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27 Facilities Managers Reveal the Most Effective Cost Saving Ideas for Facility Management

The cost of lighting, heating and cooling, maintenance, utilities, and other expenses make facilities management one of the most substantial operating investments for many companies. With utility costs on the rise, many companies watch their operating costs creep up, eating into the bottom line over time. Making more money to cover those increased costs, either by increasing the company’s production capacity or by raising prices, is one solution, but these strategies aren’t always practical. Raising prices can be risky, particularly if competitors are maintaining lower pricing, and increasing production capacity may require investing in additional capital, which will further drive up facilities management costs.

There are many effective cost-cutting measures that can reduce operating costs for facilities management, avoiding the need for risky tactics such as raising prices or making significant capital investments that may not pay off in the long run. To find out what cost saving strategies today’s companies find most effective, we reached out to a panel of facilities managers and business leaders and asked them to answer this question:

“What’s the single most effective cost saving idea when it comes to facilities management?”

Meet Our Panel of Facilities Managers and Business Leaders

Keep reading to learn what our experts had to say about the most effective cost saving ideas when it comes to facilities management.

Abe NavasAbe Navas


Abe Navas is the General Manager of Emily’s Maids, a house cleaning service in Dallas. Their mission is to make families happier by creating clean, healthy home environments.

“Change to free to use software…”

Nowadays, excellent free alternatives exist in the market and you should check them out. There are alternatives for operating systems, Office, and other such products. Do a little research and you’ll find that you will be saving lots of money in licenses.

Christopher DowlerChristopher Dowler

Christopher Dowler is the co-owner of Dowler Construction Services, LLC, a facilities consulting firm. His focus is on helping small real estate portfolio investors and non-profits transform their thinking of facilities from time and money sucks into strategic assets aligned with their enterprises’ core missions.

“Effective facility management begins with…”

A thorough knowledge of assets and development of a preventive maintenance program to improve reliability and minimize operating costs.

Creation of a detailed asset register, a listing of all assets – which I define as the individual components of a system – informs the facility manager as to what components require maintenance. Then, based on criticality to the business’ core mission, preventive maintenance can be prioritized.

With the register in hand, manufacturers can be contacted to identify vendor requirements for periodic inspections and maintenance. Codes and industry standards which encompass those assets also need to be consulted. An informed preventive maintenance program can then be developed.

To make the program most effective, assets need to be tracked; put new assets in place and take old assets out of service. This is easily accomplished with asset tracking products such as bar codes. Bar codes also can be used to verify when an asset was serviced to ensure compliance with standards. Effective preventive maintenance reduces the amount of deferred maintenance, but most importantly enables facility managers to move from a reactive posture to a proactive posture. This can only be achieved by creating an accurate asset register. Then, by aligning the facility with the organization’s core mission and ensuring preventive maintenance is performed on a scheduled basis, reliability will be increased and operating costs will be reduced.

Shelly BortolottoShelly Bortolotto

Shelly Bortolotto (SCMP) is an experienced supply chain expert with a deep background in all things purchasing. She is the owner and founder of Silver Lynx Supply Chain Consulting, which is focused on helping small business owners buy smarter and putting more profit back in their pocket.

“A competitive RFP process nets thousands of dollars in savings…”

Negotiating competitive contracts using a strong Request for Proposal (RFP) strategy is the single biggest saving opportunity in facilities management. Companies often think they are winning when they can add a 1-year extension to a current contract; it avoids the time and effort of going back to market. But eventually, the savings left on the table build up.

A major local government in Australia took advantage of legislation changes that allowed negotiation of the proposals after submission. Up to then, it was lowest bid wins. The vendors weren’t bidding competitively and had even built automatic yearly price increases into the contracts. The taxpayers were not getting value for their money. The local government took their contracted facilities management services back to market. With the new RFPs and negotiation process, they were able to save thousands on the new contracts. When did you last review your contracts? Are they up to date? Is it time to test the market and save dollars?

Amit PrasadAmit Prasad


Amit Prasad is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience in GPS and GIS-enabled IT products. After conceptualizing the idea of an IT product company, he started QuickFMS and steadfastly steered the product roadmap in both Enterprise and SaaS versions to tap the best opportunity available in the various vertical markets worldwide.

“The single most effective cost-saving idea when it comes to facilities management is…”

Regular inspection and maintenance of equipment. The timely inspection helps in detecting minor defects which will turn into major problems if not addressed early. Addressing minor defects will help you save extra cost and time that would otherwise have been spent on major equipment failure.

Asset management and maintenance are important to increase the efficiency of your organization and lower the operational cost as it reduces the downtime and ensures optimal performance, eliminating the need for emergency repairs.

Chad McCloskeyChad McCloskey

Chad McCloskey is the President of Royal Real Estate Services.

“Having helped over 1,000 clients relative to savings on maintenance, my view would be to…”

Always make sure you’re setting aside/saving enough money monthly to be prepared to proactively address maintenance costs. As soon as needed maintenance is delayed, it costs more money either because you have more to be fixed (such as material replacement like wood or metal if the surfaces were painted late and the surface deteriorated) or because you have to deal with financing costs if your accounts can’t cover a need you must address, like a failed exhaust fan of the roof, etc.

Planning should fix this problem, but pretending the maintenance doesn’t need to be done when it really does will only cost more later.

Nikolai TenevNikolai Tenev


Nikolai Tenev is the Founder of DigidWorks.

“My number 1 tip for cost savings when it comes to facilities management is to…”

Use IoT and IoT analytics. IoT is actually great to track stuff. With the gathered data, a lot of the facilities maintenance can be automated, e.g., HVAC, lighting, etc. This will make increasing energy efficiency, managing budgets, and ensuring cost-effectiveness a lot easier for the FM. Also, turning stuff off when it’s not needed will prolong the lifespan of the appliance. If I could give a second tip, it would be to use some management software. It can help with effective usage of office space. For example, you could use your meeting room as a break room if you have proper scheduling. It can also help with the supervision of providers for services including security, parking, cleaning, etc.

Shane PliskaShane Pliska


Shane Pliska is president of Planterra, a nationally-known interior landscaping business that provides and maintains office plants for corporate spaces.

“Focus on the big numbers such as financing, labor, and energy costs…”

Don’t get distracted on cutting the small amenities as a symbol of your austerity effort. It’s the little things that employees and tenants appreciate the most.

Michael HennessyMichael Hennessy


Michael Hennessy is the Founder and Director of Projects at Wavelength Lighting.

“As a facilities manager, there is only one item on your annual project list that can dramatically improve the quality of…”

The work environment, enhance the sustainability of your company’s operations, and do so while delivering a 400% ROI before your lease is up. That’s an LED lighting project. In fact, there are only a few projects that can hit even one of those goals, and none other than lighting that can accomplish all three. The savings of LED retrofit projects come from two places – a 60%+ reduction in energy consumed by your lighting, and a reduction in lighting maintenance by 99% – and anyone in facilities knows how many lights go out a week. With LEDs, this maintenance aspect virtually disappears. A modern LED product is rated to last 50,000-100,000 hours. Given typical commercial office lighting usage, that translates to anywhere from 12 to 20 years. We expect you to have to take maintenance action once with LEDs for every 100 times you do with your existing lighting. Between the energy savings and reduction in maintenance costs, when it comes to getting the most bang for your buck, there really is no better choice than an LED retrofit.

Caitlyn HelsenCaitlyn Helsen


Caitlyn Helsen, FMP has managed some of Watchdog’s largest and most complex projects. Caitlyn establishes well-defined goals and communication processes. She closely manages the many vendors involved with the project to ensure contract adherence and quality work. She naturally builds a strong rapport which contributes to project communication and overall success.

“Streamline and standardize…”

If you can be strategic in identifying opportunities to retrofit and change systems so that they work together on a single BMS for monitoring, or under a single contract for maintenance, you will save your initial investment multiple times over by reducing your facilities’ staff involvement. The time it takes for staff to administer a pile of legacy maintenance contracts and store the data manually from multiple monitoring systems can be inefficient. Standardizing to allow your facilities staff to become true experts on your building and systems will save cost based on their productivity as well as their ability to leverage knowledge during vendor negotiations.

Jason KayJason Kay


Jason Kay is the CEO of Retreaver and has been working with telephony systems and performance marketing since 1998 to solve complex problems involved with large scale market attribution.

“When it comes to facilities management, one of the biggest cost savings can come from sustainability…”

Many facility managers may see upgrading their facility to be more sustainable as a costly venture, but it can be quite the opposite. Energy efficiency can save any facility a lot of money in the long run. Not only can it save your facility money on energy bills, but it can also potentially set you up for federal incentives, as well. So, sustainability may cost you upfront, but the long-term savings can be quite substantial.

Louis VermorelLouis Vermorel


Louis Vermorel worked for 15 years in the HVAC industry. After wondering why was there such a gap between the innovative, fast-paced software industry and the late adopter’s climate engineering world, he decided to create Wattsense.

“The increasing concern with energy waste, pollution, and utility costs, combined with…”

The higher expectations from tenants, creates enormous pressure on facility management companies and their capital expenditure.

The adoption of IoT solutions to improve the connectivity of a facility is a significant opportunity for FM companies to reduce costs. It helps ease the operations and maintenance process and also opens the scope of services available to building owners.

FM companies can create organic digital capabilities using the IoT to outperform their competitors’ operating models and meet new customer demands.

Two simple examples of how IoT can be a game changer for the FM sector:

  1. The use of smart energy meters in buildings. The installation of these types of devices eliminates or reduces site visits by technicians that take time and money. Valuable data can be easily collected remotely and used to regulate and optimize energy consumption.
  2. Predictive maintenance solutions. Users of Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) or other FM applications can access real-time information about the condition of each machine to decide when repairs are needed, unlocking optimization opportunities, reducing the Capex budget and consequently raising the profit margin.

Pratibha VuppuluriPratibha Vuppuluri

Pratibha Vuppuluri is the CEO of She Started It, a complete resource guide for working moms. Pratibha has more than 10 years’ experience in the financial services industry, including seven years in the Healthcare, Private Equity Secondary Market and Technology Investment Banking space at both UBS and Deutsche Bank.

“One way, and I think the most effective one, in cost savings when it comes to facilities management is to…”

Cut energy costs. It is achievable by cutting down site lighting at night, turning off vending machine lights, and involving everyone in the company in saving energy, to name a few.

Shel HorowitzShel Horowitz


As a green/social entrepreneurship profitability consultant, speaker, and author of Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World – Shel Horowitz takes businesses beyond mere sustainability (status quo) to regenerativity (improving): He helps develop and market profitable products/services that turn hunger/poverty into abundance, war into peace, and catastrophic climate change into planetary balance.

“Do a two-question audit of your operations – at every process, ask these questions…”

1. Is the way we are doing this the best way to achieve the overall goal (not the goal of the process, but the goal that process was designed to meet). As an example, if you run a space program, you might discover that the best way to allow astronauts to take notes by hand is not to spend a bazillion dollars developing an anti-gravity pen, but to hand out pencils.

2. Are there ways to use fewer resources to achieve this goal? In my 10th book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World, I discuss a flooring factory that audited its process and redesigned one of them to switch from narrow, curvy pipes to wide, straight ones. Incredibly, that simple shift reduced friction so much that they were able to eliminate many valves and pumps – and netted an energy savings for that process of 92 percent.

Robert CallowayRobert Calloway

Robert Calloway is founder and president of Global Facility Solutions, an energy and engineering services firm. He has over 30 years of experience in optimizing building performance, reducing operating costs, and helping with the everyday issues that plague commercial building owners and operators.

“Reducing energy consumption is an effective way to save money at your commercial building…”

Some simple no-cost or low-cost ways of reducing energy consumption include:

  1. Turning off HVAC equipment and lights whenever they are not needed.
  2. Verifying outside air volumes are not more than the minimum required.
  3. Reducing heating temperature set-points while increasing cooling temperature set-points.
  4. Eliminating supplemental personal heaters, which can draw 1,500 to 2,000 watts (1.5 to 2kW) of power each.

Ra'keyia CollinsRa’keyia Collins

Rakeyia is the owner of Formulas and Me. F&M is a website that recommends Microsoft Excel formulas based on the user’s questions.

“When you are running a facility, it is extremely important that your employees feel confident and comfortable in their job…”

They are the most important people in your facility, not your customer. It is your job to take care of your employees, and it is the employees’ job to take care of the customers. Most facilities run with the customer in mind at the expense of their employees. When employees feel comfortable, they want to stick around longer. Employees should feel that they are well trained, surrounded by knowledgeable peers and supervisors, and have a sense of belonging. As a manager or leader of a facility, try directly engaging with the front-line employees more often rather than sending generic surveys that most employees delete or skim through giving the expected answers. Try implementing a monthly or quarterly birthday celebration to show your support of your employees. There are hundreds of simple, cost-effective things you can implement to show your employees that you care. Your employees are your greatest asset, but if misused they can be your greatest liability, causing you the most money. By showing some appreciation and care, your employees will then to do the same for the customers, and it will begin a rippling effect.

Dan ShubeDan Shube


Dan Shube is the Chief Marketing Officer at Labor Finders International, Inc.

“A great way to save on the largest cost within facilities management (people!) is to rely on a contingent workforce…”

The cost of full-time employees is huge, yet many facilities management projects are labor-intensive, as well as short-term, seasonal, and unpredictable. Projects such as storm clean-up, snow-removal, landscaping, expansion, or even tasks such as deliveries and shipment receiving may not be consistently scheduled. Full-time employees not only require a salary, but benefits such as insurance, vacation, sick days, and 401k plans, all of which can add up. Using temporary workers on an as-needed basis can result in major cost savings.

Carl KasalekCarl Kasalek


Carl Kasalek is the CEO of U.S. Energy Recovery, a provider of turnkey energy as a service (EaaS) solutions for businesses seeking to reduce their energy usage with no upfront costs. U.S. Energy Recovery provides state-of-the-art lighting, energy storage, and control systems that help organizations lower their energy use, save money, and be more environmentally sustainable.

“One of the easiest ways that a business can lower their facility costs is by…”

Replacing outdated lighting systems in warehouses, offices, parking lots, and elsewhere with LED lighting and state-of-the-art control systems. This might seem like a daunting task, but today Energy as a Service (Eaas) providers make it easy and cost-effective to outsource not just the lighting design and installation, but the equipment and maintenance, too.

How does this save a business money in facilities management? There are five key ways:

  1. Changes in the IRS code that went into effect on January 1, 2019 enable businesses to treat subscription-type lighting and energy costs as off-balance-sheet expenses rather than capital expenses that have to be depreciated over time. The EaaS model lets businesses expense their lighting and energy costs as they use the energy. This model keeps debt off the books.
  2. Businesses save on their utility bills. The improvements that LEDs and automated controls provide in energy efficiency means businesses use much less energy, which lowers their utility bills, often by 20-55%.
  3. Many electrical utilities offer rebates and other incentives to businesses for energy efficient retrofits, which further add to the cost savings.
  4. EaaS lighting companies “rent” out the lighting systems and controls in the way an Internet service provider might rent out a modem or cable box. The business benefits from getting the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art equipment without having to buy it.
  5. Because the business is not responsible for maintaining the equipment (changing bulbs, etc.), it frees up employees to focus on more important, revenue-generating responsibilities, which further helps the business save money and make money.

EaaS models for lighting, HVAC systems, etc. pay for themselves in the savings and benefits they provide. This is a great way for the business to cut costs and also provide a higher quality environment for both employees and customers. (Not to mention, consumers love to work with green businesses, so it’s great for PR as well.)

Kevin RichardsonKevin Richardson


Kevin Richardson is the Chief Operating Officer at Bay Lighting. As COO, he mentors the Bay Lighting team and drives the implementation of company strategies. During this time, Kevin’s passion and commitment to finding the best plan for his customers has helped Bay Lighting become a Premier Lighting Solution to the property management sector.

“With the evolution of LED technology and lighting in recent years…”

Developing and implementing a comprehensive lighting plan for your facility has the most cost-effective savings potential. Lighting is an integral part of the success of any facility, and the majority of people overlook its impact. When evaluating their space, managers should take into account:

  • energy costs associated with their existing light fixtures;
  • maintenance expense when replacing current fixtures;
  • negative impact of poorly illuminated spaces on the workforce and customers; and
  • how much outdated technology is draining your bottom line.

LED lighting produces results with immediate payback. There are very few technologies that can enhance productivity, increase property value, and reduce operating expenses as well as efficient lighting.

Timothy PickettTimothy Pickett


Timothy Pickett graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a major in Architectural Acoustics in 2000. He started Sound & Lighting Designs a year before graduation in 1999 and in 2013, as the business grew, SLD became Encompass Audio Visual in order to incorporate all the technologies and services the company provided.

“Emerging PoE technology for office and warehouse space lighting will redefine how efficient lighting systems can be…”

These systems have the ability to communicate data back to a server in order to run more efficiently and on a light-by-light basis. For example, each and every light may have an ambient light sensor on it, which can tell the system how much natural sunlight is coming into the building. The system will then tell the individual unit how much light it needs to generate for a comfortable workspace.

Additionally, the lights may have occupancy sensors which will tell the system to turn off the light if there is no movement under it for a set amount of time. So, imagine a bank of cubicles with one person working late into the night. In a conventional system, the entire zone of lights would have to stay on, which could be 20-plus fixtures. Now, a single light stays on, and 19-plus lights are saving energy!

I think tech of this nature is going to be one of the biggest deals coming into the next decade and will be a major factor in helping businesses to manage not only the utilities themselves, but also the costs associated with them. Leaner and greener is the way to go!

Kelly BedrichKelly Bedrich


Kelly Bedrich is co-founder of ElectricityPlans, an online shopping site that features quality electricity providers, straightforward plans, and educational content to help home and business owners find their perfect electricity plan.

“Regardless of the type of office space, business energy savings can be big in HVAC, which is the biggest driver of your electricity bill…”

Most offices have their HVAC set at 72 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter. However, some people are naturally hotter or colder. A quick check around your office will likely reveal space heaters. A 1,500-watt space heater will cost your facility an extra $25 or more a month on your electricity bill. ({(1,500 watts X 8 hours X 20 days/mth) / 1,000}* 11 cents per kWh). Now multiply that by the number of space heaters and you can see that it quickly adds up.

Work to accommodate these people by ensuring that they are sitting away from A/C vents. Interestingly, a warmer temperature in the office may also help productivity, especially if the staff is predominantly female, according to an article published in The Atlantic.

If the room is colder in certain areas of the building despite having the same temperature setting, contact your HVAC contractor to check the load balancing in your HVAC system. The temperature and the air output should be consistent across the HVAC system.

Joe BaileyJoe Bailey


Joe Bailey is the Operations Director at My Trading Skills.

“Technology is critical for helping facility managers reduce on costs of running facilities…” 

For instance, maintaining a facility is often one of the biggest costs that a facility manager has to contend with. However, adopting a facility maintenance software helps to reduce costs by scheduling preventive maintenance (and facility maintenance), enhancing resource allocation, and improving decision making. Such software also comes equipped with predictive testing capability which allows for just in time maintenance, saving your facility money in the long run.

Bottom line: Adopting technology in the management of facilities is the single most effective cost saving idea for facility management.

Dewayne HamiltonDewayne Hamilton

Dewayne Hamilton is currently the Director of a popular website about marketing, SEO, and best financial strategies called Web Cosmo Forums.

“One of the most drastic things you can do to reduce costs in a facility…” 

Especially one that is occupied every hour of every day, is to save on the lightning.

It all depends on your layout, but there are a lot of options. You can cut off individual parts completely, or you can change the settings and use an adjusted night mode level of lightning.

Also, it’s possible to turn off every other fixture on, for example, parking spaces. This will also yield savings, but won’t endanger anyone, as the visibility will be good enough. Of course, don’t touch emergency fixtures.

Marc GlaserMarc Glaser


Marc Glaser has been a commercial real estate broker in Atlanta and a Commercial Property manager for 22 years. He also wrote a book, Buy and Optimize, about commercial property management and teaches a CE class on How to Add Value to Atlanta Commercial Investment Property.

“The most important job of a facilities manager is to…”

Track and average hourly rates for services to the building, get bids on jobs and negotiate repair contracts. Contractors can eat a budget up by doing repairs that are not needed or even creating problems to make more money.

John Crossman, CCIM, CRXJohn Crossman, CCIM, CRX


John Crossman, CCIM, CRX is the CEO of Crossman & Company.

“One of the most impactful ways to cut costs when it comes to facilities management is…” 

A vendor review. Seek ways to consolidate vendors and tell them that you need them to find ways to reduce cost and in return, you will extend their contracts.

Scott HamiltonScott Hamilton


Scott Hamilton is a partner in Mount Royal Energy Group, a company dedicated to helping increase the efficiency of existing HVAC systems using proven, patented technologies. Most of his career, Hamilton has been focused on corporate communications.

“Becoming more energy efficient is the single most important objective every company should have…”

It comes with the side benefit of reducing the company’s carbon footprint, so while you improve the company’s bottom line, you help the planet.

Energy Audit
It starts with an energy audit. Before you can figure out the best ways to lower your buildings’ carbon emissions, you have to first understand what you’re working with. State and local governments, as well as some private companies, offer energy audits where they will inspect your business and make recommendations on how to improve efficiency. Not only are these audits almost always free, but they will usually offer discounts on solutions to the problems they find.

Quick Fixes
One quick and effective factor you can test yourself in the short term is your insulation. Energy.gov reports that properly insulating buildings can save 5-30% on your energy bill. Check for areas of your building such as baseboards, window and door frames, or cable, gas, and electrical services entrances for cracks or leaks. Sometimes the only tool you need is a piece of paper. Put it close to a crack… if it moves, you have an insulation problem.

Climate Control
Odds are you have a climate control solution for your building. Replacing an aging air conditioning system with newer energy efficient models will save electricity, but at a rather high cost. An alternative is to make sure the existing units are properly maintained and treat it with a nanotechnology solution like CryoGenX4 that can permanently restore efficiency in HVAC systems lost because of oil fouling. This can reduce annual energy costs by up to 20% percent or more. Furthermore, for every ton of refrigeration treated in this manner, up to 1.3 tons of carbon dioxide emissions can be eliminated annually. Don’t forget about low-tech solutions. Make sure your filters are replaced frequently and that the areas around all vents are clear.

Improve Efficiency When Replacing
While proper maintenance is the correct solution for some problems, there are certain energy-drainers that just need to be replaced. You can start with your light bulbs. Replacing standard light bulbs with energy-efficient light bulbs can save $10-$20 a year per bulb. Additionally, when replacing any equipment from computers to vending machines, from data storage devices to commercial coffee brewers, always check for the Energy Star products. Not only will these products reduce your carbon footprint and save money over time, but many also come with hefty rebates to lower the upfront cost.

Make Efficiency Part of Your Culture
Lowering your company’s carbon footprint isn’t just addressed through the building and hardware of your company. It is also vital that it becomes part of your company’s culture. Your commitment to a green future should be seen in the decisions you make for how to operate your business. Again, these policies don’t just help reduce your company’s carbon footprint; they’ll also improve your bottom line.

Jeff RevoyJeff Revoy


Jeff Revoy, co-founder of venture-backed SpaceIQ, is helping lead the digital transformation of the workplace. SpaceIQ’s mission is to make the workplace cost effective, more productive, and most of all to create an engaging, interactive environment with employees.

“The workplace is the single biggest fixed cost for U.S. businesses…”

Real estate rent costs companies $1.2 trillion a year – and 35% of that is wasted due to poor space utilization and real estate use forecasting.

The national average space utilization is less than 70%. You rarely hear complaints about having too much space…it’s always about needing more. But the numbers don’t add up. Real estate forecasting tools can significantly lower facilities management costs and allow businesses to make more of their existing workplaces.

For example, one fast-growing Utah company used our space planning tools to see what would happen if it reduced desk size from 6 feet to 5 feet. The result: company leadership was able to free up enough space to defer leasing additional real estate for five years.

Real estate forecasting tools for facilities management sheds valuable light on making more of what you have vs. expanding your footprint and expenditures.

Joe FlanaganJoe Flanagan

Joe Flanagan is the Lead Developer at GetSongbpm.

“I think the single and most effective cost saving idea will have to be the retrocommissioning of facilities…”

This has to do with improving facilities and equipment in such a way that it saves future expenses.

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