Exploring the Benefits for Proper Training of High-Tech Facility Operations and Maintenance Professionals

May 16, 2013
1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Eastern Daylight Time


As architects, engineers, builders, and owners of high-tech facilities, you plan, design, build, engineer, and finance facilities with specific performance expectations related to resource consumption, safety, and security. However, can you be certain that your investment in this performance is maintained throughout the facility's long life-cycle?

Unfortunately, the complexities of high-tech facilities present very unique challenges for owners and operators. Operations, maintenance, and management personnel are typically under pressure to simply keep their buildings open and running. This day-to-day demand presents little opportunity for these personnel to learn about and effectively operate the building so that it performs as expected.

Through research undertaken during the last three years—research that continues today—I2SL and Laney College have found that a specific pathway for training and certifying high-tech facility managers to effectively operate high-tech, sustainable laboratories does not exist. I2SL and Laney College suggest that the lack of a pathway for proper training of operations, maintenance, and management staff may result in lost benefits that were promised or expected as the facility was developed.  

During this webinar, Phil Wirdzek, President and Executive Director of I2SL, and Barbara Widhalm, NSF Program Director for the Building Efficiency for a Sustainable Tomorrow (BEST) Center at Laney College, discussed findings gathered from dialogues at three Labs21 Annual Conferences, discussions with industry representatives, and early results from a recently published survey to provide participants with information on:

  • Critical knowledge gaps that have grown and persist for high-tech facility O&M.
  • Why O&M must be considered as part of the planning, designing, and constructing of high-tech facilities.
  • The positive impact properly trained O&M staff have on other facility types.
  • The value of substantial investment in properly trained O&M staff to ensure complex, sustainable facilities operate to their maximum potential.

Registration and Recording

Sign up to view the recording.

I2SL Members can register for free! Visit the Member Portal for more information.

Professional Development Hours and Continuing Education Credits

Attendees of this course and those who view the recording can earn one Professional Development Hour (PDH) for professional engineers or one Learning Unit (LU) from the American Institute of Architects for registered architects.

Contact I2SL if you would like to receive a professional development credit for viewing the webinar.

Instructor Biographies

Barbara Widhalm has been project manager for Laney College's National Science Foundation Project Educating Technicians for Building Automation and Sustainability since 2007. She brings 20 years of experience in energy efficiency and sustainability education program development. She has a Master's in Community and Regional Planning from the University of New Mexico with an emphasis in energy resources, and a doctorate in transformative learning from the California Institute of Integral Studies, with an emphasis on sustainability education.

Phil Wirdzek is the founding president and executive director of I2SL. I2SL is broadening the base of knowledge and expertise in creating and maintaining sustainable labs and other high-technology facilities. Before founding I2SL, Mr. Wirdzek was an employee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he created the Laboratories for the 21st Century (Labs21®) program. Labs21 was a U.S. public-private partnership program that promoted sustainable laboratories, one of the first programs to ever address the need for developing sustainable laboratories. During his career at EPA, he held various positions, including senior scientist and senior analyst for the Agency's sustainability programs. He also served in the Agency's facility management offices as the national energy manager and as facility manager for the Agency's Washington, DC, headquarters. Mr. Wirdzek is recipient of numerous awards, including EPA's Gold Medal for developing Labs21, the U.S. Department of Energy's Presidential Awards for Leadership in Federal Energy Management, and the Association of Energy Engineers' Environmental Professional of the Year.

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