Associate Vice President for Facilities Services

Industry: Facilities Management
Location: Illinois - Chicago
Sector: Higher Education
Search ID: 22-0704-07
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Joseph F. Wargo
Joseph F. Wargo
Richard T. Nawoczynski
Richard T. Nawoczynski


The University of Chicago has retained Helbling to conduct an executive search to secure an Associate Vice President for Facilities Services.

Job Summary

The University of Chicago is seeking an Associate Vice President for Facilities Services to provide strategic direction and planning for the stewardship of the University’s 217-acre campus comprised of 170 buildings with 18 million gross square feet of space in addition to other domestic and international sites. Reporting to the Executive Vice President, the Associate Vice President for Facilities Services will lead a staff of approximately 300 responsible for supporting the academic mission of the campus through securing and maintaining the viability and integrity of the physical campus via: capital project delivery; facilities operations; finance and business services; and campus planning and sustainability.

For more details about this opportunity, please view the position profile by clicking on the cover image to the right.


  • Foster effective communication, collaboration, and inclusiveness within the Facilities Services organization while serving as a staff advocate who supports high quality, innovative programs to attract, develop, motivate, and retain a diverse workforce. Effectively oversee the full range of unit activities and services and capably lead the senior management team in fulfilment of the unit’s objectives.
  • Deliver high quality construction and renovation projects on schedule and within budget. Provide University leadership and the Board of Trustees with grounds for high confidence that the University of Chicago has appropriately managed risk and obtained the best possible solutions at the lowest lifetime cost that achieves program, urban and environmental goals. Provide clear, transparent reporting on capital activity.
  • Strengthen working relationships between Facilities Services and the campus community (faculty, students, and staff) while achieving enhanced credibility and trust within and between the unit and the University of Chicago community. Communicate goals, priorities, and plans to internal facilities personnel and to the campus community that allows for open dialogue to review and adjust when necessary. Ensure a high standard of transparency in decision making.
  • Oversee the analysis, development, implementation, and monitoring of all facilities budgets including operations, maintenance, and capital project budgets, ensuring that the unit is delivering services in the most cost-appropriate and transparent way. Deliver on Facilities Services budget targets and agreed financial performance objectives.
  • Leverage knowledge, technology, and process management to continually increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the facilities organization. Introduce appropriate innovative approaches and techniques to build on the University of Chicago’s existing assets. Maximize flexibility and responsiveness for all operations and services and foster a strong commitment to customer service through the entire unit.
  • Facilitate continuing long-term planning to ensure that campus renewal meets the evolving needs of the institution and remains fully aligned with the strategic direction of the University. Demonstrate commitment to resource stewardship from both an economic and sustainability perspective. Lead and support sustainability objectives in both operating and capital programs.
  • Serve as a politically astute spokesperson and leader for the University on physical planning, development, construction, and facilities / operations issues. Develop and maintain a positive relationship with senior leadership, program stakeholders such as deans and the Office of the Provost, partners such as the University Architect and Commercial Real Estate Office, the University community, unions, and government agencies.


Chicago, IL



  • Minimum 8 years’ experience in facilities leadership at large academic, healthcare, corporate, civic, government, or construction organizations required.
  • Well-rounded experience and knowledge for managing facilities services and personnel required.
  • Facilities leadership in operations and construction management, including experience having direct oversight of capital project delivery, required.
  • Demonstrated excellence in managing budgets and finances for capital projects and capital investments.
  • Expertise in managing the prioritization of maintenance projects, process improvement, cost control, risk reduction and insurance engineering, energy conservation and planning, sustainable buildings, and practices, change management, and cultural transformation required.
  • Experience leading the development of people and culture through diversity, equity, and inclusion, performance metrics, and professional development programming.
  • Successful primary responsibility for construction management on large-scale building and site development projects of various building types preferred.
  • Deep knowledge of facilities and environmental planning and design preferred.
  • Facilities leadership at a major research university and/or oversight of construction of a major scientific research facility preferred.
  • Experience working in a unionized environment preferred


  • Insightful developer and motivator of a high-caliber, diverse leadership team.
  • Thoughtful decision-maker, giving importance to data and diversity.
  • Energetic, inspiring high performance in others.
  • Collaborative, working in partnership with other campus leaders, units, and project stakeholders.
  • Communicative and effective in aligning partners and staff to a plan.
  • Elevated level of personal integrity, ethics, initiative, and emotional intelligence.
  • Commitment to creating economic opportunity on all construction projects for women and minorities in the City of Chicago and its South Side.
  • Highly effective negotiator.
  • Engaging and inclusive leader, continuously seeking ideas and input from others.


  • Bachelor’s degree required 
  • Master’s degree preferred
The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

The University seeks a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.
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