Director of Sustainable Maintenance

Industry: Facilities Management
Location: Pennsylvania - Swarthmore
Sector: Higher Education
Search ID: 19-1201-30
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Lindsey K. Johnson
Lindsey K. Johnson

Swarthmore College has retained Helbling to conduct an executive search to secure a Director of Sustainable Maintenance.

Position Summary

Director of Sustainable Maintenance (DSM) has primary and overall responsibility for all campus building maintenance (1.7 million square feet), fleet vehicle and equipment maintenance, and campus infrastructure. The DSM is expected to provide best-in-class customer service to ensure an optimal learning, working, and living environment for the entire College community. The DSM is accountable for managing an operating budget of approximately $7 million and $2 million or more in capital renewal projects and, through direct reports, planning and directing day to day management of the 31 skilled tradespeople. The DSM oversees the campus energy and utility systems, including procurement, delivery and operations of two central heating plants, three central cooling plants, and construction and operation of a 4 MW back-up generation plant. The DSM will play a central role in the planning, implementation and conversion of the campus infrastructure from combustion-fueled steam to combustion-free geo-exchange low-temperature hot water in the coming years. The DSM will collaborate with many college constituencies and committees; primarily Information Technology Services, Purchasing, One-card and the Office of Sustainability.

Reporting Structure

Reports to: Associate VP for Sustainable Facilities Operations and Capital Planning
Direct Reports:​

  • Maintenance Manager/Clerk of the Works
  • ​​Assistant Director, Sustainability Energy Services
  • Paint Crew Supervisor
  • College Locksmith
  • Inventory Control
  • Maintenance Crew Supervisor

Primary Responsibilities

  • Develop annual budgets for maintenance and energy operations.
  • Develop long range capital projects for the upkeep of the institutional buildings and infrastructure.
  • Track and record utility expenditures in support of the institutional goals of carbon reduction and sustainability.
  • Incorporate sustainability into all departmental work functions and decision-making in order to advance the college’s energy efficiency, carbon reduction, and sustainable practice goals.
  • Assemble and execute deferred maintenance work plans.
  • Assure compliance with and submit reports on DEP regulations related to PA Code Title 25, Air Resources and submission of required reports to the PA DEP and the South East PA Regional EPA offices.
  • Assure compliance with all Federal, State, and Local codes, and regulations governing safety and maintenance.
  • Approve purchasing of materials for facilities operations.
  • Oversee the facilities stockroom operations and inventory control.
  • Oversee the daily recording and disbursement of work orders.
  • Oversee energy procurement.
  • Develop, analyze, and maintain data records, spread sheets, charts, tables, and reports to illustrate and improve the effectiveness of operations. These documents and records will be used internally by the Administration and with external consultants as serves the needs of the College.
  • Interact day to day with other departments and College constituencies to resolve problems and aid in planning.
  • Hire and manage consultants and service contractors critical to maintenance operations.
  • Act as a College representative to professional organizations such as the Physical Plant Cooperative, DVAPPA, PAIUG, and others.
  • Manage the College fleet vehicle and equipment maintenance program and auto mechanic shop.
  • Oversee the college’s lock shop, and fire detection and suppression programs.
  • Perform other assignments as directed by the AVP for Sustainable Facilities Operations and Capital Planning.


Located in Swarthmore, PA (10-15 miles from Philadelphia, PA).

About Swarthmore College

Since its founding in 1864 by the Religious Society of Friends (a.k.a. Quakers), Swarthmore College has given students the knowledge, insight, skills, and experience to become leaders for the common good. With more than 1,600 students, 180 faculty, and an endowment valued at more than $2 billion, Swarthmore offers more than 40 courses of study and provides the opportunity for students to design their own major while offering more than 600 courses each year.

Swarthmore’s campus operates much like a small city, and the facilities management division manages and maintains Swarthmore's 73 buildings as well as 423 acres of gardens, lawns, athletic fields, and natural woodlands. In addition, the division supports and maintains more than 100 faculty and staff housing units, which range from efficiency apartments to historic homes. Swarthmore College also has a long history of honoring the natural environment and working to protect both it and the people who depend on it. The College’s ongoing environmental sustainability initiatives aim to build proudly on the College’s Quaker legacy of shared responsibility, social justice, and resource stewardship.

Swarthmore College is regularly ranked as one of the nation’s premier Liberal Arts colleges, and it was ranked #3 nationally by U.S. News & World Report for 2019. Swarthmore also received high ranks for undergraduate teaching, innovation, first-year experience, and ranked in the top five for best value.

Additional information on Swarthmore College’s mission and goals can be found here: Swarthmore College - Mission & Goals.

Other Helpful Links

Required Skills & Abilities

  • Must be competent in many software platforms including Microsoft Office Suite, Google Suite, CAD (read), Building Automation Systems (read), and Work Control Systems (Asset Essentials, “School Dude”).
  • Strong organization skills and the ability to work under deadlines.
  • Strong oral, written, and communication skills.
  • Ability to assemble cost estimates for mechanical work.
  • Ability to manage mechanical and construction projects.
  • Ability to manage maintenance and cross-functional teams.
  • Ability to make presentations.
  • Ability to handle multiple tasks.
  • Ability to work in a supportive and collaborative fashion.
  • Ability to work as a team member to build stronger working relationships.

Essential Functions

  • Must be available after hours to respond to maintenance emergency situations.
  • Must be able to communicate in English, including the ability to speak in public.
  • Must be able to operate standard office equipment, including computer, printer, telephone, and copier.

Required Education & Credentials

  • At least ten (10) years of experience in roles of increasing responsibility in the disciplines of construction and/or maintenance operations with demonstrated leadership responsibility, preferably in higher education.
  • Bachelor’s degree, preferably in engineering, architecture, or a related field.
  • Applicable years of experience and a demonstrated track-record of effectiveness may be considered in lieu of a bachelor’s degree.
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