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Director of Building Services

  • Industry: Facilities Management
  • Location: New Jersey - Princeton
  • Client: Higher Education
  • Search ID: 19-0304-11

Helbling has been retained by Princeton University to conduct an executive search to secure a Director of Building Services.

Princeton University is seeking a talented individual to join the institution as Director of Building Services. Founded in 1746 in Elizabeth as the College of New Jersey, Princeton is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. Princeton’s faculty are world-renowned scholars and teachers inspired by their research and driven to help all students grow as thinkers. From 2001 to 2018, Princeton University was ranked either first or second among national universities by U.S. News & World Report, holding the top spot for 16 of those 18 years. 65 Nobel laureates, 15 Fields Medalists and 13 Turing Award laureates have been affiliated with Princeton University as alumni, faculty members or researchers. In addition, Princeton has been associated with 21 National Medal of Science winners, 5 Abel Prize winners, 5 National Humanities Medal recipients, 209 Rhodes Scholars, 139 Gates Cambridge Scholars and 126 Marshall Scholars. 

The Princeton University campus consists of approximately 11 million gross SF of space in 200 buildings that include residential, administrative, athletic, library, dining, classroom, and research space.  The annual operating budget is $21M. There are approximately 290 employees, most of whom are union.  In addition to the large-scale custodial operation, Building Services supports a large number of events per year with equipment delivery, setup, and breakdown. The sanitation function handles approximately 5,000 tons per year, plus regulatory waste streams and University Resource Recovery.

Under the direction of the Facilities Organization’s Assistant Vice President of Operations, and working collaboratively with the campus community, the Director of Building Services is responsible for providing custodial, moving and storage, surplus, event support, pest control, waste handling, and snow / ice removal services to the campus. The Director is to set the strategic direction for the group, as well as ensure the group’s operational components are performing effectively and efficiently. Additional functions include labor relations, implementation of training, financial responsibility for both operating budget and capital funds, quality control, and special projects as assigned by Facilities’ leadership. 

The position oversees six (6) managerial staff: one assistant director, three custodial managers, one logistics manager, a recycling / waste manager, and a training / special projects manager. The position oversees fifteen (15) supervisory staff.

The ideal candidate will have exceptionally strong management skills, strategic vision, and the emotional intelligence to lead the organization through a transformation that will enhance the effectiveness, efficiency and technology utilization of the department. (S)he will identify and implement best practices for the department and develop metrics to evaluate and manage performance as well as bringing innovation and emerging trends to the department. This department is the leading edge for both facilities maintenance and sustainability. The position interfaces with a number of high-level individuals across the campuses and leads in a highly professional and collaborative setting.

Minimum Qualifications

1. Education / Experience – Bachelor’s degree plus at least seven (7) years of leadership experience within a commercial / institutional facilities management or custodial management environment.  

2. Knowledge of Custodial Function – Thorough knowledge of methods associated with commercial / institutional custodial function. Thorough knowledge of safety regulations and safe work practices associated with custodial function.  Literacy with sustainability initiatives and efforts. 

3. Collective Bargaining Agreement – Experience administering a collective bargaining agreement.

4. Financial Management – Experience managing an annual operating budget of at least five (5) million dollars.

5. Communication and Analytical Skills – Ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing, to a diverse audience, and possess a knowledge of appropriate escalation protocols. Highly developed analytical skills. Strong business acumen. 

6. Customer Service Skills – Understanding of modern customer service theories, practices and methods, and how to apply them.

7. Managerial Complexity – Ability to successfully handle multiple tasks at once, and be able to determine appropriate priorities. Must be able to make independent interpretations and decisions that are in the best interest of the organization, and that are consistent with the objectives of senior-leadership.  

8. Computer Skills – Must be proficient in the use of business application software. Must be familiar with the use of a computerized maintenance-management software program.

9. After-Hour Emergency Response – Must be able to respond to emergencies and incidents after normal business hours, as needed, and on short notice.

10. Essential Personnel – Must be able to function in an essential personnel role, which may include an extended on-campus presence during local, regional, or national emergencies.

11. Driver’s License / Background Check – Must have a valid driver’s license and pass a background check.

Search Consultant: Ryan Pugh
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