The “youniversal” workplace experience is heading to the heart of Texas. An estimated 5,000 facility professionals from around the world will meet in Dallas to analyze the trends and new products affecting today’s built environment during the International Facility Management Association’s World Workplace 2008 Conference & Expo, Oct. 15-17, at the Dallas Convention Center.

Long recognized as the world’s premier educational and networking conference for facility managers and those in related fields, World Workplace brings industry leaders from the world’s top business and government organizations together with educators and exhibitors to focus on the future of the work environment. Now in its 29th year, the conference will feature 83 educational sessions and new product demonstrations by more than 300 manufacturers from across the globe.

“World Workplace is so many things to so many professionals,” said John McGee, MBA, chairman of IFMA’s board of directors. “It is a demonstration of leading products and companies; a place where cutting edge facility strategies are shared and global issues — such as sustainability — are debated; a forum for continuing education; and a place to meet fellow professionals and friends. It is also an opportunity for attendees to celebrate the advances made in the past 12 months and gain insight into the possibilities for the next year.”

In keeping with its youniversal theme, this year’s conference will emphasize the importance of thinking globally to address the challenges universal to the facility management profession. From the Global Outlook educational track to the closing keynote presentation from European business guru Dr. Jonas Ridderstråle, international perspectives will take center stage.

The Global FM Sustainability Project is one such international collaboration. The project seeks to compile and share the sustainability initiatives and best practices of leading organizations and businesses around the globe, with the intent of increasing awareness about sustainable design and highlighting changes organizations can implement themselves. Representatives from Global FM member organizations will present a report on their findings and hold a panel discussion on the results at the conference.

“The importance of sustainability is something that should resonate with everyone. It transcends barriers, cultures and languages,” said IFMA Director of International Development Codrutza Timariu. “Linking sustainability to strategy presents facility managers with an opportunity to get inside the executive suite, because the decisions they make and actions they take affect the triple bottom line — impacting the economic, social and environmental success of their organizations.”

Another highlight of World Workplace 2008 will be the Green Zone, an exclusive section of the expo floor reserved for those exhibitors offering environmentally friendly products and services. More than 100 exhibitors will be featured in the Green Zone this year, including organizations such as the Alliance for Sustainable Built Environments and companies such as AT&T, Herman Miller and Johnson Controls.

Following in the tradition of last year’s World Workplace, this year’s conference has again received Cleaner & Greener® certification from Leonardo Academy, a non-profit environmental consulting group. Organizations seeking Cleaner & Greener certification make a commitment to gather emission reductions, offsetting the emissions caused by events. This year, representatives from IFMA and Leonardo Academy will present award certificates to those organizations and individuals who have worked to offset the carbon footprint associated with the conference.

Web 2.0 technologies, and their effect on the workplace, will be another focus of this year’s event. World Workplace 2008 educational sessions include courses on the evolution of the “Wiki Workplace,” using Google tools as a resource for project management and numerous sessions on emerging technology. Additionally, the World Workplace Community integrates social networking tools such as YouTube, Facebook, Flickr and Twitter, giving attendees the chance to interact with the conference’s keynote speakers and share their World Workplace experience with others.

Conference attendees will also have the opportunity to see Dallas firsthand by attending IFMA facility tours throughout the city. Among the facilities open for touring will be the Dallas Morning News corporate offices, the American Airlines Center, the Dallas Convention Center and the 115-year-old, newly-restored Old Red Courthouse.

The World Workplace 2008 Conference & Expo will be held Oct. 15-17 at the Dallas Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. The expo floor will be open Wednesday, Oct. 15, from 2:30 to 6 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Friday, Oct. 17, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.