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Animal & Research Facility Planner

  • Industry: Facilities Management
  • Location: St. Louis, Missouri
  • Client: Institution - Higher Education
  • Search ID: 17-0711-10

Helbling is representing Washington University School of Medicine (School) in conducting an executive search to secure an Animal & Research Facility Planner who will plan, analyze, estimate, and complete conceptual and detailed work products in support of the strategic efforts for animal facilities projects ensuring efficiency within designated budget. This role consults and communicates with departments regarding planning and project advancement; and coordinates primarily with the School and Division of Comparative Medicine (DCM) for vivarium space planning, screening, and programing of intake of space requests and vetting of options/needs.

Responsibilities encompass:

  • Supports the strategic efforts by delivering detailed analysis for space optimization and feasibility testing of the activities and animal related needs for existing vivarium facilities and their potential capabilities and capacities. Conduct needs assessment and offer solutions for efficiency.
  • Manages DCM related space request process by documenting needs and timing as they relate to vivarium space for animal housing, equipment, procedures or specialty needs in accordance with DCM space assignment principles, in support of DCM Associate Director.
  • Coordinates vivarium space needs with DCM Veterinary Affairs and Facility Managers and School. Suggests “highest and best use” scenarios for available space.
  • Supports and leads some project management initiatives, and ensures effective transition of space planning efforts to project implementation, supporting a successful project workflow.
  • Provides development of detailed conceptual planning, programming, and estimating as well as project transition (transition from planning to projects). Participates in planning for, and supporting the development of information used in presentations and negotiations with business units. Remains consistent and aligned with senior administration directives and plans. This includes plans to maximize the use of space and productivity to meet research, teaching, and clinical needs.
  • Participates in supporting complex scheduling planning projects; and monitors work in progress and completes all documentation related to these efforts utilizing assigned technology, tools, process, and templates.
  • Manages and quantifies current and future animal space needs including special housing and/or core facilities, formulates options to accommodate needs, and identifies potential operational efficiencies to foster collaboration among researchers.
  • Consults with departments to qualify and quantify specifics related to vivarium planning, including projected changes in research related activities (recruitments, funding changes, planned growth or consolidation). Serves as an ambassador of the department by promoting a positive image through courtesy, professionalism, and diplomacy.
  • Assists in the scope development for planning group and may include participation in RFQ's or services as well as for assigned studies and or planning projects. May participate and support the on-going initiatives for negotiations and contracting.
  • Estimates project cost, evaluates proposed modifications and changes as planning evolves offering recommendations and solutions for efficiency and favorability in expenditures. Alignment of projects with the capital plan.


  • Bachelor's Degree in Architecture, Planning, or Engineering (Electrical, Mechanical or Civil).
  • Eight (8) years of experience in physical planning. 
  • Ability to manage multiple priorities and operate in a faced paced environment with tight completion time frames.  
  • Demonstrated effective verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Strong facilitation, presentation, and conflict resolution skills.  
  • Project management and leadership experience desired.
  • Demonstrated computer proficiency in MS Office suite including spreadsheets and databases in a windows environment.  
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently with a high degree of accuracy and productivity.  
  • Prefer experience working in a large highly structured environment with complex teams.  
  • Knowledge of Federal and higher education research animal laws and policies.


  • Master's degree in Planning, Architecture, or Urban Planning.
  • More than ten (10) years of university or medical school experience in a facilities organization.
  • Clinical planning experience.

Search Consultants: Marc Datz and Jason Vallozzi

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