Being responsible for a facility such as McCormick Place in Chicago is almost like being responsible for the care and maintenance of a small metropolis.
McCormick Place is a sprawling city, with at least seven and a half million square feet of space to maintain, which encompasses both the front and back of house.
The mayor of this city is Mark Joyce, ARAMARK general manager for facility services at McCormick Place.
At his command are 18 managers and over 350 hourly employees, who are charged with cleaning and maintaining the facility.
While this might seem like a daunting task to most, Joyce is uniquely prepared for the challenges that such a large facility has to offer.
For 22 years, Mark Joyce found himself in the Marine Corps, a career path that was seemingly inevitable for him.
"I was born to be a Marine," says Joyce. "My father and grandfather were Marines. Two of my three sons are Marines, with my third and youngest son being in the Air Force."
Joyce, from Pittsburgh, grew up in the 1970s when the majority of the city''s steel mills were shutting down, making the military one of the more viable options for employment.
During those 22 years, Joyce has spent time in 31 different countries — an experience that he says opened his eyes to different cultures and the different types of people you don''t necessarily deal with on a daily basis.
Eventually, though, Joyce retired from the military and went in to business for himself.
Building a small deli/sandwich shop from the ground up — including building counters and installing equipment — brought Joyce a level of satisfaction that is rarely found by those who haven''t seen a goal of their own come in to fruition.
Seeking bigger and better things, Joyce sold his business after only six months and began moving towards facilities services.
For a year and a half, Joyce was in Iraq building camps and providing all of the quality of life services for the troops.
He points to this experience as one of the ways his life choices prepared him for the undertaking that is McCormick Place.
"Managing the facility service requirements of a camp with 30,000 troops in it, providing lodging, laundry, food services and more prepared me to manage the massive amount of retail space at McCormick Place," proclaims Joyce.
McCormick Place is constantly bustling with activity; it is not uncommon for any given event held at the convention and expo center to attract people from around the globe.
Having lived and worked in numerous countries, Joyce is able to bring a unique perspective to the day-to-day running of the facility, whether there is a function occurring or not.
There are nearly 400 employees under Joyce''s supervision of differing nationalities; all in all, there are 40 to 50 countries represented in the microcosm that is McCormick Place.
Having spent many years among different cultures, Joyce is able to more fully cater to his patrons, leaving guests with a more positive experience.
"The more positive a guest''s experience is, the better the chance of them coming back next year. Numerous event planners have remarked that one reason they keep coming back to McCormick Place each year is because they know what to expect, and that their expectations are always met," notes Joyce.
Leading By Example
Joyce''s years in the military not only provided him with the diverse experiences that allow him to make his guests at McCormick Place that much more comfortable, but also put him in a position to be a better, stronger leader.
"My military background has helped me to develop a hands-on, lead-by-example management style," explains Joyce. "Military people are used to overcoming challenges, knocking down barriers and finding ways to get the desired results. When your employees know that you are willing to work along side them and lead by example, they are more willing to go the extra mile for you."
The military prepared Joyce to be able to manage vast numbers of people, both guests and personnel, and to handle the extreme volume of supplies that pass through the facility daily.
"There is never a chance of getting bored here. Every day is different. Different shows, different events, different people to interact with," concludes Joyce.
Mark Joyce enjoys the challenge that is the colossal McCormack Place, putting heart and soul in to each task and always delivering one of the most important results: Satisfaction.