My father had a career in law enforcement and operated a service business, and my mom had a very strong work ethic, so at an early age I developed a passion for service and operational excellence. I liked doing things right the first time and creating and sustaining environments that enabled people to thrive. I learned the importance of integrity, and I’ve always confronted challenges with intrigue because I see them as opportunities to fix something and make it better—as long as you have the courage, tenacity, and persistence to actively and transparently engage.
Marc Liciardello: Career Highlights
2002: Becomes a certified facility manager through the International Facility Management Association
2003: Obtains MBA from Widener University while working full time and raising a family
2005: Becomes president of the IFMA’s Philadelphia chapter
2006: Starts working as vice president of corporate services for ARAMARK
2012: Is elected chair and CEO of the IFMA
I earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees while working full time and raising a family. I couldn’t have done it without my wife. I’m so lucky to have such a supportive partner. At the time it seemed very chaotic, but looking back, it was one of the best times of my life. There were so many time constraints during that particular time, but it led me to value relationships more, focus on the little things, and make every interaction a high-quality, enriching experience for myself and my family. This enabled me to be a better mentor to the young professionals on my staff and with those I interacted with at ARAMARK and around the world.
For the past 30 years, I have held facility-management positions of increasing responsibility for major metropolitan cities, at world-leading airports, and for world-leading firms in the facility-management industry. These roles and my innate need to understand things on a larger scale led me to get involved with IFMA at the local chapter level here in Philadelphia [where ARAMARK is headquartered]. I served as president when the chapter was honored with the Chapter of the Year Award—while helping to bring a successful IFMA’s World Workplace event directly to Philadelphia in 2005 and again in 2013. All of my past experiences in both the public and private sectors—working across numerous industries and countries—and my ability to connect with people laid the foundation for me to attain my current role with IFMA as chair and CEO.
I have had the good fortune to work as both an owner’s agent and an outside provider of real estate and facilities-management services. Each role offers a unique perspective and enables you to understand the value the profession delivers from both sides. I’ve also worked with leaders who are visionary, and they provided me with significant learning opportunities that prepared me for success in my leadership roles.
The challenges of working in my industry, especially on an international scale, have to do with understanding that values are not morals. Seeing value through the client’s eyes and integrating this understanding into your business approach is very important when working on a global scale. Aside from the obvious barriers like language and local customs, there is actually more common ground than you would think because the world of facility management comes down to people. People everywhere have the same basic needs from location to location, and identifying innovative, valuable, and impactful ways to support those needs enables relationships to be built and organizations like IFMA to thrive.
To be a good VP or CEO, you have to have focused passion and fierce conversations; you have to actively network. It’s also about clarity. Even when you’re two steps away from the front line, you only know about half of the real story. You have to be willing to do a 360-degree review of every situation and have an insatiable appetite to learn and connect. ABQ