can implement prosperous DEI initiatives
Bust to Boom: Retail Rebounds Hard Post-COVID, presented by Garrick Brown, Lockehouse Retail Group
If you missed out on these sessions, you can take advantage of the amazing educational offerings from ConnexFM at connexfm.com/Education-Resources.
And the Winners Are …
ConnexFM held an awards luncheon to celebrate those facilities professionals who have gone above and beyond this past year. The winners are as follows:
Volunteer of the Year — Jessica Fumo, Visionworks of America
Service Excellence Awards — Jaclyn Frenzel, OnSite FM; Megan Varano, DAVACO; Ryan Beck, W Services Group; Jamie Delli Santi, Rubicon; Stefanie Driscoll, Ferrandino & Son, Inc.
Innovation in Corporate Responsibility — Branded Group
U.S. Multi-Site Company of the Year — Sephora
U.S. Supplier Company of the Year — Fexa
Young Professional of the Year — Alex DiPietro, HERC Rentals
Lawrence W. Whelan Lifetime Achievement Award — Nicki Frank, Thoreau Facility Services
The ConnexFM WIA Committee honored eight Professional Development Grant recipients:
Shanna M. Sirman, Hero Facility Services
The Connex Foundation also revealed their four 2022 Scholarship recipients:
U.S. Scholarship recipient — Jacqueline Badal, California Polytechnic State University
U.S. Scholarship recipient — Tyler Kleinsasser, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
Canadian Scholarship recipient — Kristen Lavery, Durham College
Canadian Scholarship recipient — Myles Mattila, Thompson Rivers University
Please join us in extending a well-deserved congratulations to all winners!
A Charitable Approach
At every ConnexFM National Conference, the Connex Foundation selects a deserving charity for its yearly IMPACT charity project. This year, the Foundation chose New Life Beginnings, a local Long Beach initiative whose goal is to assist pregnant mothers and their children experiencing homelessness.
ConnexFM members filed on buses and traveled to the New Life Beginnings shelter to help with repairs and provide goods to those residing there. The project was a major success, with members assisting with maintenance projects and collecting toys and books for those in need. Members should stay tuned for information on future Foundation charity projects.
Finale for the Ages
At the closing event, Vanilla Ice put on a concert that had all attendees dancing and cheering. Flanked by dancers in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costumes, he played a rousing set that included his best-selling hit “Ice, Ice Baby.” Members were invited on stage to dance and celebrate, and they enjoyed food, drinks and games throughout the evening.
ConnexFM | 2022 was an incredible event that facilities professionals won’t soon forget. The association would like to extend a big thank you to all members who made the trip to Long Beach and to all the National Conference sponsors who helped make this year’s event possible.
Remember — you belong here!
Relive ConnexFM | 2022 or check out what you missed!
Visit national.connexfm.com to view the official National Conference photo gallery.