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21 April 2018
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Making a difference as routine

Jamie Harris
Jamie Harris is features editor at FM World

13 March 2017 | Jamie Harris

Please forgive this momentary lapse into self-indulgence, but due to some efficient bookkeeping and a penchant for statistics, I have discovered that this is my 100th issue of FM World

Normally for these types of reflective pieces, I would be obliged to compare and contrast the evolution of the 2012 FM into the 2017 FM. But much of what I write about, what we focus on – what FMs ultimately care about – has remained constant. 

What I have grown to admire about this profession across 100 issues is the variety of people that work in it, and the sheer number of touch points it has with us civilian folk.

I recall speaking with Will Bowen at ActionAid and his team in Port au Prince, Haiti. Their role is to provide a safe space in a tumultuous city, struggling with political unrest and natural disaster recovery, for ActionAid to help to rebuild lives.

Richard Petrie, a fantastic FM working in the Highlands in Scotland, spends his time (sometimes on a boat) ensuring that those in remote areas are connected to the world through phone and broadband networks.

And the team at the Central Park Conservancy in New York, USA – a not-for-profit FM organisation – has spent 30 years working in Manhattan to restore dilapidated parkland into an area which today is a vibrant hub for the city’s residents to connect to. All of those “liveable cities” rankings highlight green space as an essential factor in ensuring a great urban living space. The conservancy now runs an education arm, sharing expertise in urban park management internationally.

What struck me when I spent time with these FMs and their teams is the genuine love for what they do. The reason? They know they are making a difference, not just to the business but the wider world. You don’t have to work for a charity to change people’s lives. FM can – and does – have an impact. 

Jamie Harris is features editor at FM World