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Vice President for Infrastructure, Properties & Planning

  • Industry: Facilities Management
  • Location: Upstate New York
  • Client: Institution - Higher Education
  • Search ID: 17-0204-07

Helbling is representing a repeat client, a university in upstate New York, in conducting an executive search to secure a Vice President of Infrastructure, Properties & Planning (IPP). The IPP division includes: Facilities Management; Contract Colleges Facilities; Energy and Sustainability; Transportation and Mail Services; Finance and Information Technology; Architecture and Campus Planning; Engineering and Project Administration; and Real Estate. 

The VP leads the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of university buildings, grounds, and utilities infrastructure. The VP also oversees the real estate function, campus mail, and commuter, fleet, and parking services. Under the VP's leadership, the Department of Utilities and Energy Management operates the university’s thermal energy system, which includes both the production and distribution of steam (with electric cogeneration) and chilled water. In addition, the department operates an electric substation and distribution system, potable water production and distribution system, sanitary sewerage collection systems, storm sewerage collection system, and a campus-wide energy management and building operations system. 

As a senior member of the staff of the university’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, the VP is expected to work regularly on various campus and community committees involving administrators, faculty, students, trustees, and members of the local community.

Responsibilities include:

  • Provides a broad spectrum of facilities services that include the planning, design, construction, maintenance and care of campus buildings and grounds through effective prioritization of a complex set of initiatives.
  • Leads the planning, development, and operation of the university’s utilities infrastructure, including electricity, steam, chilled water, and potable water. This includes developing and implementing long-range strategic plans in concert with campus needs, available resources, and policy and regulatory constraints.
  • Serves on the university’s Capital Funding and Priorities Committee and Provost Capital Planning Group, and acts as the administration’s spokesperson on the trustees’ Buildings and Properties Committee.
  • Oversees the Campus Sustainability Office, which works with diverse partners to catalyze a sustainable campus transformation through the implementation of forward-looking technology. In this role, the VP is expected to be a steward for the university’s Climate Action Plan.
  • Oversees the university’s real estate functions including strategy, consultation, acquisition, and disposition.
  • Directs the division’s operations and formulate process-driven, fiscally responsible budgetary recommendations based on a yearly budget of $150 to $200M to ensure long-term durability of the university’s infrastructure and the financial viability of each major functional area within the division. Deliver initiatives that balance quality with cost to deliver.
  • Serves in a key role in the university-wide capital planning process, with a focus on campus renewal initiatives.
  • Leads, sets clear strategic direction, and acts as staff advocate for a diverse organization of roughly 1,000 employees through the establishment and maintenance of organizational goals, implementation plans, and all aspects of staff management. Promotes and exemplifies university and divisional professional and personal values, leading with caring, a calm demeanor, and a positive attitude. The VP engages the leadership team by valuing input and embracing a transparent, partnership-oriented approach to leadership.
  • Serves as a member of a variety of campus and local community committees. In these roles, the VP can expect to work closely with trustees, senior administrators, faculty, staff, students, and local public officials.
  • Bachelor's degree in Engineering, Business, Public Administration, Planning, Architecture, or related field is required.
  • Demonstrated successful fiscal experience in capital planning and managing operating budgets of $100M or more.
  • High degree of leadership skills with a minimum of ten (10) years of experience in senior-level supervisory leadership, including motivating staff and encouraging creative thought and decision-making.
  • Significant experience in physical plant management and substantial understanding of technical issues relating to facilities management.
  • Knowledge of project management, design development, and construction management, as well as utilities and transportation systems.
  • Sophisticated knowledge of business processes related to facilities.
  • Knowledge of climate action issues and experience developing sustainable systems.
  • High degree of intelligence with strong critical and strategic thinking abilities.
  • Outstanding communication and presentation skills including exemplary listening skills.
  • Strong business acumen to enhance divisional efficiency and ability to share specific financial data related to physical plant expenses.
  • Understanding of the role of “place” and excellence in campus quality.
  • Nimbleness and ability to deal with complex issues with multiple stakeholders while navigating a decentralized organization.
  • Demonstrated experience serving as a staff advocate, promoting development, and supporting succession planning efforts to enhance business continuity.

Search Consultant: Joe Wargo

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