Active Search

Senior Project Manager

  • Industry: Facilities Management
  • Location: Delaware - Newark
  • Client: Higher Education
  • Search ID: 19-0703-04

The University of Delaware has retained Helbling to conduct an executive search to secure a Senior Project Manager (SPM).

The university is embarking on a bold initiative with the expansion of their STAR Campus, and in conjunction with that effort, they have established a newly created SPM position to support their growth. The SPM is part of the Facilities, Real Estate, and Auxiliary Services division and a member of the Planning & Project Delivery unit. The SPM will report to the Director of Planning & Project Delivery, while maintaining a high degree of autonomy for the management of their construction/project portfolio. Under the limited direction of the Director, the SPM prepares or oversees preparation and reviews integrated facilities plans, construction bid documents, and specifications for capital projects, applying professional knowledge of design and construction procedures, zoning and building codes, and building materials.  

The SPM’s main emphasis will be to support the ongoing research and biotech projects on the STAR Campus while specifically working with the faculty and staff of that unit to deliver ongoing projects and plan for future capital construction (including a possible cGMP facility). However, they can also be utilized to support the broader capital construction campaign based on necessity and availability.  

Major Responsibilities

  • Independently coordinate the planning, designing, and procurement processes for multiple complex, major and minor construction projects, some of which may be high-value capital projects.
  • Oversee and provide leadership in the preparation of project plans, construction bid documents, and specifications.
  • Coordinate projects from pre-design, through design, bid, construction, and post construction phases to meet objectives of scope, schedule, and cost.
  • Act as the project liaison and University representative among both internal and external entities, such as the intended user, University departments, University administration, consultants, contractors, and regulatory agencies.
  • Establish and/or oversee the establishment, update, and balancing of multiple project budgets and schedules, review and oversee expenditures, coordinate contract administration, and approve project-related invoices within budget.
  • Serve as primary project liaison between client groups, architects, and various institutional service units on projects of high complexity and scope.
  • Engage and oversee the work of external design and planning consultants for specified projects; ensure that designs are consistent with contract specifications and all relevant regulations and standards.
  • Develop and prepare complex, integrated contract drafts, requests for proposals, project approvals, and other related documents.
  • Work cohesively with all units of Facilities & Real Estate to support the overall mission of the organization. Foster collaborative relationships. 
About the University of Delaware

One of the oldest universities in the U.S., the University of Delaware traces its roots to 1743, and in 2019, the University currently employs more than 4,000 staff, has a student population in excess of 24,000, and its current endowment is more than $1.2B. The University of Delaware is a major research university that exists to cultivate learning, develop knowledge, and foster the free exchange of ideas. State-assisted yet privately governed, the university has a strong tradition of distinguished scholarship, research, teaching, and service that is grounded in a commitment to increasing and disseminating scientific, humanistic, and social knowledge for the benefit of the larger society.  

In 2009, the University purchased a 272-acre parcel of land adjacent to the Newark campus that previously had been a Chrysler Plant. That site, now the Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus, is home to the University's Health Sciences Complex and is being developed as a space combining business, research, education, and more.

The ideal candidate will possess a positive track record executing laboratory, research, biotech, and/or clinical construction projects from $10M - $100M in value. Ideally, the SPM will also have a working knowledge of and experience with Good Manufacturing Process (cGMP) standards connected to delivering biologics facilities.


  • Bachelor’s degree in a job-related discipline and six years of related experience, or equivalent combination of education and/or experience.
  • Possession of one of the following certifications: Project Management Professional (PMP), Professional Engineer license, or Professional Architectural license.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of construction and contract documents, cost estimates, schedules, and building code interpretation.
  • Effective negotiation, interpersonal, and communication skills, and the ability to work effectively with a wide range of constituencies in a diverse community.
  • Knowledge of building design, construction, and maintenance.
  • Ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing.
  • Knowledge of budget management and fiscal control principles and procedures.
  • Effective analytical, problem solving, and critical thinking skills gained within a complex, demanding work environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully manage large capital projects.
  • Skill in the use of personal computers and related software applications.
  • Skill in organizing resources and establishing priorities.
  • Knowledge of federal, state, and local building codes, ordinances, and regulations.
  • Ability to make independent administrative decisions and judgments.
  • Advanced project planning, management, and leadership skills.
  • Knowledge of design and construction contracting processes and procedures.
  • Ability to select, evaluate, coordinate, and quality-control the activities of professional consultants.
  • Skill in the use of computer aided design, project management, scheduling, and budgeting software (Microsoft Office Suite, Microsoft Project, PeopleSoft and AutoCAD preferred).  Knowledge of University policies and procedures is desirable.
  • Experience in planning, design, construction, and renovation of critical, highly technical spaces such as semiconductor cleanrooms, imaging and advanced research laboratories, preferred.
  • Special requirement: Must have valid driver’s license and regular access to private, reliable means of transportation in order to maneuver throughout the Newark campus and other university locations when operationally necessary.

Search Consultant: Tom Dunn

Submit Resume

Subscribe to Helbling's eNewsletters & Search Alerts