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Director of Project Management

  • Industry: Facilities Management
  • Location: Ojai, California
  • Client: Institution - Independent School
  • Search ID: 17-0306-09

Helbling is representing Thacher School, a prior client, in conducting an executive search to secure a Director of Project Management (DPM) who will lead several imminent, major capital projects and continually improve the school’s project management capabilities. The school has embarked on ambitious plans to invest, over the next five to seven years, approximately $60M in academic and student support facilities on its 325-acre campusProjects include construction of a new dining facility, a new academic center, and the “right- configuring” of classrooms to meet changing pedagogy. 

The DPM will be the school’s direct, day-to-day contact for retained planners, architects, engineers, consultants, and contractors on these major capital projects as the full-time, onsite owner’s representative with direct accountability and authority for assuring satisfactory major capital project performance with respect to safety, quality, schedule, budget, change control, and regulatory and contractual compliance.  In addition, he/she will be responsible at the school for promoting “best-in-class” PM.

The position's scope includes participating in the school’s master planning and proactively leading initial project development, conceptual design, detailed design, engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning, and close-out of all contracts. The DPM will plan, organize, coordinate, and provide owner interpretation and, as necessary, direction to the school’s retained planners, architects, engineers, consultants, and contractors on major capital projects. The position will also include continually improving the school’s PM tools, methods, procedures, processes, and culture.    

Responsibilities include:

  • Assures the success of the school’s intended safety, quality, schedule, budget, change control, and regulatory and contractual compliance on relatively simultaneous major capital projects comprising an estimated $60M building program funded by the largest capital campaign in the school’s history. 

  • Finalizes the school’s “PM charter”, a generic template for successful PM.

  • Develops a project mandate for every major project prior to the start of any detailed design and keep such project mandate current as a major project evolves through the conception process.

  • Develops a PM plan for each major project prior to the start of any detailed design and articulating a risk management plan.

  • Conducts a thorough, off-project “30% design review” of every major project at purported 30% design completion.  

  • Develops a detailed construction execution plan and a baseline, detailed/definitive construction budget and schedule.

  • Performs customary, on-site, owner representative functions with respect to the school’s major projects.

  • Recommends or selects architects, engineers, consultants, vendors, and/or contractors who contract directly with the school and directly coordinating and managing interfaces between them.

  • Represents the school as owner at appropriate project meetings and assures proper documentation.

  • Resolves project issues, disputes, and/or disagreements (or quickly elevate them to higher management if necessary) to assure project momentum.

  • Assures that accurate project controls information is maintained by all necessary participants to maintain integrity of resultant project data.

  • As needed and appropriate, prepares and makes presentations/reports.

  • Leads the customarily phased, refined development of project programs/scopes, budgets, schedules, design and construction contracts, drawings/documents, procedures, processes, and practices, promoting the desired project PM culture.

  • Ensures longer term, institutionalized best-practice PM tools, policies, processes, and practices, all sustained by a robust PM culture.

  • Bachelor's degree in Engineering (any discipline), Architecture, Math, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Construction Management, or Accounting.
  • Master's degree in Project Management, Engineering & Construction Management, or similar Project Management program or Master's in Business Administration.
  • Registered Professional Engineer or Licensed Architect preferable.
  • Minimum of 25 years of experience in architecture, engineering, construction/construction management or large, complex buildings, plants, or other sophisticated physical systems.
  • Minimum of 10 years in integrated Architecture/Engineering and Construction/Construction Management leadership roles.
  • Minimum of 5 years of complex stakeholder management and negotiation.
  • Experience in an educational campus environment and union/non-union/merit shop environments preferred.
  • Proficiency in modern, computerized project controls tools (i.e. ProCore, PlanGrid), estimating, scheduling, project contracts, finance, and delivery models.
  • Ability to champion sustainability, integrated design concepts, and continuous improvement practices.

Search Consultant: Jim Lord

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