Providing leadership in Facilities Maintenance & Engineering for a Century.
The year was 1915, and in Framingham, Massachusetts, Harry Dennison of the Dennison Manufacturing Company, was president of the Factory Managers Association. After Harry and his company discussed various maintenance and technical building issues, which they and like-minded companies were sharing, Harry sent out invitations to about 25 mechanical engineers, master mechanics and chief engineers, located at various plants and facilities within the metropolitan Boston area.
"You are invited to a dinner at the City Club in Boston on the evening of Friday, May 14, 1915, to discuss the possible formation of a Society oriented towards the technical aspects of operating a plant."
On Wednesday June 9, 1915, a draft constitution was approved and officers elected for the Boston Plant Engineers Club. The first meeting included the Society's first tour, a visit to the Charlestown Navy Yard, and the USS Constitution, and on this day the Association for Facilities Engineering (AFE) was born.
As a point of interest, a five-year effort on the part of the Boston Plant Engineers subcommittee on the Care of Steam Boilers and Other Pressure Vessels, produced a standard for continuous boiler room tests. These standards proved of such great value that the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) became interested in them, and adopted most of them without any major changes to the existing ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (BPVC). Active on this Boston committee were Fred Gibson, W H Larkin, H F Scott, and J R Gill. Reviewing for ASME was FW Dean of Boston.
One year later, in 1916, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston Engineers Club member Lionel S. Marks, published the1836 page first edition of Marks Mechanical Engineers’ Handbook. Today, Marks Mechanical is known as the industry information database for the reference of engineering standards. Starting with the 1916 first edition, the AFE Archive library has contains each new publication of Marks Mechanical since its’ inception.
At the ASME Convention of December, 1947, Al Fava, vice president and program chairman of the Boston Engineers Club, was approached by Richard Morris and Chester Earl to discuss the idea of starting a plant engineering magazine, targeted exclusively for the plant engineer, and aimed at expanding the Boston Engineers Club into a national organization. In May of 1947 the first issue of Plant Engineering was published, boosting the Boston club into the national arena, up there with the (ASME) and the American Society of Heating and Ventilating Engineers (ASHVE). No, this is not a misprint – ASHVE was founded in 1894, and changed its’ name in 1954 to the American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHAE). The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, or ASHRAE, came from the 1959 merger of ASHAE and the American Society of Refrigerating Engineers (ASRE). The AFE library documents these changes with all of our sister organizations, and maintains one of the most complete plant and facilities maintenance and engineering archive libraries in the country.
PICTURE: AFE ARCHIVE LIBRARY AND ELECTRONIC LEARNING CENTER
Fast forward to June 1st, 1954 - a number of active engineering clubs from throughout the country, including the Boston Plant Engineers club, collaborated with each other while discussing the option for a larger organization, a charter was ultimately requested in the State of Illinois by members of the Northern Illinois Plant Engineers Society of Waukegan, and granted by the Secretary of State of Illinois. On this day the American Institute of Plant Engineers (AIPE) was incorporated. On August 20, 1954, the first meeting of the newly incorporated AIPE was held in Chicago to elect the interim officers and adopt the working by-laws. E.C Burns, T.E Hanson, R.H. Morris, T.S. Raymond and S.A. Simonson, were members of the organizing clubs and societies, and were named as the 'Original Members of the AIPE parent corporation'. Because the principal members of the Northern Illinois Chapter incorporated the AIPE organization, this Illinois chapter had the unique honor of being the first group to seek a charter from AIPE, and was chartered as Chapter 1 on September 17, 1954, while today remaining one of the most active chapters in the world. Ironically, the original Boston Plant Engineers club, having four-times the original membership as the Waukegan chapter, and with a national footprint in the industry, took their time in negotiating a universal three-dollar membership fee with the new AIPE Corporation, and in-turn was chartered around three years later. On August 26, 1957, the Boston Plant Engineers Club joined forces with the AIPE as Boston Chapter 33, making AIPE the only national building maintenance and plant engineering organization in the country.
In 1962 AIPE established its’ foreign affairs committee with engineers from England and Australia. In keeping with their first meeting and tour at the Boston Naval Ship Yard; in 1957, AIPE passed a resolution and adopted membership support of civil defense. Members of AIPE officially volunteered their services as consultants to the United States Department of Defense, in keeping with a longstanding tradition with our armed services.
AFE Archive Photo - 1955 Meeting of the ASME 75 Year Anniversary held at the Hotel Statler in Boston, Massachusetts. From left to right – Frederick Blackall, past president of ASME; Rear Admiral Hyman Rickover, Department of the Navy and recipient of the 1955 George Westinghouse Gold Medal; Dr. Detlov Brenk, president of the National Academy of Sciences, and Dr. Alfred Ferretti, ASME and Boston Plant Engineers member. Dr. Ferretti was a professor of mechanical engineering at Northeastern University from 1918 to 1961. During that time, he also served as director at the Graduate School of Engineering, dean of the College of Engineering, and served as chairman of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
To this day, AFE has continued this tradition with our Fort Bragg Initiative, a complimentary training program for soldiers, airmen, and veterans within the Fort Bragg North Carolina area, and with the 2014 complimentary training and certification of the US Navy Facilities (NAVFAC) best and brightest energy managers with our Facility Energy Analyst certification program. As a pioneer within the energy savings revolution; in the Fall of 1967, AIPE established the first pollution control study tour of Europe, with a six country, 21 day tour.
In 1978, a time when no other training in the art of facilities engineering existed, the US Postal Service adopted the AIPE Certified Plant Engineer (CPE) credential as a requirement for a facilities management position at all of their nationwide facilities, and in 1994, the US Department of State began to require the CPE credential as a means for promotion within their Overseas Buildings Operations division. However, within recent years, these credentials are no longer a requirement, although they continue to be looked upon favorably within potential and existing government personnel resumes.
The Name Change to the Association for Facilities Engineering - AFE
If one looks at the 1904 edition of The Conduct of Building Work and Duties of a Clerk
of the Works, published by B.T. Batsford of London, this British-born position was the popular name of the now recognized American project or building manager. Although there are a few companies continuing to use the Clerk of the Works name here in the Americas, history reveals that the plant and facility engineer within the United States did not believe that the position of “clerk” gave them an appropriate recognition of their job description. After-all, back in the early to mid 1900’s, we were identified as Millwrights, specializing as a carpenter who had working knowledge of drive-shafts, bearings, gearing and mechanical belts. In addition, the Millwright was also involved in routine tasks, such as lubrication of machinery, bearing replacement, seal replacement, cleaning of parts during an overhaul and preventative maintenance. However, when caring for buildings expanded beyond the machinery and equipment required more of an operational expertise, the millwrights matured into their own expertise as masters in the installation, alignment, and troubleshooting of machinery in factories and other industrial sites, while the operational side of professionals became operational plant engineers.
Simultaneously, this same Plant engineer routinely recognized their position as expanding from the physical Plant and those parts of the building it serviced, into an increased technological operation of the building or facility. With the expansion of building automation systems and smart building technologies within high-rise office buildings, medical centers, college campuses and industrial manufacturing, facility engineering was a more appropriate term.
Therefore, to better identify itself with the increasing technical expertise of its’ members, while continuing a commitment to our lead in the facilities maintenance and engineering community, on May of 1996, the AIPE Board of Directors voted with a two-thirds majority to change our AIPE name to the Association for Facilities Engineering (AFE). Moreover, the name of our flagship publication was updated from AIPE facilities to our current Facilities Engineering Journal.
A Century of continuing the AFE Model
Our chapters and our corporate partners – in that order – are what have made AFE the standard in facilities engineering and facilities management, says Wayne Saya, AFE’s Executive Director. Saya believes AFE’s chapters are the heart of the organization, which is why more times than not he continues to insist on handling major chapter issues personally.
The Executive Director’s philosophy; chapters may not always be right, they are just never wrong! Using this model, Saya has continued and in some instances reinforced trust in chapter relations with the AFE Global office. Although AFE is a non-profit organization, we’re still a business, and business partners want to be treated fairly and honestly says Saya. However, Saya also admits there are times in the past that some AFE regions, which are the voice of the AFE Board of Directors via AFE headquarters, have not been up to par with the expectation of some chapters, explaining this is not unique to non-profit organizations or AFE, and a common occurrence also within for-profit board-driven companies as well. Pointing to the two large computer screens on the wall hanging over his desk, Saya explains: I think the thing that all organizations struggle with, is not wanting to diminish the work our regional representatives perform, and in some cases the lack thereof, but by design intended to support the chapters. After all, we’re a volunteer organization, and for 100 years all of our members have performed and dedicated their best efforts while maintaining their own full-time jobs. The difference that sets AFE apart, says Saya, we don’t simply act as a maintenance person, we manage and develop the engineering of the facility, we are the building’s advocate, speaking on behalf of a structure that otherwise would not have a voice.
Rachel Crosby, Operations and Membership manager for AFE, explained how the main AFE website provides the virtual on-line office - protected by firewall software – exclusively to its’ regional board members and also accessible to each chapter board member within their respective regions.
No other facilities-related organization offers this exclusive on-line paperless-office capability. Complete with archived meeting minutes, future meeting announcements, regional banking information, and real-time membership information, each region has this virtual office at their fingertips. There is also AFE CONNECTIONS – a global web-portal originally designed for our overseas building operations members within the US Department of State, but that now provides all AFE member access to dozens of archived webinars, white papers, on-line calculators, and more. Then there is the AFE on-line Energy Charting and Metrics program, or ECAM+, a public domain software that you can download and use at no cost. ECAM+ is a Microsoft Excel-based tool that facilitates the examination of energy information from buildings – you can go to the AFE website, download the free ECAM+ program, and download your building’s energy data for a forensic analysis of how your building uses its’ energy consumption.
Membership has its’ privileges - AFE boasts of bringing the most information directly to each facility professional electronically. Crosby says: there are a number of facility engineers and managers that not only use our on-line offerings during regular business hours, but more importantly a number of our members do not have the opportunity of taking Sundays and holidays off; this is where we come in as their member resource. Crosby continues: Our members also have the unique ability to network and directly connect with other AFE members during after-business hours as well during times of crisis. Our network is really rather unique and important to our membership.
Welcome to the new AFE Global Headquarters
What better time to open our new Global headquarters than during the year AFE turns 100. After relocating from the decades long Cincinnati headquarters to Herndon Virginia in 2005, AFE has now strategically located its’ new Global headquarters directly off the inner loop of the Washington, DC area known as Tyson’s Corner. Signing a long-term lease, AFE worked with architect Jill Vass of OTJ Architects of Washington, DC., to design a venue that meets the needs of our members as well as our corporate partners.
Our Archive Library has a new face-lift (pictured earlier), where we have taken books from the archive and brought them out to the open. From our collection of Smithsonian Reports which chronical advances in engineering and our environment - dating back to 1857, to our collection of ASHRAE’s earlier days from the late thirties, our ASME books incorporate the 1915 edition when we started as the Boston Plant Engineers Club. Yet the most impressive piece within AFE’s collection is Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, written in German and published in 1916, the same year Einstein published this theory.
PICTURE: Gabriela Rosales’ IN HER OFFICE
Additionally, our professional development department offers members wishing to stop by, admittance to our electronic learning center, where they can access dozens of CD’s incorporating plant maintenance and engineering, mechanical and electrical engineering, engineering tables & calculations, and much more.
Gabriela Rosales, affectionately known as ‘Gaby’ to our members, manages and oversees AFE’s Professional Development efforts. All of our certification programs are routinely updated and very popular within the US and around the globe – says Gaby.
Within the past couple of years, both Rachel and Gaby have been very popular managers among the members and certification holders here at AFE, says AFE President Denny Hydrick, helping all who call with their questions and concerns.
Finally - the AFE board room was designed with our corporate partners in mind, complete with high end furnishings, an eighty inch HD flat screen television & monitor with state-of-the-art plug-and-play conference table connections. The board room provides WebEx and live stream video conferencing, and a connecting door to the AFE kitchenette food preparation area. Whereas, AFE corporate partners now have an alternate complimentary venue for their retreat or one day meeting. Whether a corporate or government partner is looking for a private venue, a place to retreat, or a professional setting to meet an important client, any of our partners can now place a call to our Global office to reserve their free access to the AFE board room. The only week not accessible to our partners is during the annual AFE board of directors meeting.
During Facilities America® , AFE’s annual educational forum and trade show exposition,
on Thursday, September 10th, 2015, President Denny Hydrick will cut our 100th anniversary cake for all attendees of Facilities America®.