Assistant Director of Design & Construction

Industry: Facilities Management
Location: Rhode Island - Providence
Sector: Higher Education
Search ID: 19-0702-17
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Robert H. Dible
Robert H. Dible

Brown University, a repeat client, has retained Helbling to conduct an executive search to secure an Assistant Director of Design & Construction. 

Position Summary / Essential Job Functions 

The Planning Design & Construction (PD&C) group oversees approximately 100 to 150 projects annually with an average total volume of $100M to $150M, which vary widely in type, complexity, duration, value and overall scope. The Assistant Director of Design & Construction (AD) reports directly to the Director, Design & Construction and assists in overall departmental management and departmental leadership. The AD is responsible for direct oversight and management of staff, stakeholders, resources, and processes associated with a large volume of multi-disciplined project work amounting to between 75 and 100 projects within that portfolio, including capital work ($5M to $20M), academic and administrative space renovations ($3M to $5M), renewal ($10M to $20M), as well as utilities and infrastructure upgrades ($5M to $15M). 


  1. 30% – Assists the Director of Design & Construction with oversight of PD&C’s diverse project portfolio. The AD is responsible for supervising all associated project management activities and requirements within their assigned management portfolio. The AD ensures all necessary tools and resources are in place, and that department processes and practices are successfully implemented so the University’s established goals and objectives are achieved on the various multi-discipline projects and programs.
  2. 30% – Works closely and pro-actively with project teams, to ensure project scope, budget and schedule, as well as project delivery requirements are well managed and maintained. Effectively and collaboratively interfaces with stakeholders, customers, and senior administration to understand and prioritize goals and needs, as well as understand and proactively resolve issues.
  3. 10% – Establishes and maintains effective working relationships with a variety of personalities, including staff and clients, regulatory agencies, designers, contractors, and senior administration. Maintains a positive department image; high level of coordination with stakeholders, customers, and the Brown community; and overall successful outcomes across the portfolio of project work.
  4. 10% – Effectively monitors and consistently reports the status of associated projects, staff, and resources. Uses problem solving and pro-active management skills to effectively and successfully address varying and dynamic priorities and needs within the assigned oversight portfolio.
  5. 20% – As the primary contact for renewal and emergency projects, as well as the primary liaison with Operations staff, the AD identifies critical coordination points to avoid conflicts between multiple projects, ensure compliance with the University Master Plan, and lead the response to emerging issues and concerns in an efficient and proactive manner.

About Brown

Located in historic Providence, Rhode Island and founded in 1764, Brown University is the seventh-oldest college in the United States. Brown is an independent, coeducational Ivy League institution comprising undergraduate and graduate programs, plus the Alpert Medical School, School of Public Health, School of Engineering, and the School of Professional Studies. With its talented and motivated student body and accomplished faculty, Brown is a leading research university that maintains a particular commitment to exceptional undergraduate instruction.

Brown’s vibrant, diverse community consists of about 6,580 undergraduates; 2,255 graduate students; 545 medical school students; more than 6,000 summer, visiting, and online students; and more than 700 faculty members. Brown students come from all 50 states and more than 115 countries.

Brown is frequently recognized for its global reach, many cultural events, numerous campus groups and activities, active community service programs, highly competitive athletics, and beautiful facilities located in a richly historic urban setting.

Helpful Links

  • Bachelor’s degree in architecture, engineering, project management or a related field.  A broad understanding of building envelope systems, building mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire alarm systems, building finishes, and site utilities is required.
  • Ten (10) years of progressively responsible experience with multi-discipline project / program management experience including experience in supervision of employees including training, organizing, prioritizing, and scheduling work assignments.
  • Advanced knowledge of project management delivery practices, schedule, and budget management.
  • Ability to direct and converse technically with construction professionals regarding all aspects of building planning, design, and construction.
  • Advanced customer service, communication, and presentation skills, including written communications.
  • Demonstrated ability to negotiate and navigate in a complex, collaborative environment, as well as build effective working relationships and foster a cooperative work environment.
  • Ability to problem solve, and work effectively to address varying and dynamic priorities, use good judgment, and provide exceptional leadership.
  • Ability to direct and organize program activities and to establish program goals and objectives that support a strategic plan.
  • Skill in examining and re-engineering operations and procedures, formulating policy, and developing and implementing effective strategies, procedures, and programs.
  • Ability to make effective administrative / procedural decisions and judgments.
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