Director of Facility Operations

Industry: Facilities Management
Location: Ohio - Gambier
Sector: Higher Education
Search ID: 21-0903-05
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Kevin M. Cushin
Kevin M. Cushin
Marc K. Datz
Marc K. Datz


Kenyon College has retained Helbling to conduct an executive search to secure a Director of Facility Operations.

Position Summary

Reporting to the Vice President for Facilities, Planning and Sustainability (VP-FPS), the Director of Facility Operations is responsible for planning, organizing, coordinating, directing, and controlling all physical plant functions; coordinating with other college employees in administering college fire and safety programs; and ensuring that all OSHA, EPA, and Ohio Building Codes are met for campus buildings and grounds environments. The position is responsible for all physical plant budgets, supervision of physical plant personnel, facilities remodeling, repair, and maintenance, housekeeping and support services, and systematic inspection along with the planning and repairs of facilities, equipment, and grounds.

Normal work hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and on evenings and weekends as needed for special events.

For more details about this opportunity, please view the position profile by clicking on the image above.

Essential Functions

  • Supervise building, grounds, and custodial personnel, as well as contractors or other specifically hired individuals to perform work for the College.
  • Work with and through the Middle Path Partnership between the college and its two Facilities unions, to identify, establish, and track metrics for the department’s performance.
  • Work with VP-FPS, direct reports, and Middle Path Partnership committees to ensure employees’ understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) principles and practices in support of College goals; partner with VP-FPS and the College’s Office of DEI to determine long-term departmental plans, performance indicators, and objectives.
  • Oversee the administration of utilities, design, and construction renovations, as well as administration of contracts for equipment and services for new facilities.
  • Evaluate and ensure the efficient operation of the maintenance department.  
  • Control operational expenses and review allocated funding for appropriate distribution.
  • Provide administrative and technical direction for supervisors, managers, and office personnel for completion of work assignments.
  • Advise, discuss, and inform senior administration, college officials, deans, department heads, and staff members of issues with physical plant or problem areas on campus.
  • Ensure proper upkeep of facilities including: heating, ventilation, plumbing, electrical, trash and recycling, and general appearance of buildings and grounds.
  • Review preventive maintenance program and update as needed to ensure building systems and operational procedures are appropriate.
  • Coordinate and collaborate with the Director of Project Planning and Management and VP-FPS to ensure new construction, major renovation projects, and other projects are completed effectively.
  • Coordinate purchase of necessary supplies, equipment, and services from appropriate sources and maintain inventory control of central storage.
  • Maintain repository for all plant blueprints and drawings in a central location and control updates by hard copy or electronic copy.
  • Assist Director of Campus Safety in the maintenance of adequate fire, security, insurance, health, and other related campus programs.
  • Develop or assure training programs are sufficient for maintenance employees that need them or are required to maintain credentialing essential to job function.
  • Represent the College to prepare, develop and negotiate with various Unions for Union/Management contracts.
  • Maintain sufficient records, files, documents, and control procedures to ensure appropriate management of work by the maintenance teams.
  • Other duties as assigned by Administration or the VP-FPS.

Other Functions

  • Assist with College campus events as requested by Administration.
  • Temporarily assume role of subordinate managers during vacations or extended leaves of absence.
  • Ability to read chemical labels and MSDS.
  • Demonstrated strong ability in oral and written communications.
  • Act as Project Manager for projects and initiatives as assigned by VP-FPS.
  • Attend APPA and Ohio-5 or other similar training opportunities to enhance skill set.
  • Assist with or participate in the work of department or College organized committees.
  • Maintain and nurture relationships with local communities and community leaders when required.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities & Success Factors

  • Skill and experience in goal setting and objectives, leading and supervising staff, and measuring performance; strong analytic and decision-making skills.
    • Judgment: Ability to make sound decisions under time constraints.
    • Assertiveness: Results-oriented, high personal energy level and initiative, self-starter.
    • Interpersonal: Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships, good sense of humor, open-minded, independent worker but also team player.
    • Creativity: Ability to recognize and implement new methods, adaptable to the changing needs of the office, and ability to establish innovative procedures.
    • Strong organizational skills.
    • Proven ability to do successful long- and short-range planning.
  • Communication
    • Listen attentively and respectfully.
    • Give feedback directly and honestly.
    • Talk with others to clarify differences.
    • Be comfortable with “productive disagreement” that can lead to winning solutions.
    • Engage and incorporate input from the team when making decisions.
    • Interact effectively with students, faculty, and administration.
  • Create a healthy work environment.
    • Treat others respectfully.
    • Take responsibility for your own actions, behaviors, and attitudes.
    • Manage conflict by identifying solutions or seeking guidance as necessary.
  • Knowledge in maintenance repairs to HVAC and Building systems including building automation systems (B.A.S.), pumps, fans, chillers, refrigeration, plumbing, steam and condensate return, and power transmission.
  • Understand energy management and equipment controls strategies to achieve maximum energy efficiency for buildings and operational systems.
  • Support the College’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2040.
  • Knowledge of safe work practices, standards, and hazard analysis to include management of hot work permits, confined space entry, lock-out tag-out procedures, hazard communication, elevator safety, fire safety, indoor air quality, and applicable industry codes and standards for routine maintenance operations.
  • Ability to read blueprints, drawings, and specification documents for construction.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office products as related to the work and office environment.

Supervisory Responsibilities

  • Personnel Supervised: Grounds Manager, Manager of Building Trades, Manager of Facility Services, Housekeeping Manager, Manager of Technical Trades, Facility Logistic Manager, Facility Logistic Coordinator, Administrative Assistant to the Director of Facility Operations, or other personnel as designated by the VP-FPS.
  • Assign work orders, review status of preventative maintenance work, initiate reports from the work order system, coordinate with the work order clerk or dispatcher to assure completion, asset management, and ensure time charges are appropriate.
  • Utilize computer systems and technology for managing the Buildings and Grounds operations as they become available.

About Kenyon College

Kenyon College is one of the nation’s finest liberal arts colleges, a small school where academic excellence goes hand in hand with a strong sense of community. Founded in 1824, Kenyon is the oldest private college in Ohio. The small college originally educated all-male clergymen for frontier America, but its literary prominence dates to 1939, when the Kenyon Review was founded. Since then, Kenyon has grown in size—welcoming women in 1969—and has expanded intellectually, earning national recognition in many fields. Well-known alumni include not only U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes and iconic actor and philanthropist Paul Newman, but a host of eminent writers, actors, scientists, educators, artists, and leaders in business and the professions.  

Kenyon brings together 1,800 young men and women to study with nearly 200 professors on an exceptionally beautiful hilltop campus in central Ohio. Kenyon welcomes curiosity, creativity, intellectual ambition, and an openness to new ideas. The Kenyon experience fosters connections of all kinds—to classmates and teachers and friends, to the life of the mind, to global perspectives, to unique traditions and history, and to a place of inspiration.


Kenyon College is located in Gambier, OH, a small village of 600 people. Founded at the same time as the College, the village was named after an early benefactor of Kenyon, James Gambier. Bordered by the scenic Kokosing River and surrounded by gently rolling hills, Gambier is home to a number of small hotels and guest houses as well as a popular coffee shop, a traditional deli, and other interesting dining options. Opportunities for recreation abound with the Kokosing Gap bike trail and a robust local park district. The village and campus are just a 10-minute drive from even more stores, hotels, and restaurants in the historic town of Mount Vernon, and only an hour’s drive from Columbus, the capital of Ohio with a metro area population of over 2 million and growing.  

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Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field.
  • Eight (8) years of experience in a Senior Management Position in a maintenance, physical plant, or facilities capacity, preferably in a college or university setting. At least five years of this experience must have been in a unionized labor setting. Ten (10) years of experience in Senior Management is desirable.
  • Be self-directed, detail- and customer service-oriented.
  • Must have strong colleague and team relationship skills, preferably in a union environment focused on positive labor/management partnership relationships.
  • Must have a professional demeanor with excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Experience in coordinating small projects and repairs, and working with teams on large projects.
  • Candidates must possess strong experience with Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Grounds, and the Custodial trades.
  • APPA Certified Educational Facilities Professional (CEFP) qualification is preferred.

Working Conditions

  • Work is performed in buildings and outside on campus grounds.
  • Must be able to work in conditions inside and outside that may be considered temperature extremes.
  • Requires physical exertion to manually move, lift, carry, pull, and push heavy objects or materials up to 50 pounds.
  • Work on ladders, lifts, platforms, and scaffolds.
  • The ability to travel and work during inclement weather conditions is essential.
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