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Capital Planning Manager

  • Industry: Facilities Management
  • Location: Illinois - Chicago
  • Client: Higher Education
  • Search ID: 19-0805-17

The University of Chicago, a repeat client, has retained Helbling to conduct an executive search to secure a Capital Planning Manager. 

General Summary

Under limited direction of the Assistant Vice President, Campus Planning + Sustainability, and in close coordination with the Assistant Vice President, Facilities Operations, the Capital Planning Manager serves as a resource to the department and the University community at large.  The Capital Planning Manager (Manager) is responsible for managing capital planning for the Facilities Service Department. The Manager is considered a working manager, in that he/she will be expected to provide technical support in addition to managing their own projects.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

  • Manage the annual capital planning process for the Facilities Services (FS) department, including capital alteration and repair projects for existing facilities, utility infrastructure projects, energy management projects, and campus environment enhancement projects.
  • Manage a facility inspection program, in partnership with FS Operations, to identify facility deficiencies, and to assign timeframes and cost estimates for deficiency corrections. 
  • Maintain and enhance the facility condition assessment (FCA) database capturing facility component information down to the building system level for lifecycle, reliability, compliance, regulatory, and optimization needs. Update annually with data from new inspections, compile annual escalation data, and track for completed projects.
  • Analyze data for strategic planning and funding. Prepare estimates, presentations, and reports as needed such as campus Facility Condition Index forecasting, campus investment needs, etc. Ensure that all stakeholders know how to access and use the collected data as it is intended. Interpret data from multiple application systems and compiling the data to report back findings to relevant stakeholders.
  • Coordinate the development of the annual FS capital budget project request from initial project identification and management of the prioritization process through submittal. Gain approval of the department’s Senior Leadership Team, and support the Senior Leadership Team in presentations to the Office of the Provost, CFO, the Budget Office, and the Executive Vice President. 
  • Manage the services of consultants to develop and deliver scope documents, schedules, and cost estimates for the projects to be included in the capital budget request in partnership with project managers in Capital Project Delivery.
  • Finalize FS annual capital request submittal in partnership with FS Finance and Business Services.
  • With input from all FS departments, develop a five (5) year capital plan.
  • Maintain a cost database to be utilized for estimating and budgeting; also maintain information on peer institutions’ benchmarking initiatives and local construction industry data sources.
  • Review capital planning processes to identify, coordinate, and implement process improvements.
  • Review FCA technical project data and scoring methodology to identify and implement improvements. 
  • Create links between the FCA database and Maximo (the University’s CMMS system) to cross-reference component level data.
  • Coordinate with units throughout the University to establish consistent methodologies and metrics for building condition assessments and reports.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • University Stewardship
  • Institutional Capacity 
  • Partnership & Collaboration
  • Performance & Execution
  • Communications

About The University of Chicago

The University of Chicago is one of the world's premier academic and research institutions.  It has driven new ways of thinking since its founding in 1890.  Today, The University of Chicago is an intellectual destination that draws inspired scholars to its Hyde Park and international campuses, keeping The University of Chicago at the nexus of ideas that challenge and change the world.

University of Chicago Facts:
  • 5,860 undergraduate students
  • 9,866 graduate, professional, and other students
  • 160,000 alumni worldwide
  • 2,274 full-time faculty
  • 7,164 staff
  • 49 majors and 40 minors in the undergraduate College
  • 5 divisions and 6 professional schools for graduate study
  • 99 Nobel Laureates
  • Located in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood near Lake Michigan
  • 217 acres; designated a botanic garden in 1997
  • Blend of traditional English Gothic and award-winning modern buildings designed by renowned architects
The University of Chicago is a vibrant community of people dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in education and research. One of the largest employers in the metropolitan area, the University employs 10,000 diverse and talented individuals who come to work at the University from all over the world. The University's location in the heart of an urban environment provides many cultural offerings, as well as opportunities to engage with the local community.

The campus is often described as an oasis in the middle of the City of Chicago, and the development of the campus as a botanic garden has certainly added to that notion.  Within the main quadrangles of the original campus, various gardens have been introduced throughout the years. The gardens have since spread throughout the 217-acre Hyde Park campus as new capital projects add to the variety of plant materials and garden spaces, and donor gardens enhance existing spaces. The initiative to develop the gardens was approved under the directive that whatever was installed needs to be maintained. Thus, the close partnership with the Landscape Services Department began and has developed over the years.


The Hyde Park community is rich in tradition, culturally diverse, and brimming with art, music, and entertainment opportunities. Hyde Park is a unique Chicago neighborhood.  Located on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan, Hyde Park is home to people of diverse backgrounds, perceptions, and pursuits. As a growing and changing community, Hyde Park is still deeply rooted in tradition. Ever-evolving, expanding, and alive with history, Hyde Park remains home to many lifelong residents.

Conveniently located on a beautiful park-like campus near Lake Michigan in the community of Hyde Park, The University of Chicago is one of the world's leading research universities, known for its internationally renowned researchers, scholars, and intellectual pioneers. Known as a "teacher of teachers,” the University also partners with local educational institutions to enhance educational opportunities for residents of all ages.

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  • Bachelor's degree in engineering, architecture, or related field. Or an equivalent combination of education and relevant experience required.


  • Minimum of ten (10) years of experience in design and construction, preparation of construction cost estimates, establishing and monitoring project budgets, value engineering, and project management or related activities. Or ten (10) years of experience in a leadership role in managing the operations and maintenance of a large, research intensive, higher education portfolio.

Technical Knowledge or Skills

  • Substantial knowledge of Microsoft Office, particularly Excel, PowerPoint, and database programs required.
  • Experience with data analytic and visualization tools (e.g., Tableau) preferred.
  • Demonstrated ability to understand project budgets throughout various phases of design, construction, and project delivery required.
  • Detailed understanding of building systems, plant operations and maintenance, construction practices, contracting procedures, building design methodologies, and code requirements preferred.
  • Strong problem solving, quantitative, and analytical skills required.  
  • Detail-orientation and ability to work independently and with individuals at all levels of an organization to accomplish assignments, improve operations, and meet objectives required.
  • Demonstrated ability to establish standards upon which collection of data are based/measured and to ensure that these standards are consistently met required.
  • Demonstrated management and organizational skills required.  In particular, ability to maintain accuracy and attention to detail in a fast-paced environment of changing priorities required.
  • Demonstrated oral and written communication skills appropriate to managing the flow of information in support of decision making at the highest management levels of a complex institutional organization preferred.
  • Demonstrated ability to integrate the detailed functional requirements of departmental user groups with the broader scope project goals of a complex institutional organization preferred.
  • Ability to direct the work of consultants required.   
  • Demonstrated ability to participate in and to lead team efforts that balance competing interests required.  
  • Ability to effectively interact, collaborate with, and convene Departmental staff, as well as campus and university-wide administrators required.
  • Ability to utilize principles of management to ensure responsibilities are met effectively and efficiently, including planning, controlling, leading, and organizing required.
  • Excellent customer service skills and ability to provide effective communication within and outside of the department required.
  • Ability to effectively interpret University and Departmental policies, procedures, and practices required.

Working Conditions and Physical Requirements

  • Ability to move around campus to inspect grounds and buildings.
  • Ability to physically tour and visually inspect all existing buildings, including mechanical spaces, penthouses, rooftops, etc.
  • Some travel may be required.   
  • Ability to inspect design plans, keyboarding, bending, stooping to reach files, light lifting, and standing.

Search Consultant: Rob Dible

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