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Program Manager - Special Projects

  • Industry: Facilities Management
  • Location: Lowell, Massachusetts
  • Client: Institution - Higher Education
  • Search ID: 17-0802-11

The University of Massachusetts, Lowell has retained Helbling to conduct an executive search to secure a Program Manager – Special Projects (PM-SP). This role ensures the smooth operation of the department and efficient management of its Capital Project Program. The PM-SP will assist in the development and monitoring of operational procedures, provide supervision to project management team members, coordinate project development efforts within all Facilities departments, and keep the entire campus informed of project impacts.   

The PM-SP will primarily be responsible for development and delivery of renovation, renewal, and special projects; coordination of signage, furniture, door hardware, locks and keys, and move coordination on construction projects; and development/maintenance of campus design standards. The PM-SP will provide executive-level support and supervision to ensure that all special projects assigned to the Facilities Project Management team be delivered on time, within budget, and aligned with campus strategies and initiatives. This position will be assigned projects to manage on their own.

This position has a significant impact on UMass Lowell’s finances and strategy, and its intent is to minimize the capital risk associated with construction and renovation projects. The PM-SP ensures that projects are planned, designed, and executed to meet the schedule, budget, and operational constraints set by UMass Lowell; ensures that campus standards and operational requirements are incorporated into all phases of the project; and that quality workmanship is achieved during execution. Failure to accomplish these goals could result in budget overruns that put future renovation and expansion plans at risk and/or scheduling delays that could cause critical space shortages. This position makes critical recommendations for executive decision making throughout the entire project management process

Responsibilities include:

Supervision & Management

  • Supervises all aspects of performance for Facilities Project Managers and staff as assigned including daily coaching and mentoring, the writing and conducting of performance reviews, and providing disciplinary action if needed.
  • Develops and enforces operational procedures for smooth operation of the department.
  • Assists in the strategic assignment and coordination of all projects for maximum efficiency and minimal impact to the campus community. 
  • Manages the development and maintenance of design standards with all campus service providers (operations, technology, security, etc.).
  • Provides guidance for the development of project schedule, budgets, and scope. Offers advice for troubleshooting, value engineering, contract administration, and procurement strategy.
  • Manages and negotiates service contracts with architects, engineers, technical consultants, vendors, and owners' project management firms.
  • Monitors and addresses issues related to the performance of the designers, general contractors, and any other consultants working for the university and associated with the project.

Project Management

  • Coordinates and manages the selection, procurement, and installation of all signage, furniture, door hardware, and move services for all projects assigned to department.
  • Executes (and provides support to project managers, as assigned) for all phases of the project life cycle including: scoping, estimating, study, design, budget management, procurement, construction administration, furniture, signage, move coordination, and closeout.
  • Ensure that university design standards, and technological and operational needs are incorporated into each project in a code compliant manner for operational continuity across campus.
  • Provides primary oversight for building code, accessibility, and regulatory compliance of all projects assigned.
  • Works directly with a highly diverse cross functional team of campus executives and managers, deans and department heads, internal business experts and business analysts, as well as representatives from state and local agencies to coordinate project components and construction impacts with the campus community. 
  • Provides frequent field inspections of the job site to monitor job progress, reinforce quality, and ensures compliance with state, local, and campus requirements. 
  • Coordinates with State agencies [such as the Massachusetts Department of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) or the University of Massachusetts Building Authority (UMBA)] on major capital projects. 

Relationship Management

  • Uses expert communication and leadership skills to establish a common understanding of project expectations by all members of the project team (both internal and external) including but not limited to: timelines, scope, campus initiatives, and design standards. 
  • Offers recommendations for project implementation options that affect cost, schedule, and quality, and minimize risk to stakeholders.
  • Coordinates contracted services and construction activities to maximum effectiveness and minimal disruption to the campus and surrounding neighborhoods. 
  • Promotes the university’s commitment to customer service by building harmonious partnerships with university colleagues, and state and local officials by: freely sharing appropriate information; providing prompt assistance and/or response to all requests; and maintaining an environment that is respectful of our diverse campus community.
  • Works with the highest level of integrity and work ethic. Emphasizes quality in all work. Takes responsibility for all actions.

Promotes the university's commitment to customer service by:

  • Building effective partnerships with co-workers throughout the university by freely sharing appropriate information and providing assistance when needed.
  • Ensuring optimum service to all internal and external partners in response to all requests for service and information.
  • Maintaining an environment that is welcoming to persons of all backgrounds, nationalities, and roles.

Minimum qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Design, Architecture, Engineering, Construction Management or relevant discipline is required. 
  • Minimum of ten (10) years of progressive experience in Design, Architecture, Engineering, and/or Construction Management within the design and construction industry and working effectively with multi-disciplinary client teams.  
  • Minimum of seven (7) years as project manager in large institutional setting with direct experience on project design development. 
  • Minimum of five (5) years as the owners project representative with direct experience coordinating and managing signage, furniture, door hardware, and/or move services, and involvement in project programming, scoping, and estimating.
  • Minimum five (5) years of relevant direct supervisory experience.
  • Must complete training and demonstrate proficiency within one year of assignment for the following: MA Construction Supervisors License, MCPPO (Massachusetts Procurement Training) with demonstrated understanding of C149, C149A, and C30/39M regulations, LEED training, and ability to prepare CADD drawings.
  • Valid OSHA10 certification within 6 months of assignment. 
  • Demonstrated working knowledge of Building Codes, BOCA Codes, and ADA regulations. 
  • Proven ability to read and interpret CADD drawings and specifications. 
  • Strong interpersonal skills with proven ability to mentor, develop, and coach team members.
  • Excellent communication and relationship skills.
  • Strong analytical/project financial management skills.
  • Demonstrated skills with Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook.
  • Well organized and consistently meets commitments.

Preferred qualifications:

  • Professional Master’s degree and/or complementary professional degree in Architecture, Design, Engineering, Construction, Planning, Landscape or related discipline helpful.
  • Professional education and/degree in Interior Design, Space Planning, and/or comparable fields.
  • Multiple years of successful supervision of project management teams including: workload management, processes, and professional development in the field of construction or facilities in a similar institutional environment. 
  • Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.
  • Construction industry and/or project management related certifications or registrations such as Registered Architect, Professional Engineer, Construction Supervisor, LEED, BIM, BOCE.
  • Experience with renovation projects in academic or large institutions.
  • Experience managing the public procurement, design, and construction of laboratory buildings, science facilities, institution/residential buildings, and other institutional facilities is desirable.  
  • Ability to prepare CADD drawings.

Other skillsets:

  • Combination of best practices for project management procedures and creative problem solving to keep the project on track.  
  • Ability to (1) identify key decision makers which may change throughout the project life cycle, (2) resolve conflicting priorities, and (3) adapt one’s communication style and approach to gain cooperation from varying or changing personalities.
  • Excellent communication abilities with all levels of the organization.
  • Skilled at managing programming and problem solving sessions with conflicting priorities.  
  • Capabilities to articulate the current status of the project, identify alternatives, and make recommendations to senior level executives as well as operational managers.  
  • Representation of UMass Lowell with state and local agencies for review of construction documents, permits, approvals, and waivers.  
  • Ability to motivate and build collaborative teams with designers, consultants, contractors, and stakeholders and cross functional internal experts for mutual commitment towards project goals and delivery expectations.
  • Exceptional managerial skills in the following areas are required: supervision, organization, administration, budget, negotiation, motivation, written and verbal communication, time management, construction management, project management, computer, and multi-tasking.
  • Architectural, Engineering, Design, and/or Construction Management Background is required.
  • Ability to work effectively with diverse groups.

Search Consultant: Ryan Pugh

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