Director of Facilities & Preservation

Industry: Facilities Management
Location: Washington, DC
Sector: Cultural/Non-Profit
Search ID: 19-0901-16
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Wendy Zang
Wendy Zang

Washington National Cathedral (WNC) has retained Helbling to conduct an executive search to secure a Director of Facilities & Preservation.  

Director Job Summary 

Reporting directly to the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), the Director of Facilities & Preservation is responsible for maintenance, engineering, and processes/procedures related to the planning, budgeting, approval, contracting, design, fabrication, preservation, and documentation of building projects and ongoing maintenance for all 10 properties of which WNC is steward, including: Washington National Cathedral, Administration Building, Cathedral Library, Cathedral College, Sayre House, Old Baptistery, Church House, Bus Garage, and two residential cottages. The Director cultivates and maintains cooperative and effective relationships with the campus facilities team, trade groups, outside vendors, and other stakeholders to fulfill maintenance requests, preservation, and special projects related to Cathedral property. The Director also oversees all other preservation & facilities-related matters in accordance with approved budgets, and reports regularly to Cathedral Chapter and associated committees. While the Director is a leadership position, the ideal candidate should be willing and able to be hands-on in order to solve daily facilities and preservation challenges. The expectations for the Director are both broad and deep, and the position requires a stakeholder and mission-first mentality and minimal ego or agenda.  

The Cathedral and adjacent institutions are establishing in-house facilities teams, effective January 1, 2020. (Previously a significant portion of the facilities maintenance function was centralized and shared across all institutions). A primary initial responsibility of the Director will be to further establish a cohesive, effective facilities team, including scheduling of staff, developing ongoing maintenance programs, and rolling out the new facilities management software (Dude Solutions, Maintenance Direct, and PM Direct). This reorganization will provide the new Director an opportunity to make a significant immediate and longer-term impact on the future of the Facilities and Preservation function, culture, and goals at the WNC.  

Duties and Responsibilities

Facilities Operations & Maintenance
  • Develops, coordinates, implements, and oversees a comprehensive preventative and deferred maintenance program for Cathedral and associated buildings, consistent with approved budgets, and coordinate implementation of regular facilities maintenance schedules with assistance from Facilities Manager.
  • Monitors the effective and efficient operations of mechanical and electrical systems, domestic water, emergency power, fire protection, air conditioning, heating and refrigeration systems. Also monitors chilled water, gas, and electrical power. Provides recommendations based upon thorough analysis, modeling, life cycle cost analysis, and estimating for operational strategies to maximize efficiency.
  • Serves as first point of contact for facilities emergencies during regular working hours and after hours. Coordinates responses to emergencies and directs Cathedral Facilities Team staff to address the emergencies as required. Coordinates standing response team schedule so that Cathedral is supported at all times during the week and on the weekends.
  • Develops and establishes specific policies and procedures to ensure safe and efficient facilities operations of the Cathedral and its ancillary buildings, while maintaining the aesthetic integrity of the Cathedral fabric, in coordination with the Facilities Manager.
  • Schedules cyclical assessment surveys of building fabric including masonry, stained glass, woodwork, etc. in coordination with Head Stone Mason and Preservation Manager.  
  • Supervises staff that address mechanical, EMS, electrical, carpentry and general maintenance support to achieve maximum equipment uptime, continuous improvements in the areas of response time to service calls, call back reduction, and general customer satisfaction.  
  • Oversees all inspections related to DC Fire Marshall. Ensures that all occupancy permits are in place, properly filed, and buildings are in code compliance.
  • Works closely with Cathedral Facilities Team to ensure regularly scheduled maintenance is performed, identifying needed repairs, organizing projects by priority and trade, and staying current with work order requests. Develops and manages Cathedral facilities and property maintenance operations, staying abreast of best business practices and industry standards.  
  • Supports Cathedral COO with leasing arrangements and agreements as it relates to the 10 Cathedral properties.
Preservation, Planning, Design, and Project Management
  • Develops a prioritized projects list with estimated costs; works with CFO and Cathedral Chapter committees (Facilities, Finance, and Development) to develop a long-term strategy for funding and implementing projects related to Earthquake Repairs, Fire and Life Safety Upgrades, Deferred Maintenance Projects, Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing Systems, Priority Preservation Projects, and other areas as identified.
  • Serves as lead project manager for all major construction projects, including earthquake-related repair projects, building mechanical/electrical/plumbing systems upgrades, overseeing the contracting, ongoing management of vendors and contractors, finances, and tracking of available funding in collaboration with the Facilities Manager, Head Stone Mason, Preservation Manager, and Cathedral Finance department.
  • Oversees Cathedral Head Stone Mason and Cathedral Carpenter while directing the coordination of projects, timing, and implementation.
  • Works closely with Communications Department to support conveying out information regarding capital projects via such venues as articles in Cathedral Age, news media, website, videos.
Technical Leadership/Advisory, Financial Management, and Customer Service
  • Serves as Cathedral Facilities primary in-house source of technical advice and consultation on all operations, maintenance, planning, design, construction, and preservation issues. Provides recommendations based upon thorough analysis, modeling, life cycle cost analysis, and estimating for operational strategies to maximize efficiency.
  • Negotiates, in partnership with the CFO, all contractual services for Cathedral buildings. Monitors and adheres to deadlines, shifts workload based on priority demands, resolves problems, and analyzes budget implications. Contractual agreements may include building improvements contracts, as well as service agreements (such as elevator maintenance, etc.). 
  • Manages annual operating budget for the Cathedral specific to facilities operation expenses and related departments, monitors on a regular basis with Cathedral Finance Department, and makes adjustments to stay within budget.
  • Serves as the Cathedral’s primary point of contact on facilities related matters and key strategist regarding the impact of maintenance, repairs, and renovations to the Cathedral and associated buildings.
  • Serves as primary point of contact for Presidential Funeral and similar security sweeps, building support, and overall building specific logistics for such events.
  • Maintains a strong organizational team to accomplish the department’s goals and objectives. Recruits, evaluates, trains, and supervises staff.  
  • Oversees the roll out of a new facilities task order program (Dude Solutions, Maintenance Direct, and PM Direct), ensuring that staff are trained, and building assets are loaded into the system.
  • Works closely with Event Management and Worship departments to ensure that building systems can fully support regular and specialty needs of events and worship services without interruption.
  • Attends facilities-related meetings of Cathedral Chapter committees. Serves as primary staff point of contact for the Facilities and Fine Arts Committee with support from the Preservation Manager.
About the Washington National Cathedral

The Washington National Cathedral is the sixth largest cathedral in the world and the second largest in the United States. The Cathedral was completed 83 years to the day after it was begun (September 29, 1907–September 29, 1990), and the first tract of land for the Cathedral site (30 acres) was purchased in 1898 for $245,000. From its 112 gargoyles to the 215 stained glass windows, the Cathedral features a dizzying array of whimsy and wonder enjoyed by visitors from all over the world. Based on a study and survey of "America's Favorite Architecture," The American Institue of Architects (AIA) ranked the Washington National Cathedral as #3, only behind the Empire State Building and the White House.  

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Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Strong technical background, including the ability to review and comment on plans and specifications. Ability to read, analyze, and interpret construction documents and drawings, technical procedures, and regulations.
  • Experience in budget preparation, execution, and management.
  • Demonstrated experience in the areas of contracting for services and ongoing contractor management. Experience with preservation activities preferred.   
  • Demonstrated experience with identifying and implementing cost reduction strategies, including analysis and implementation of energy efficiency projects. 
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills. Outstanding interpersonal and community relations skills with the ability to work effectively within a diverse community; ability to prepare and present briefings, and to interact comfortably at the executive and Chapter level.
  • Excellent organizational and planning skills, with the ability to prepare complex reports, project summaries, project estimates, presentations, and correspondence, and to maintain accurate records.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a collaborative, collegial environment. Ability to foster a cooperative work environment that supports interaction of staff, volunteers, contractors, and executives. Ability to resolve conflicts with subordinates, superiors, and peers in a professional and participative manner.
  • Ability to assess and prioritize work based on critical systems and equipment requirements, resource availability, and customer satisfaction.
  • CFM certification and/or RPA certification highly preferred.  
  • Strong computer skills; proficiency in Microsoft Office, especially Excel and PowerPoint.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, Architecture, Construction Management, Facilities Management, or a related field.
  • Professional engineering or architectural license preferred but not required.
  • At least ten (10) years of work experience in the management of complex facilities, with good working knowledge of mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems, facilities operations, customer service, deep project management experience, and supervisory/management abilities.
  • Experience planning and executing capital improvement programs.

Working Conditions

  • This position requires occasional work outside normal business hours as required.
  • This position requires frequent climbing of scaffolding and access to areas that are designated as service access only.
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