by Michael Weiss, Ph. D ABD, HCCP, Managing Principal and President on October 1st, 2015
Last year, at an internal meeting, I introduced the concept of The Continuity Equation as a business strategy for providing services throughout the lifespan of a project. Equilibrium, Continuity, Flow, and Preservation: These words represent the mathematical theory at the heart of The WorkingBuildings Group of Companies; they also serve as signposts that direct us in our ability to deliver successful projects. These simple principles, when applied to a project, greatly increase the probability of successful outcomes.
When a fluid is in motion, it must move in such a way that mass is conserved (Q=A1 V1=A2 V2).
Now, with a project under our belt applying this philosophy, I want to share the results of our strategy. This particular example happens to be a science project, but just as easily could have been any project in WorkingBuildings’ portfolio. Some time back, we were introduced to a researcher who had a novel scientific idea to reprogram the human immune system to accept foreign objects (graphs) without the need for chemical immune suppressants, which alone can lead to very serious complications. While we had nothing to do with the idea or science, the researcher needed a laboratory to advance the work. WorkingBuildings became a part of that team and were thoroughly involved in the programing, commissioning, and qualifications. With hard work, perseverance, and maybe a little luck, the novel idea moved from a very small program to a promising application that drew the attention of a major pharmaceutical company.
The researcher needed to expand the program. And with that, our role on the project deepened. We were now not only commissioning but also acting as the researcher’s advocate at the University where the program is located, at the pharmaceutical company that is investing capital, and at the FDA for the necessary approvals. We went from a small team of three to a larger team of six to fulfill the initial stage. During this process however, an unintended event occurred late in construction. We all know these things can happen. The laboratory could not operate as intended because the university-supplied utilities were not sufficiently reliable. Most Cx firms would have thrown up their hands and said, “Here is your Cx report. X, Y, and Z failed. Good luck. Call us again when you need more commissioning.
But WorkingBuildings is not like most firms. When others are stagnated by frustration, we see opportunities to help. Our firm is unique in that we provide specific technical capabilities for our clients along the continuum of their projects.
In this instance, we dispatched a specialized tactical team to the University to uncover the core reasons why the central systems could not provide what was needed. So our team of six now had four additional WB members join them and were accessing and developing solutions to correct an issue that would have prevented the laboratory from becoming operational. Over a four-week period, beginning a week before Christmas and lasting through the week after New Years, this team designed, planned, coordinated, installed, and commissioned the replacement of 18 600-pound coil sections in an Air Handler that resided in the basement of an academic building. The replacement of these coils would have been difficult under any circumstances, but to compress the entire program into several weeks was nothing short of extraordinary.
In doing this work, our team discovered other major issues that required more resources. To address the additional issues required our energy management, CxAlloy, and Operations teams to provide 24/7 monitoring and response programs. We developed the entire PM program and response programs, and provided training to University facilities and laboratory staff. In addition, WB met with the utility provider to discuss redundancy issues, level of service, and contract requirements.
While all this was going on, our qualifications team was working with the scientists and researchers on the package to be submitted to the FDA and the pharmaceutical company. As you can see, there was a lot of activity in a very short period of time.
Fast forward to this week: over the last four days the facility was in the midst of a major milestone—the facility audit by the pharmaceutical company. This was a make-or-break event for the program, one in which we get the green light to move into manufacturing or the red light, which would have been catastrophic.
The efforts of the last several years have culminated in this audit. Late yesterday evening we received the initial comments: “The auditors, the science executives, and client were particularly complimentary regarding the performance of the WB team.” The comments went on to address our rock-solid documentation; our concise and accurate answers; and our calm and professional demeanor.
Very high praise from an entity that rarely gives any kind of praise at all!
Best of all, we were instrumental in the delivery of a critical new facility and, by extension, a treatment that will improve the health and quality of life for millions. We delivered on our core principal of providing a positive and lasting legacy.
Life-cycle service. Or, as I like to say, WB is the continuity equation. We have created a company with the programs and philosophy to fill a huge void in the market and improve the human condition.