Founding and First Meeting
PFMA was formally organized in 1953 as the Pennsylvania Association of Institutional Engineers (PAIE). Thomas Kneen, Engineer-in Charge and Professor Elmer Queer of the Penn State Advisory Service formed the organization along with the Welfare Department, the Health Department, the Department of Public Instruction (State Normal Schools and other schools) and the Department of Justice.
The first meeting of the organization appears to have actually occurred in 1952 with an Engineer’s Conference in State College. The “Award Banquet for Institutional Engineers and Laundrymen” was held in the basement of the Presbyterian Church on Beaver Avenue in State College. The conferences were centered on the institutional power plants. Penn State would go to each power plant across the state throughout the year and grade the plant not only on production efficiency, but the cooperation, teamwork, and attitude of everyone from “the front office all the way down to the ash puller.” Institutions that received a 90% or higher ranking received Honor Roll status. Eric Walker (founder of ARL, friend of Dwight Eisenhower, Dean of the College of Engineering and later Penn State President) attended that banquet. These awards continued into the 1960’s.
What is Facility Management?
Transition and Adaptation
For the first 22 years, the conferences were held at Penn State, first at the Nittany Lion Inn, then at the Keller Conference Center. In 1969, Governor Raymond Shafer attended the conference and presented the Engineer of the Year award to Horace Mann of the State Farm Show Building. In 1975, the conference was first held away from Penn State at Split Rock in the Poconos. For many years thereafter it was to be held in a four-year rotation as follow: eastern PA, Penn State, western PA, Penn State.
In 1993, the name of the organization was changed to the Pennsylvania Facilities Managers Association (PFMA). The term facilities manager was incorporated to better reflect the current terminology of the profession.
From 2003 to 2011, the conferences were held at Ft. Indiantown Gap. The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) was gracious to allow PFMA to hold its conferences at their facilities enabling PFMA to minimize costs in holding this important annual event.
In 2012, the conferences were moved more centrally to the Ramada Conference Center in State College. The Ramada welcomed PFMA and has been a great partner. Unfortunately, in 2015, due to the gift ban enacted by the Governor of Pennsylvania, the conference had to be cancelled due to complications interpreting the ban. PFMA made a difficult decision to cancel just the conference just 30 days prior to the event, which led to significant cancelation fees. Because the state budget has a huge impact on attendance, PFMA is evaluating a shorter event at an alternate site with less of a financial impact if there is a budget impasse.