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Associate Vice President, Facilities & Construction

  • Industry: Facilities Management
  • Location: Illinois - Chicago
  • Client: Higher Education
  • Search ID: 19-0503-10

Columbia College Chicago has retained Helbling to conduct an executive search to secure an Associate Vice President Facilities & Construction (AVP). 

Position Summary

Reporting to the Senior Vice President of Business Affairs / CFO, the AVP leads a team of 32 full-time employees (FTE) and is responsible for the comprehensive planning and management of all physical facilities of the College, and serves as an advisor to the President’s cabinet on such matters. The AVP directs the overall administration; planning; design; construction; operation and development; care and upkeep of all college physical facilities. The position manages employees and contractors and works collaboratively with various departments and administrators. The annual facilites budget is approximately $10.5M. The campus includes 15 buildings and approximately 1.35M SF of space under roof. 

Duties & Responsibilities

Policy and Planning
  • Provides leadership, guidance, and direction in evaluating and meeting the physical facilities needs of the College. 
  • Establishes policies for and provides leadership of key departments and functions, including facilities engineering, operations and maintenance, energy consumption and conservation, facilities space planning and utilization, sustainability, real estate management, campus master planning, infrastructure planning, and construction management. 
  • Manages capital budget priorities, working closely with deans and executive officers. 
  • Manages and coordinates the development of intra-departmental processes designed to ensure the facility renewal and modernization needs of the College’s various academic departments and staff units are integrated into Columbia’s annual capital plans. 
  • Leads and coordinates the development of a five-year capital plan for large projects, develops project plans, justification, and cost estimates for integration into the overall capital plan and presentation to the College’s senior leadership and the Board of Trustees. 
  • Advises administration regarding space allocation policy and decisions. 
  • Advises the College’s administration on the funding needs to adequately maintain the physical facilities of the institution, and assists the administration in the allocation of fiscal resources for various capital improvement and maintenance projects on the campus. 
  • Oversees the maintenance, operations, and housekeeping of all facilities and grounds and utility systems. 
  • Manages complex projects involving active and proposed capital projects from conception to completion. 
  • Implements strategies for continuous improvement of campus infrastructure, systems, operations, and energy conservation. 
  • Establishes and implements short- and long-range organizational goals, objectives, policies, and operating procedures; monitors and evaluates program effectiveness; implements changes required for improvement. 
  • Designs, establishes, and maintains staffing and organizational structure to effectively accomplish the functions of Facilities and Construction Operations; recruits, employs, supervises, and evaluates departmental staff; directs implementation of management development skills and safety training. 
  • Develops and manages annual operating budgets for the organization and performs periodic cost and productivity analyses. 
  • Provides administrative oversight of all capital outlay for all expenditures related to design/construction projects. 
  • Supervises the selection, assignment and activities of external architects, engineers, planners and consultants as required in planning, construction, remodeling, and renovation of physical facilities. 
Liaison and Representation
  • Represents the College in high-level negotiations with state, city, and county officials concerning state and city agency oversight, real estate transactions, zoning, jurisdictional matters, and construction issues. 
  • Provides leadership and direction in all aspects of administering a strong program of communicating with the campus community that emphasizes customer service and client involvement. 
  • Perform other duties as assigned. 

About Columbia College Chicago

Founded in 1890, Columbia College Chicago is a private, not-for-profit liberal arts college for creatives, serving nearly 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students.  Its curriculum blends a liberal arts core with major programs of study in a range of creative fields.  Located in downtown Chicago’s South Loop, the college is centered in one of the world's most lively urban cultural areas.  Its many competitive advantages include its strong reputation in the creative industries, outstanding faculty and passionate students, impressive technological and physical resources, and a sincere commitment to bringing diverse voices and experiences into close proximity with each other to shape new forms of creative practice. 

The College is entering the fifth year of implementation of its five-year strategic plan under which the College has rewritten its curriculum; conducted an extensive review of faculty qualifications and solidified the post-tenure review process; strengthened its student support services; upgraded its physical and technological resources; reorganized and strengthened its enrollment management function; and continued to build a robust financial foundation for the future.  The institution is six years into a transition from being an open-access institution to a moderately selective one that successfully marries student access with student success.  

  • Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, Business, Capital Facilities Management and Operations, or related field.
  • Ten (10) years of progressively responsible administrative experience in a large, complex organization, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • An understanding of a college and complex organizational settings.
  • Demonstrated skills in effective management and team building. 
  • Strong management and organizational skills. 
  • Excellent analytical and communications skills (both oral and written). 
  • Demonstrated capabilities in planning, budgeting, and management in the facilities area. 
  • High degree of motivation and interest in serving the needs of the organization. 
  • Ability to communicate effectively at all levels. 
  • Ability to lead and motivate staff, and manage personnel matters. 
  • Ability to provide superb customer service as a model representative for department and college. 
  • Vested interest in promoting the professional development, growth, and morale of Facilities and Construction employees.
  • Ability to analyze problems, and trouble-shoot and identify alternative solutions.

To ensure consideration, please include a cover letter, salary requirements, and three professional references in your submission.

Position subject to a background screening. This is a non-union position. Qualified candidates of diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Search Consultants: Alex Kumnik and Marc Datz

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