Director of Project Management

Industry: Facilities Management
Location: California - Pasadena
Sector: Higher Education
Search ID: 24-0101-14
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Marc Datz
Marc Datz
Matt Lesher
Matt Lesher


The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has retained Helbling to conduct an executive search to secure a Director of Project Management.

Position Summary

As the leader of the project management team in the Facilities Planning, Design and Construction Department, the Director of Project Management reports to the Executive Director of Planning, Design and Construction (PDC). The Director of Project Management (DPM) is responsible for the leadership, direction, and coordination of project management services for Caltech.
The DPM is responsible for the effective management of capital improvement projects and annual laboratory and office renewal projects within the Caltech complex in support of the research and education mission in academic and administrative buildings. The campus is comprised of 4.75 million square feet on 127 acres. Additional information about PD&C and links to current projects can be found at:   

The DPM must work cooperatively and collaboratively with facilities leadership, the Caltech Divisions and new faculty, and supporting units with the goal of providing a physical environment that promotes success of the academic and research enterprise. The role involves leading a team to work on complex projects for various Divisions and Departments that requires thorough knowledge of project management best practices and various project delivery methods from project inception through project close-out. As such, the DPM is a partner with and provides senior level support to the Executive Director of PDC.

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

Essential Job Duties 

The DPM will:
  • Serve as a leader in project management for PDC. Directly communicate with divisional and departmental administrative leadership, build relationships, and create a culture of trust and transparency.  
  • In close coordination with the Executive Director of PDC and the leadership of planning and design, manage all design and construction projects and act as a main point of contact for project management in campus construction and facility modernization activities. The major focus of effort will be on lab renovations/construction for new incoming faculty and new building construction projects. 
  • Hire, mentor, guide, and lead the project management team for PDC. Maintain a culture of collaboration within the PDC team, within facilities, and throughout the campus. Manage team structure and fill expertise gaps to build a robust project management team.  
  • Facilitate development of design guidance and construction management processes ensuring that projects are completed on time, on budget, and in accordance with the City of Pasadena building codes and zoning ordinances and industry best practices. Guide project management teams to establish budget estimates and project schedules, and ensure projects are delivered within budget constraints and on time. 
  • Provide effective management of fiscal resources including development of and compliance with multi-year budgets that support the achievement of campus and departmental goals.  
  • Advise customers on complex project plans; effectively manage customer expectations during the planning, execution, and closure of projects by anticipating challenges and developing contingency plans accordingly. Guide project management professionals in budget management, science and technology specific decisions on projects, and present projects with detailed knowledge on scope and budget for approval. 
  • Work closely with the facilities management team to plan and integrate facilities requirements into short- and long-term renewal and new capital projects.  
  • Develop processes, guidelines, and tools to best manage projects across campus. Continuously find ways to improve processes. Implement and guide use of new PM software.  
  • Collaborate on the bidding process with the PDC contracts manager and planning team for all architecture, engineering, construction, and other consultants. 
  • Select the most appropriate and advantageous acquisition method for each project based on requirement, site conditions, budget, and schedule such as Design-Bid-Build, Design-Assist, Design-Build, and CMGC, among other strategies. 
  • Prepare and present project budgets and proposals to leadership. Create progress and financial reports for all on-going projects. 
  • Coach and lead PMs and all PM staff on management skills, PM development and training, communication strategies, contractor management, time management, cash flow, change order review, project budget and budget management strategies, project schedule and schedule management strategies, punch list management, procurement, AiM, commissioning, lab planning, client management, and more. 
  • Manage a team of PMs who are responsible for conducting comprehensive research on project needs; integrating project functions within the framework of ongoing activities within the Institute; advising customers on complex project plans; overseeing the design and construction of multiple projects; preparing budgets, schedules, scopes of work and status reports; developing and negotiating construction contracts; and managing the bidding process, contract award, documentation, invoices, change orders, commissioning, and close-out of the projects.  
  • Provide oversight for negotiations of complex design and construction contracts with the Office of General Counsel and Procurement Officer. Ensure maintenance of complete and accurate files suitable for audit purposes on all projects. 
  • The candidate must be able to walk and / or stand for long periods of time, push, pull, stoop, and bend to accomplish job duties throughout the day on a regular basis. 
  • Perform other related duties as assigned, including Emergency Operation Center Support, when required. 


Pasadena, CA


Basic Qualifications

  • BA / BS degree, preferably in engineering, architecture, or other related discipline. 
  • Minimum of ten years of work experience in project management of new building and / or complex renovation projects. 
  • Must have a LEED AP or LEED GA certification or the ability to obtain within 24 months of employment. 
  • Must have 5+ years of experience managing a team of project management professionals. 
  • Complete OSHA 10-hour Construction Training within six months of employment and refresher training every four years. 
  • Strong oral and written communication skills are required, as is the ability to effectively communicate with all levels of management and other professionals. 
  • PM Software, AutoCAD, Adobe suite, Bluebeam experience. 
  • Proficient in the use of MS Outlook, Word, Excel, and Project. 
  • Experience in managing contracts and knowledge of contract language. 
  • Recent construction or construction management experience. 
  • Educational and research laboratory project experience. 
  • Large and small project experience. Ground up construction experience. 
  • Project management systems expertise. 
  • Must be able to lift and carry 25 lbs., walk half a mile unaided, climb ladders and stairs, and enter and leave excavations for the purpose of observing and planning work. 

Preferred Qualifications

  • Institutional and higher education project experience. 
  • State of California licensed professional. 
  • Owner’s representative experience.

Required Documents to Apply

  • Resume
  • ​Cover Letter

Caltech does not discriminate or permit discrimination by any member of its community on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, pregnancy or perceived pregnancy, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic or condition protected by state and federal law.

It is Caltech's policy to provide a work and academic environment free of discrimination as required by federal and state law and to provide equal opportunity in matters of employment and in education programs, services, and activities, including the administration of its admissions policies and other university-administered activities, programs, or funds.
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