Executive Director of Facilities Management

Helbling, a ZRG company   Burlington, VT   Full-time     Management
Posted on May 16, 2024


ZRG has been engaged to recruit an Executive Director of Facilities Management for the University of Vermont. a public land-grant research university founded in 1791.



UVM is a top research university of ideal size, large enough to offer a breadth of ideas, resources, and opportunities, yet scaled to enable close faculty-student mentorship across all levels of study, from bachelor’s to doctoral programs.

They create solutions to improve the world. As Vermont’s land-grant think tank, they are nationally acclaimed for tackling everything from farm viability to environmental growth, and they support commercialization and major job creation in the region through their partnerships and innovation.


UVM has a long history of environmental and sustainability leadership. It is in their nature, infused in everything they do – from curriculum to research to how they train educators, operate the campus, and conduct business.


They support students, faculty, and staff at the University of Vermont by providing safe, efficient, well-maintained, comfortable, and beautiful spaces where people can feel inspired to learn, teach, research, work, live, and play.


UVM Facilities Management was formed in February 2020 to bring several facilities-related departments and units into a new organizational structure reporting up through one Executive Director of Facilities Management within the Division of Finance & Administration.


Facilities Management comprises these departmental units:

             Planning, Design & Construction

             Physical Plant

             Utility Engineering

             Custodial Services

             Transportation & Parking Services

The Finance and Facilities Administration team provides shared services for all FM units including human resource management and financial operations.


Their departments employ over 400 professional, technical, skilled, and service-oriented staff in a variety of roles ranging from entry-level to executive-level.

Together, they are the UVM team who:

             Plan, design, and build new facilities for the campus’ future...and restore and renew the historic facilities of the past;

             Provide and manage the critical energy and utilities needed for conducting research, learning, living, and working on campus without disruption;

             Maintain and sustain campus buildings and infrastructure so the campus community is comfortable and safe;

             Ensure the cleanliness of campus spaces so that community members can stay healthy and thrive;

             Maintain the beauty of the campus landscape and grounds so that community members can feel inspired and playful;

             Operate, maintain, and provide services for transporting people to, from and around campus in sustainable ways.


Their workforce includes a diverse group of individuals who reflect the demographics of both their campus community and the regional community-- this includes individuals with origins representing 22 countries who speak 28 different native languages along with individuals who trace their Vermont roots back many generations. They value this diversity among their workforce because it makes their facilities organization stronger.


The Executive Director of Facilities Management is a critical leadership position that helps to ensure the success of the University by providing strategic leadership and management oversight for all aspects of facilities, transportation, utility infrastructure, capital construction, and preventative/deferred maintenance. This includes establishing and implementing short- and long-range department goals, objectives, strategic plans, policies, and operating procedures. The Executive Director will monitor and evaluate programmatic and operational effectiveness and implement changes as needed; establish best practices and standard operating procedures for all aspects of facilities management; and collaborate with campus and community stakeholders to further institutional strategic and operational goals to ensure safe, efficient, and well-maintained facilities.

The Executive Director will be a strategic leader with outstanding collaboration and communication skills, and will develop a culture of process improvement, customer service, transparency, and accountability. The Executive Director reports to Vice President for Finance and Administration. This position is subject to a background check.


             Provide strategic leadership, management, and oversight, for the units within the Division of Finance and Administration (DFA) that focus on facilities management: plan, design and construction, custodial services, physical plant, utility engineering and transportation and parking services;

             Establish best practices and standard operating procedures related to all aspects of facilities management responsibilities, including but not limited to, regulatory compliance, quality control, construction administration, asset and work management systems, safety, and energy initiatives;

             Remain up to date on and ensure full compliance with all regulatory laws, rules, and regulations;

             Supervise and manage a team of seven facilities professionals/leaders;

             Analyze and review position types and job functions to ensure maximum productivity and efficiency;

             Ensure cross-functional coordination among facilities units and effective communications with projects sponsors, end users, and stakeholders;

             Set and demonstrate organizational culture and values that incorporate positive change management approaches, emphasize superior customer service, and proactively champion a commitment to diversity and social justice, continuous improvement, innovation, and environmental sustainability;

             Coach and ensure ongoing staff development and training to ensure that best practices in facilities are implemented and support a culture of quality customer service;

             Develop and maintain strong relationships with various university partners including but not limited to Human Resource Services, University Financial Services, Safety and Compliance units, Division of Student Affairs, Athletics, Registrar’s Office, Real Estate Operations, Finance and Facilities Administration, and the Administrative Business Service Center;

             Represent facilities departments in policy and procedural discussions;

             Collaborate with other department leaders to create best practices for communication, operations, and positive engagement;

             Oversee the Classroom Improvement Committee, and represent facilities on other committees (ADA, Emergency Operations, etc.);

             Facilitate key facility meetings with campus and community partners;

             Build relationships with community and state partners, such as VT Div of Historic Preservation, Burlington Public Works Department, UVMMC, etc. Represent UVM on the CATMA Board;

             Attend city or state government meetings regarding issues that can affect university operations;

             Initiate and implement large-scale and long-range facilities projects in support of institutional and divisional objectives;

             Provide strategic guidance and analysis on strategic plans and projects to the Vice-President of Finance and Administration, including the campus plan and the comprehensive sustainability plan;

             Serve as liaison between Vice President for Finance and Administration, the Controller’s Office, facilities units, Finance and Facilities Administration, and the Administrative Business Service Center to ensure strong communication, collaboration, and efficiency once projects are underway;

             Oversee the utility, infrastructure, and deferred maintenance planning and the recommendations for use of renewal funding for facilities projects;

             Serve on the DFA Senior Leadership Team. Advise on the development and implementation of effective change management plans for DFA policy and process changes.


             General office conditions apply;

             Walking and traveling throughout campus facilities on a regular basis to visit job sites, meet with in-field personnel and campus constituents;

             Includes navigating stairs, climbing ladders, and moving in tight enclosed spaces, (i.e., electrical closets and underground vaults);

             Occasional travel to offsite locations as needed, without notice;

             Occasional off-hours/weekend availability required.



             Bachelor’s degree in facilities management, operations management, engineering, or related field;

             Seven plus years of progressive management experience leading the operations of a facilities department and a team of service workers;

             Comprehensive understanding of facilities, design, construction, capital project oversight, maintenance, operations, and infrastructure;

             Experience overseeing the management of multi-facility operational budgets. Decision- making, planning, organizational, and problem-resolution skills;

             Strong relationship-building and communication skills with both internal and external constituents;

             Demonstrated ability to function within a complex regulatory environment;

             Demonstrated ability to manage and develop employees and relationships, inspire a high level of commitment and performance from employees and influence outcomes;

             Effective ability to lead, participate in, and actively manage change in the business environment;

             Excellent communication skills are needed including the ability to deliver clear, focused explanations of complex issues for varied audiences;

             Knowledge of energy and sustainability practices;

             Proven team builder who works inclusively and must be able to demonstrate a commitment to service delivery to all customers.



             Advanced degree, experience in a higher education environment;

             Architect or professional engineer licensure. 


Burlington, Vermont, nestled on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, is a vibrant city known for its charming downtown, outdoor recreation, and progressive spirit. Located in the northwestern part of the state, Burlington offers stunning views of the lake and the Adirondack Mountains across the water. The city's pedestrian-friendly Church Street Marketplace is a hub of activity, featuring a variety of shops, restaurants, cafes, and street performers. Residents and visitors can enjoy strolling along the brick-paved streets, taking in live music, art galleries, and local boutiques.

Entertainment in Burlington is rich with cultural offerings and outdoor adventures. The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts hosts a diverse range of performances, from Broadway shows to local theater productions and concerts. Waterfront Park, situated along the shores of Lake Champlain, provides a picturesque setting for picnics, bike rides, and sailing excursions. The city is also a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with nearby hiking trails in the Green Mountains, skiing at Bolton Valley Resort, and kayaking or paddleboarding on the lake.

Burlington is home to the University of Vermont, which adds a vibrant energy to the city and contributes to its intellectual atmosphere. The city's public schools are part of the Burlington School District, known for their strong emphasis on experiential learning and community engagement. Burlington's economic makeup includes a mix of industries, with healthcare, education, and technology playing significant roles. Local businesses thrive in the city's supportive environment, and Burlington has a reputation for being an incubator for startups and small businesses. With its blend of scenic beauty, cultural vibrancy, and strong sense of community, Burlington offers a high quality of life for residents and a welcoming atmosphere for visitors exploring the best of Vermont.     


The University of Vermont is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other category legally protected by federal or state law.


ZRG is a global talent advisory firm that is changing the way companies hire and manage talent. ZRG’s data-driven approach to executive and professional search has been changing the way clients think about how to find top talent. The company’s digital Zi platform combines talent intelligence, candidate insights, and process improvement to dramatically deliver executive searches quicker and with proven better results.