Northwestern University has retained Helbling to conduct an executive search to secure a Vice President, Facilities.
Northwestern University is seeking an experienced, qualified individual to lead its facilities functions. Reporting to the Senior Vice President for Business and Finance, the Vice President, Facilities will lead a staff of approximately 350 responsible for the following key functions: campus planning, new capital project management, renewal and replacement, energy and sustainability planning, operations and maintenance, and related real estate activities. Learn more at: www.northwestern.edu/fm.
As a global research university, Northwestern operates in a continuous, 24x7 mode, and strives to assure that its facilities meet the service demands of its faculty, students, and staff. With a total workforce of approximately 10,000 in 12 schools and several primary administrative units, the University is a complex and diverse service environment.
The University undertook an ambitious capital expansion program in 2015 with the Board of Trustees approving a plan of nearly $2 billion in new construction and renovation projects, supported by a major fundraising campaign. This expansion approximately tripled the University's normal annual capital program expenditures. In the fourth year of this program, the University now finds itself in a period of capital absorption, with a commensurate focus on cost-effective maintenance strategies and aligned renewal and replacement programs that incorporate these new additions. The University anticipates returning to its more normalized pace of capital renewal (approximately $200M per year) in FY 2021 and beyond.
While the University's overall financial condition is very strong, the absorption of this capital expansion has put pressure on the University's operating margin. The University has a historical track record of balanced operating budgets and maintains a AAA credit rating, but now is in the midst of taking careful actions to restore balanced operating performance. In the summer of 2018, staff reductions were made in a number of areas, including Facilities, in response to this mandate. It is anticipated that additional cost containment strategies will need to be applied in order to meet a Board of Trustees-directed goal of balanced operating results before FY 2021.
The Vice President, Facilities must be committed to responsible partnership with the Senior Vice President for Business and Finance in fulfilling this financial management mandate, in a manner that is fully transparent and respectful of the inherent tensions between short-term and long-term operating and capital goals. The successful candidate will be conversant in best practice facilities strategies that enable careful investment in the University's facilities while striving for the most efficient operating models. The successful candidate will have experience in aligning organizational structure to optimal service objectives of the organization while identifying and establishing a leadership team to deliver on these goals.
The Vice President, Facilities will have a servant-leader focus in a University community which is highly distributed in terms of stakeholders, and will have a demonstrated teamwork orientation in a shared governance model. Higher education experience is preferred, but not essential. Rather, demonstrated experience in comparable complex, service intensive environments is essential.
Founded in 1851, Northwestern University is a globally recognized private research university committed to excellent teaching, innovative research, and the personal and intellectual growth of its students in a diverse academic community.
The University has three (3) primary campuses in Evanston, Chicago, and Doha, Qatar. Consisting of 296 acres in these three campuses (with approximately 220 acres in Evanston), the University has 227 buildings comprised of 16.6 million SF of academic, research, residential, and administrative space. Northwestern also has leased academic and administrative sites in Washington, DC, San Francisco, Miami, and New York City.
The two main campuses are situated along Lake Michigan’s lakefront. The Chicago campus, located between the Magnificent Mile and Lake Michigan, offers outstanding views and is within walking distance of some of the city’s main attractions. The Evanston campus, just 12 miles north of downtown Chicago, sits among charming residential neighborhoods, parks, beaches, and bike trails.
Evanston is a quintessential college town with a vibrant group of restaurants, cafés, shops, and entertainment a few blocks from the campus. Evanston is a diverse community with a successful K-12 school systems (two districts), as well as numerous private school options. Getting to and around Evanston is easy with a multitude of public and private transportation options, including to and from the City of Chicago.
With Lake Michigan to the east, Evanston residents are active both indoors and out, fully utilizing the phenomenal system of parks and recreation areas, access to which goes through Northwestern’s Evanston campus. With Chicago next door, one can easily take advantage of the music, theatre, museums, sports, and entertainment of a world-class city. With Northwestern’s participation in the Big Ten athletic conference, and its proximity to Chicago’s many professional teams, this area is rich in opportunities to participate in athletic endeavors at many levels.
Search Consultant: Joe Wargo
Please visit our Candidates page for more information.
Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.