A: Our biggest challenge is living up to our stakeholders’ expectations while still delivering on the company’s strategic initiatives, especially when there is a heightened focus on expense management. Everyone wants the best tools to help them be successful. Supporting an organization with more than 50,000 people, our uniquely structured team has to be creative at addressing their needs while still meeting our financial goals. Fortunately, I work with a team of people who are incredibly engaged and moving in the right direction. We’re completing our work on schedule and under budget while constantly engaging with our stakeholders and addressing their interests and concerns.
Our greatest opportunity is removing frictional vacancies, or unused space. This is the easiest way to use resources more efficiently. In Pittsburgh, for example, we are renovating Two PNC Plaza to include a combination of open architecture, some moveable furniture and unassigned seating. This workspace design approach provides greater efficiency while also creating a space in which employees can better collaborate and learn from one another. This new space is sustainable from both a materials and cost perspective and allows employees to work in a more flexible manner. Our goal always is to give employees a better and healthier workspace.
A: Nothing has been more empowering than learning more about diversity and its impact on productivity and engagement. The best way to meet our stakeholders’ high expectations is to seek ideas from people with different backgrounds and educational and cultural experiences. When we approach decision making, we need to know what the customer thinks and how that decision will impact the customer. Ultimately, we need to hire the best people by seeking out candidates with diverse backgrounds and with the attitude and potential to offer a lot of value.
Most companies do what they have to do - they see a code and adhere to it. We also do the right thing by meeting codes but take the extra step to ensure that everyone has fair access and an equal experience. People don’t want to feel as though they are being treated differently. For example, do we need to install a sign that says handicapped accessible or can we simply make that ramp or water fountain or ATM handicapped accessible? Our goal is to make things universal and to use less labeling.
A: In 2016, we made what we called a world tour. We had life safety experts, mechanical engineers, our security team, HVAC consultants, and air quality experts visit many of PNC’s 330 office buildings to evaluate critical items. They inspected every one of our buildings and identified red, yellow and green projects, red being the most urgent.
We also implemented a building exterior inspection program in which an outside vendor regularly inspects the exterior of all of our buildings. By being more proactive and getting ahead of things that eventually could pose a risk, we can save both time and money.
A: Our philosophy is to source locally as much as possible. As we strive to be a good corporate citizen and understand the political and business environment, our approach not only helps the local economy but also benefits our company. Also, we look at the needs of those in our market and adapt our projects accordingly. While we of course have standards, we recognize the importance of being able to adapt. For example, changing design to meet surrounding aesthetics or to coincide historically and architecturally may be expected or essential in some markets, but not necessary in others.
A: I expect it to be more flexible and efficient than anything that we or anyone else has ever seen. Everything would be shared and scalable to better serve employees’ purpose and needs. As technology changes, there will be a direct impact on space. For example, if desktop technology shifts from laptops to a version of cloud computing, employees will become even more mobile, requiring our space design to allow for greater mobility.
Director of PNC Corporate Real Estate