Active Search

Director of Facilities Operations

  • Industry: Facilities Management
  • Location: New York - Hamilton
  • Client: Higher Education
  • Search ID: 18-1002-17

Helbling is representing Colgate University, a repeat client, in conducting an executive search for a Director of Facilities Operations. 


Reporting to the Associate Vice President for Facilities and Capital Projects, the Director of Facilities Operations’ primary accountabilities include the oversight of the facilities operations, including day-to-day facility services, budget, operational, personnel, and service management. Accountable for developing and implementing a strategic operational plan to ensure standards are met and improved upon, while being fiscally responsible with the available resources. Responsible for the oversight and coordination of budget development, analysis, and management.  This position will be responsible for acting in the absence of the AVP.    

Accountable for developing and monitoring benchmarks and key performance indicators for facilities operations, to include work control systems. Responsible for developing and providing transparent dashboards for monitoring such as financials, labor hours, overhead, supplies, expenses, and departmental billing. Implements operating and long-term capital planning and budgeting and monthly financial review and reporting. Responsible for forecasting, implementing and managing budget needs and expenditures, as well as, workforce planning for efficiencies and improvements, without compromising the services, history, and magnificence of the campus. Accountable for collaborating to develop standard operating procedures for cyclical processes and ensuring they are proactively implemented.  

Accountable for the oversight of the consistent and equitable management of facilities personnel.  Accountable for serving as the primary contact for human resources and union-related matters. Responsible for maintaining a collaborative and positive relationship with all facilities staff. Responsible for collaborating in identifying needs for onboarding and training, to include safety and professional development. Ensures staff work as a cohesive team and proactively execute work, in a timely, safe, and sustainable manner, within relevant university and regulatory guidelines. Accountable for ensuring that the staff provides a service to campus stakeholders that is courteous, responsive, and positive. Accountable for creating an environment where staff take pride and buy into the value they bring to the University. Accountable for providing continual assessment of services and ensures improvements are made to maintain regulatory and university standards. Accountable for following a collaborative approach with campus stakeholders and other facilities staff.  

Accountable for the oversight of the warehouse and effective management of facilities inventory, to include the development and implementation of a supply management system and operation standards. Ensures appropriate cost controls and management, levels of inventory, and vendor relationships. Oversight of audits to ensure compliance with accounting, management, operation, and university standards.    

Responsible for the effective supervision of staff as assigned. Ensures selection and hiring of high quality employees; ensures appropriate distribution of work assignments and high quality of employee work product; ensures fair and accurate performance assessments and feedback to include identifying areas for professional development and documenting and conducting disciplinary measures, as needed. Responsible for ensuring fair and accurate decisions regarding employment status (hire, promotion, salary increases, and termination); ensures the creation of effective opportunities and programs for employee mentoring, development, and sustained performance. Responsible for analyzing overtime pay and making necessary personnel adjustments.

About Colgate

Colgate is a distinctive, leading American university known for its intellectual rigor, world-class professors, campus of stunning beauty, and alumni who are famously loyal to their alma mater. Through its curriculum, the engagement of the faculty, and life on campus, Colgate challenges students to be enlightened thinkers and prepares them to be global citizens, who will thrive in life and in work.  Learning here, living here, and climbing the hill of our campus, you feel it; we are always ascending. Colgate is a university marked by a proud two-century history and shaped by its bold ambition.    

Colgate’s deep sense of place connects students, faculty, and staff in a vibrant living and learning community set against a naturally beautiful backdrop. There are 88 buildings, approximately 10 miles of roads and walkways, and an estimated 2,300 trees, with an additional 200 Bicentennial trees currently being added — all located on the 575-acre campus. Buildings date back as far as 1827, and two new residence halls are slated to open in the fall of 2019. The campus, with its carefully preserved architecture, immaculate grounds, and hillside locale is consistently named one of the most beautiful in the nation.  


Recently named one of the friendliest towns in America by Forbes magazine, Hamilton is located in the very heart of Central New York and the geographic center of New York State, on the southern border of Madison County. Nestled in the historic Chenango Valley, it offers an abundance of local charm in a picturesque setting. Two villages — the Village of Hamilton and the Village of Earlville — as well as the hamlets of Poolville, Hubbardsville, and East Hamilton are within the Town of Hamilton border, which covers 41 square miles and is home to 6,690 residents.

The Village of Hamilton, with a population of 4,239, is approximately 40 miles southeast of Syracuse and 30 miles southwest of Utica. A vibrant and quaint downtown area surrounds the Village Green with casual dining restaurants, cafés, specialty shops, a movie theater, performing arts center, natural health food store, Madison County’s first micro-brewery, a yoga/pilates studio, the historic Colgate Inn, and the Colgate University Bookstore. Recreation abounds in the area, thanks in part to nearly nine miles of trails along the former Ontario and Western Railroad right-of-way and Chenango Canal towpath. The village also supports Seven Oaks Golf Course (an award-winning Robert Trent Jones course), hiking trails, waterways, and breathtaking cycling and running routes.  

For more information, please visit:


  • Bachelor’s Degree with a minimum of five (5) years of progressively responsible leadership experience in complex physical plant services organization and/or building operational maintenance. 
  • Demonstration of superior skills in communication, leadership, management, planning and budgeting, data analysis, and reporting.
  • Experience in working with integrated work order management systems to improve tracking and closeout of work orders, decrease time to complete work orders, and improve level of customer service.  Experience analyzing and implementing work order management systems is preferred. A collaborative leadership style encouraging open communication, positive interpersonal relationships, and teamwork.
  • Ability to interact effectively with a diverse population.
  • Familiarity with current developments in facilities management and the ability to conscientiously seek out innovative and creative ways of delivering services.
  • Strong business acumen to enhance departmental efficiency and ability to track and share specific financial data related to facilities operations expenses. 
  • Proven leadership and managerial skills, well-developed planning skills, writing skills, and computer literacy.  
  • Experience in managing a warehouse and/or inventory.   
  • Must be a self-motivated individual who can work independently and in a team environment.
  • Valid driver’s license in accordance with Colgate’s MVR policy.
  • Master’s Degree in facilities management or relevant area.  
  • Experience working in a higher education setting. 
  • Experience in technical, maintenance operations, and compliance. 
  • Experience in working with a unionized workforce.

Technical Competencies

  • Strategy / Operations – Demonstrated ability to successfully create plans and prioritize, execute, and monitor strategic operational plans that focus on cost effectiveness, using technology. Demonstrated ability to translate strategic objectives into manageable projects. Demonstrated expertise with project management and scheduling software packages. Demonstrated ability to drive related improvements in institutional sustainability efforts to reduce Colgate University’s carbon footprint and achieve the goal of carbon neutrality.
  • Analytics/Operational Efficiencies – Demonstrated ability to use technology to monitor and improve operations. Demonstrated use if analytical / numerical thinking and trending, assessing, and measuring effectiveness in order to make effective decisions. Demonstrated data analysis skills (able to track, manipulate, and analyze data) and ability to identify patterns and trends and make recommendations for improvements.  
  • Union Contracts – Demonstrated detailed understanding of Colgate specific union agreements. Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively to create a positive work environment.   
  • Financial / Budget Management – Demonstrated ability to create and implement effective financial controls and invest resources prudently in the maintenance operations. Demonstrated knowledge to build, manage within and forecast capital and operational budgets.   
  • Contract / Vendor Management – Demonstrated ability to establish productive vendor relationships. Demonstrated ability to negotiate favorable contract terms and ensure vendors perform to expected standards. Demonstrated ability to manage the warehouse in an effective and efficient manner.   
  • Customer Service – Demonstrated ability to consistently create positive interactions with stakeholders around campus and in the community. Demonstrated ability to accurately gather and implement stakeholder requirements.   
  • Managerial Skills – Demonstrated knowledge of Colgate managerial processes and requirements, to include:
    • Demonstrated ability to fairly and accurately assess employee performance in accordance with university practices. 
    • Demonstrated understanding of federal and state regulations, as well as university policies and guidelines related to human resources sufficient to effectively select new employees, recommend pay actions, determine employment status, and initiate or approve employee changes in status.   
    • Demonstrated ability to select, develop, and retain high performing work teams.
    • Demonstrated skill in the development of employee skills, performance, and behaviors. 
    • Demonstrated ability to effectively coach and communicate with employees on issues of pay, performance, and development. 
    • Demonstrated ability to consistently identify, hire and retain high performing employees.

Behavioral Competencies

  • Personal Accountability for Results - Takes responsibility for decisions, performance, and outcomes; behaves in a responsible manner with a positive attitude; shows self-awareness and openness to feedback.
  • Effective Communication - Demonstrates effective written and oral communication skills; shares information and seeks input from others; adapts communication to diverse audiences; protects private and confidential information.
  • Problem Solving and Decision Making - Analyzes and prioritizes situations to identify and solve problems; generates solutions to improve efficiency and quality; involves others in solving problems and making decisions; factors organizational goals into decisions; makes clear, transparent, and timely decisions.
  • Change Management - Responds positively to changing university initiatives and readily adapts behavior to maintain effective performance; understands the long-term direction of the university and can relate this to departmental area; adapts to new methodologies; identifies and acts on areas where change is appropriate.
  • Leadership and Teamwork - Applies skills and knowledge to provide a climate to achieve departmental and organizational success; balances individual and department goals; helps others perform at their best; builds productive relationships to enhance individual and organizational effectiveness; treats others with respect; resolves conflicts among team members.
  • Creativity and Innovation - Generates, explores, encourages, and implements innovative ways of creating strategic value for the university, division, department, and individual level; critically assesses the effectiveness of new initiatives.
  • Diversity and Inclusion - Demonstrates respect for people and their differences; understands the benefits of a diverse workforce; earns the trust and respect of others; includes and welcomes others; works to understand the perspective of others; promotes opportunities to experience diversity within our community.
  • Sustainability - Understands the impact of decision-making and personal behavior in achieving the university’s commitment to a sustainable and carbon neutral campus; supports and advances the university’s sustainability initiatives; influences others to use sustainable practices.

Search Consultant:  Rob Dible

Submit Resume

Subscribe to Helbling's eNewsletters & Search Alerts