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2016 Affiliate Member of the Year Jack O’Rourke

Jack O'Rourke, Vice President of the Midwest and Southwest Regions, with Able Services, is the recipient of the 2016 Gold Circle Awards Affiliate Member of the Year.

What was your first paying job? I was a Caddy at Ridgemoor Country Club in Chicago. This was a great job that taught me many business skills, but by far the most important thing I learned was to listen.

What services does your company provide and what benefits do they provide to the commercial real estate industry? Able Services provides building owners and property managers operational expertise and maintenance in the form of engineering and janitorial teams. Our management staff has a depth of operational knowledge and experience delivering services to stadiums, higher education, commercial offices, hotels, corporate campus environments, and medical facilities. Our depth of experience ensures that our clients get exactly what they need; a consistently dependable real estate service.

What are some trends in your industry that interests/impacts commercial real estate the most? Service levels and service expectations.  Maintaining the balance between our obligations to our clients and our employees. Our industry will never stray from needing to provide the best services to tenants and will also demand a lower cost for these services. We only want to provide our clients with the most qualified workforce capable of delivering the most satisfaction. Part of our solution is to help lower the costs to run the buildings with innovations in technology, operating procedures, and experienced management.

What are some of the challenges facing your industry? Safety, Energy, and Sustainability. We want tenants and our employees to go home the same way they came in, safe and healthy. We provide our employees with structured work procedures that ensure their safety and the safety of tenants in the building. If someone gets hurt, then nobody wins. Energy and sustainability are inherent goals of our organization and the industry. Working to deliver great services to our clients, while reducing their impact on the environment, and performing at a lower cost than our competitors is a formidable challenge that we pursue on a daily basis.

How are BOMA/Chicago events important to your company? Collaboration is essential to our success and BOMA/Chicago is essential in our ability to collaborate. BOMA/Chicago enables our organization to learn what is most important for our clients and proactively deliver solutions. The educational opportunities and networking events are outstanding. When I talk about networking it is not about “sales opportunities” but rather actually getting to know what’s on the mind of the leaders and peers in our industry.

What is your favorite BOMA/Chicago event and why? There is not a bad BOMA/Chicago event in BOMA/Chicago! If I had to pick my favorite would have to be the TOBY/Gold Circle Awards Gala. The amount of work that management and operational teams put into their buildings every year is truly inspiring and drives me to continually improve the levels of service we provide at buildings. The TOBYs are like the Academy Awards for buildings.

What would you share with other professionals who are interested in joining BOMA/Chicago? I am asked this all of the time when future Affiliates Members ask if they should join BOMA/Chicago. My answer is always, “How much effort are you willing to put in?” The opportunities (Brown Bag luncheons, annual meeting, TOBY Awards, golf outing, emerging leaders and one of my favorites Diversity Celebration) are endless, just participate.

What special interests and/or hobbies do you have? I enjoy teaching (Adjunct faculty member at Oakton Community College) Facility Management classes, Cross Country skiing and even golf. My wife, Laura, and children, J.R. & Abby, are a huge part of my life.

What would surprise our members most about you? I’m the former Commodore (president) of Ephraim Yacht Club in Door County WI.  The yacht club is very small with the core purpose of teaching children how to sail. We teach almost 400 children every summer how to sail. We provide scholarships to about 90 of these children. My children are certified US Sailing Instructors.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? The nicest place I have been to is Provence in southern France on a bike trip with my wife; it would be tough to beat that trip again.