It’s Time to Rediscover AFE It’s important to embrace the rich history of our industry, and by embracing the past, we can forge a rewarding future. America is where the industrial revolution started—giving birth to our industry. In the early 1980s, as U.S. workplaces became more complex, what was known as plant engineering evolved into facilities engineering. Practitioners preferred the term “facilities” because it more accurately reflected the multidisciplinary demands for specialized conditions in a wider variety of indoor environments, not just manufacturing plants. This facilities engineering phraseology can be found when you Google the definition of “facilities engineering”. Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, specifically names the Association for Facilities Engineering (AFE) as offering “rigorous programs to certify engineers, maintenance managers and supervisors.” AFE was born out of the industrial revolution and founded as the Boston Plant Engineers Club in 1915. Our organization was incorporated in 1954 in Illinois and renamed as the American Institute of Plant Engineers (AIPE). We amended our corporate name in 1996 from AIPE to the Association for Facilities Engineering (AFE)—and here we are today. AFE is the oldest and most experienced association in our industry. However, we seemed to have maintained the status quo as facilities engineering experts for too long by simply maintaining past successful practices. When our members refined and developed methods for advancing our craft to deal with newer technologies, we shared these among ourselves regionally—within our AFE chapters and at regional meetings— but not with the facilities community at large. We watched telecommunications explode around us while we became a closed society of facilities experts. That time has passed. Today, we are sharing our global expertise through a variety of means with thousands of engineers and managers—both here and abroad. The industry is rediscovering the AFE model of running successful facilities, and members are learning how to take their careers from the boiler room to the board room. To be successful, a facility must incorporate a central or sectional plant operational manager. Today, the only way to become a certified plant manager is through AFE’s Certified Plant Maintenance Management program. Our in-person and online courses are offered throughout the year. It’s important to embrace the rich history of our industry, and by embracing the past, we can forge a rewarding future. Membership and certification with AFE means much more than a certificate on your wall—it’s a global identification of excellence in facilities maintenance and engineering. It’s an announcement that you are a member of AFE—the most respected and experienced facilities engineering organization in the world. Larry Ross, CPE, CPMM President & Chairman
Published by Facilities Engineering Journal. View All Articles.
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