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Avalle, Martinez earn highest facilities certificate

  • Excellence rewarded
    Excellence rewarded  Joe Martinez (L) and Bob Avalle celebrate their receipt of a Certified Educational Facilities Professional credential recently.  Courtesy Bob Avalle
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Bob Avalle, director of operations and maintenance for facilities management at William & Mary, and Joe Martinez chief operations officer at W&M’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science, have received the Certified Educational Facilities Professional (CEFP) credential from APPA, the association dedicated to leadership in educational facilities.

“This is the pinnacle for our professional organization, APPA,” Avalle said. “It’s the highest level for facilities managers.”

Lander Medlin, APPA executive vice president, said the CEFP, “sets an exciting new standard for educational stewardship. It represents core knowledge, talent, and skill, underscoring accountability and commitment to growth and mastery.”

Martinez said there are several components in earning a CEFP, starting with coursework in four core areas of facilities management, known as the Body of Knowledge: general administration and management, operations and maintenance, energy, utilities, and environmental stewardship and planning, design and construction.Joe Martinez by Erin Fryer/VIMS

When the coursework is finished – which could take years, depending on schedules, budget cuts and other issues – applicants take a four-hour, 130-question exam.

It took Avalle far longer than he anticipated to earn the CEFP. He began coursework while working in the University of California system. Each of the four modules is offered just twice a year, and at strategic locations throughout the country. Twice – once in California, once here – state budget cuts caused him to miss coursework sessions.

Martinez first completed APPA’s Facilities Management Institute in 2007 and last month completed the organization’s Leadership Academy. Completion of these two professional development programs, along with his practical experiences gained as a member of W&M’s facilities management organization prepared him for the exam. He also studied the Body of Knowledge manuals for three months and took an exam prep class.

“Credentialing is important, not just to show that you are qualified but also to show that you have a strong enough dedication to your role in order to make the effort to earn a credential,” he said. “Quite often that says more about you as an individual than the qualification itself. 

“Having a credential such as the CEFP demonstrates you have the necessary knowledge and experience to address the needs of educational facilities. APPA’s CEFP is the only certification that demonstrates an individual’s qualifications for educational facilities and also demonstrates dedication to the educational facilities profession.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, given William & Mary’s status as the nation’s second-oldest campus, the challenge of operations and maintenance to the grounds is a huge challenge.Bob Avalle has also been a major advocate of sustainability at W&M.

“We’re very careful with the three main buildings of the historic campus – the Wren, President’s House and the Brafferton,” he said. “Those are highly specialized. We bring in technical, restoration vendors and companies who are very comfortable and familiar with historic buildings. We’re very lucky to have Colonial Williamsburg as a neighbor, and we work closely with them on the upkeep of those buildings.

“We’ve built a huge amount of new buildings, or renovated buildings, over the past 10 years, and added significant square footage to campus. So design and construction has been huge -- and that included a lot of work in utility distribution, primarily chilled water and steam and hot water. The design and construction is a huge piece.”