Active Search

Associate Vice Chancellor Physical Planning, Development & Operations

  • Industry: Facilities Management
  • Location: Santa Cruz, California
  • Client: Institution - Higher Education
  • Search ID: 17-0303-12

Helbling has been retained by the University of California (UC), Santa Cruz, to conduct an executive search to secure an Associate Vice Chancellor for Physical Planning, Development & Operations (AVC) who will provide strategic leadership for the physical planning, development, and operations across the 6M SF of campus facilities. Responsibility includes acquisition, planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance and renewal of campus buildings, systems, infrastructure, and grounds. 

The AVC position was created by the Vice Chancellor for Business and Administrative Services with assistance by other key members of her team in response to a recent restructuring within Facilities, Operations, and Real Estate. The AVC oversees five units (approximately 300 FTE):

  • Architectural Services
  • Engineering Services
  • Physical Plant Services
  • Physical and Environmental Planning Services
  • Real Estate Services


Located in the picturesque community of Santa Cruz, CA, UC Santa Cruz is home to 17,000 students on 2,000 acres. Santa Cruz is located 75 miles south of San Francisco, 32 miles southwest of San Jose, and at the northern edge of Monterey Bay. The university is situated in an extremely unique physical environment overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Santa Cruz is home to many popular attractions including an abundance of hiking/biking trails, the Santa Cruz Wharf, and highly desirable surfing conditions. 

Named to the 2017 US News & World report top 50 Best Global Universities, UC Santa Cruz has earned international distinction as a university with high-impact research and an uncommon commitment to teaching and public service. A campus with world-class facilities and one of the most visually spectacular settings in higher education, UC Santa Cruz provides unparalleled opportunities for students to learn through hands-on experience. A commitment to environmental stewardship and community engagement are also central to the university's core values.

The ideal candidate will have a record of facility and planning experience, and possess the qualities needed to lead change, manage resources, streamline processes and advance customer service. He/she will be a visionary leader who can bring together a diverse team to advance the campus physical plant needs and goals. The AVC must be able to successfully collaborate with campus leaders and stakeholders to address challenges and capitalize on opportunities.

Qualifications include:

  • Preferred: A bachelor or advanced degree in a related field.
  • Ability to develop, lead, and inspire a diverse team across a broad grouping of functions and employee categories, including union-represented staff.
  • Strong record of organizational development and process optimization.
  • Ability to cultivate trust and credibility in all operational areas.
  • Skill in developing staff and providing opportunities for growth and professional development.
  • Broad knowledge of facilities management and operations, infrastructure, landscape, and building construction and design, and real estate planning.
  • Ability to develop long-range plans for the physical environment.
  • Knowledge of economic development and facility investment, start-up, and project/program development experience.
  • Familiarity with construction procurement and real estate.
  • Project management skills and the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Ability to work with campus leadership and project clients to develop a clear understanding of the risk tolerance for projects and then clearly track, navigate, and report on risks throughout a project life-cycle.
  • Strong experience with fiscal management and stewardship of resources.
  • Experience with financial structures to support facility development and ability to creatively address project funding and revenue generation.
  • Ability to think creatively and develop an environment that drives innovation.
  • Established record of working with a diverse array of constituents and providing strong customer service.
  • Ability to develop long-range strategic plans, measurable goals, and performance metrics for all unit operations.
  • Understanding and support of forward-thinking approaches to ensuring environmental sustainability in the design of new facilities and of the physical plant and operations.
  • Skill in being flexible and responsive in the face of a changing environment and emerging opportunities.
  • Strong track record in managing business and industry partnerships.
  • Ability to successfully navigate a large and complex organization, that includes shared governance of decisions and procedures managed at both the local campus and system-wide Office of the President.
  • Knowledge of and experience with a diverse set of delivery models and structures for achieving the capital needs of an organization.
  • General understanding of purchased utilities and renewable energy.
  • Strong understanding of complex factors related to land use and capital projects development.

Search Consultant: Rick Nawoczynski

Submit Resume

Subscribe to Helbling's eNewsletters & Search Alerts