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Senior Director of Facilities Operations & Maintenance

  • Industry: Facilities Management
  • Location: Chicago, Illinois
  • Client: Institution - Higher Education
  • Search ID: 17-0901-07

The University of Chicago has retained Helbling to conduct an executive search to find and secure a Senior Director of Facilities Operations & Maintenance. This role reports to, and serves as deputy to, the Assistant Vice President of Operations in Facilities Services. The Senior Director oversees a team of 11 people responsible for ensuring quality, balanced, and properly prioritized services are provided to Maintenance, Utilities, Sustainability, and Capital Project Delivery units of Facilities Services, and are aligned with Facilities Services’ management and organizational goals. This position plays a significant part in the overall success of the 300+ person Facilities Services (FS) department.

Responsibilities include:

  • Directly supervises and coordinates the Assistant Director for Maintenance Program Services, Chief Mechanical Engineer, Chief Electrical Engineer, and Materials Control Supervisor, and manages the operating budget of the unit.
  • Creates effective, efficient, and detailed corrective and preventative maintenance (PM) standards in Maximo Computerized Maintenance Management System. Utilizes best practices to develop, implement, and promote processes and work rules that establish consistent use of rules for priority, status, work identification, and characterization to improve work management and efficiency. Leads the deployment of planning and scheduling where applicable. 
  • Establishes strategic work flow processes, structure, and standards, monitoring and improving work management, and providing Work (Call) Center, Materials Management, CMMS application and PM Planning for Facilities Services. 
  • Coordinates with key stakeholders to define and implement work standards and rules to improve the function of maintenance and facilitate consistent performance, utilizing joint consideration of priority, asset work type, and the knowledge of subject matter specialists. 
  • Fosters effective communication and collaboration within facilities department while serving as a staff advocate who supports high quality, innovative programs to attract, develop, motivate, and retain a diverse workforce. 
  • Ensures planning and scheduling processes are implemented to reduce costly corrective work, increase proactive preventative work, and provide efficient deployment of resources. 
  • Develops and ensures proper application of predictive maintenance activities to support work safety best practices and increase equipment reliability.
  • Establishes personal and organizational KPI's and goals, and promotes interaction of key elements. Assigns and monitors work in progress and completed for quality and timeliness utilizing process-based KPIs established. Evaluates staff for work completion, productivity, goal achievement, and customer service. Administers awards and recognition program based on established KPIs.
  • Manages the Maintenance Programs Services group in the implementation of work control, standards, and provision of materials for Facilities Services units. 
  • Helps ensure that environmental sustainability initiatives are integrated into all FS Operations and is integral in ensuring customer service and other FS management support functions are met. 
  • Assists other managers, supervisors, and FS leadership, as needed, and adheres to all safety practices and procedures.
  • Leads and manages organizational change to accomplish ambitious objectives while enhancing departmental performance and efficiency, and building productive relationships and credibility across campus. 
  • Provides process planning and leadership for work management process definition, improvement, and implementation to serve FS units. Helps define roles and responsibilities within the facilities department.
  • Utilizes engineering and work management principles and stakeholder input to provide process planning and mapping, with associated identification of roles and responsibilities integrated with KPI's and Maximo functions.
  • Determines and implements goals to improve practices and training to help form an organization utilizing predictive maintenance and Reliability Centered Maintenance principles.
  • Utilizing Maximo, support staff, and IT, provides KPI-based reports on a regular basis that will serve FS staff and leadership in determining status, performance, work loading, and desired improvements.  These reports should identify not only first level performance, but program success. 
  • Utilizing report facts, provides analysis to respond to performance or planning questions, or makes desired recommendations for changes.
  • Monitors and ensures efficient inventory, procurement, and distribution practices are established and implemented, and stakeholders' needs are met.
  • Provides direct support to the AVP of Operations in the development of annual business and budget plan.
  • In coordination with the AVP of Operations, assists in hiring and providing performance reviews and associated training plans based on annual skills assessment for staff. 
  • Monitors and enforces attendance and employee conduct policies in a consistent manner.
  • Performs other related duties as required to assist the AVP of Operations.
The University of Chicago is one of the world's premier academic and research institutions and has driven new ways of thinking since its founding in 1890. Today, The University of Chicago is an intellectual destination that draws inspired scholars to our Hyde Park and international campuses, keeping the institution at the nexus of ideas that challenge and change the world.
University of Chicago Facts
  • 5,860 undergraduate students
  • 9,866 graduate, professional, and other students
  • 160,000 alumni worldwide
  • 2,274 full-time faculty
  • 7,164 staff
  • 49 majors and 40 minors in the undergraduate college
  • 5 divisions and 6 professional schools for graduate study
  • 99 Nobel Laureates
  • Located in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood near Lake Michigan
  • 217 acres; designated a botanic garden in 1997
  • Blend of traditional English Gothic and award-winning modern buildings designed by renowned architects
The University of Chicago is a vibrant community of people dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in education and research. One of the largest employers in the metropolitan area, the university employs 10,000 diverse and talented individuals who come to work at the institution from all over the world. The university's location in the heart of an urban environment provides many cultural offerings as well as opportunities to engage with the local community.
The Hyde Park community is rich in tradition, culturally diverse, and brimming with art, music, and entertainment opportunities. Hyde Park is a unique Chicago neighborhood. Located on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan, Hyde Park is home to people of diverse backgrounds, perceptions, and pursuits. As a growing and changing community, Hyde Park is still deeply rooted in tradition. Ever- evolving, expanding, and alive with history, Hyde Park remains home to many lifelong residents.
Conveniently located on a beautiful park-like campus near Lake Michigan in the community of Hyde Park, The University of Chicago is one of the world's leading research universities, known for its internationally renowned researchers, scholars, and intellectual pioneers. Known as a "teacher of teachers," the university also partners with local educational institutions to enhance educational opportunities for residents of all ages.
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  • Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering, Business, or a related field or equivalent combination of education and relevant industry experience required.
  • Advanced degree in Engineering, Business, or a related field preferred.
  • Minimum of ten (10) years of relevant experience in complex higher education or similar facilities required.
  • Minimum of eight (8) years of experience managing facilities operations or engineering required.
  • Minimum of eight (8) years of supervisory experience required.
Function Competencies
  • Demonstrated strategic leadership skills with the ability to supervise, train, and evaluate the work of others required.
  • Ability to clearly and effectively communicate with all levels of staff, faculty, and administration.
  • Knowledge of facilities engineering, maintenance optimization, and work management principles required.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously, set priorities, and meet deadlines required.
  • Knowledge of CMMS, preferably IBM Maximo, is required.
  • Demonstrated working knowledge of Building Automation Systems is required.
  • Engineering competence is preferred.
  • Budget management skills, and knowledge of relevant building systems and maintenance techniques required.
  • Ability to read and interpret documents such as design drawings, safety guidelines, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedural manuals required.
  • Demonstrated ability to use independent judgment, set priorities, and analyze complex factors to innovatively solve problems, as well as to think strategically, plan, negotiate and persuade. 
  • Strong decision making skills required.
  • Organizational skills required.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills required.
  • Customer service skills required.
  • Ability to work independently with a high degree of initiative and collectively as part of a team required.
  • Demonstrated computer literacy in Windows environments including MS Word, Excel, and Outlook required.
  • Must have a valid IL driver's license and successfully complete the university's Motor Vehicle Records background check process.
  • Respond promptly by phone or in person as appropriate to emergency situations, and therefore, must be available 24/7 required.

Search Consultant: Joe Wargo

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