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So That’s How The Garden Grows!

Every facility manager knows that there’s much more than glass, brick, steel, carpeting, concrete, etc., to keep a building operating smoothly. Well, how about a garden and a huge one at that!

More than 50 members and guests received a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to operate maintain the world-famous Missouri Botanical Garden. Covering 79 acres, it’s no small feat to grow and maintain a Tropical rainforest, 4,800 trees, 23 residential-scale demonstration gardens and numerous other gardens from faraway lands. Plus, some buildings date back to its founding in 1859.

That demanding task takes some dedicated souls who provided a walking tour of the garden’s inner workings. Three members of the Botanical Garden’s team served as guides: Brian Micklewright, Manager, Construction Administration; Paul Brockmann, Senior Vice President, General Services; and John Biggs, Facility Engineer.

Key highlights included a walk through the tunnel to the Climatron, the signature dome that houses the tropical rainforest. Built in 1911, the tunnel houses the HVAC systems for the Climatron and other buildings. The lush, green tropical rainforest environment inside the Climatron requires a computerized climate control system.  Inside temperature ranges from 64°F at night to a high of 85°F during the day. The average humidity is 85 percent. Plants are watered with reverse osmosis purified, tempered water.

The tour also took a look at the renovated Henry Shaw Museum, which dates back to the Garden’s founding. It’s been painstakingly restored to its original splendor.

Of course, no tour would be complete without a peek at how the garden practices sustainability.

Special thanks to the Garden and its staff for the hospitality and insightful tour. We also appreciate the generosity of Christner, which once again stepped to the plate as the hospitality chair, and to Lisa Sombart of Mazzetti who coordinated this program.




Prescription for Workplace Change

Facility managers face the challenge of finding the right space to meet the ever-changing needs of their workers and companies. Express Scripts presents an interesting perspective on doing just that, with the support of Arcturis.

More than 50 members and guests received some powerful information on that challenge. Held on Wednesday, July 18, the sold-out program on The Impact of Workplace Change provided an inside look at what it takes to implement and execute an ongoing strategy to shape the office workspace for today’s and tomorrow’s needs.

Katie McFarland, Senior Director of Corporate Real Estate Strategy, Planning & Execution at Express Scripts, and Michelle Rotherham, Director of Interior Design at Arcturis, shared their insights on the company’s efforts to stay ahead of the game. McFarland and Rotherham discussed their strategy and processes behind the company’s office campus on the grounds of the University of Missouri-St. Louis. They also outlined metrics designed to evaluate those changes and to see what may need to be finetuned.

Chief among their perspectives was an understanding that facility managers need to review the good along with the bad as they implement workplace strategy and changes. A collaborative team needs to review the success and apply lessons learned along the way, McFarland and Rotherham noted. The ultimate goals: Ensure that changes impact company morale, recruitment, retention, productivity and space optimization.

The case study on The Impact of Workplace Change came to life as well with a tour of the building.

Many thanks to our speakers and chapter members Cathie Funderberg with Express Scripts and Julie Keil with Arcturis for arranging the program. Of course, we owe gratitude to Express Scripts for graciously hosting the event and to Arcturis for its sponsorship.


Chapter Introduces Member Written Blog

In an effort to improve communication and member involvement, the marketing committee is organizing a member written blog. This is open to both vendors and professional members to write a timely and scholarly blog post that could benefit others. Additionally, we will utilize social media to assist with announcing program highlights, link to the blog/website, post educational content, and provide a platform for members to collaborate on current topics.

If you would like to participate by submitting a blog post between now and the end of the year, please send an email to Chris Darnell at with your blog topic and estimated time frame that you would like it to be posted. We are looking to post 1 a week and will be submitted to the blog.

We would also like to invite everyone to link to our social media profiles in order to improve networking to prospective new members. Click on the Icon below!




Thank you in advance for participating in growing our educational collaboration and initiative to grow our organization!