Director of Facilities and Capital Planning for a nonprofit

The right call at the right time led to a new partnership and the completion of a successful search for a Director of Facilities and Capital Planning. The selected candidate was drawn to the mission of the hiring organization and has the combination of technical skills and procedural experience to make an impact.
A Boston-based nonprofit credited with being the largest homeless service provider in New England, had a need for a Director of Facilities and Capital Planning. The nonprofit, which provides housing, emergency services, and workforce development, supports nearly 2,000 men and women each day. The director’s responsibilities include overseeing the organization’s four shelters, as well as its 40 permanent housing locations throughout the metro area. 

The position requires leadership skills with experience managing a team and helping team members reach their potential, great organizational skills, and the ability to implement new processes and procedures. For the right candidate, it was an excellent opportunity to develop foundational standards for the facilities department. Finding the right candidate also meant finding someone attracted to the mission of the organization who valued it over social prestige. 

When initially trying to secure a candidate, the organization found responses to online postings to be underwhelming. A call from Helbling at the right time proved to be fortuitous for both parties. The nonprofit was impressed by our specialization in facilities roles and our experience partnering with nonprofits to identify executive candidates.
Consultants from Helbling teamed with the Vice President, Human Resources and the Vice President, Operations to begin the search process. The client contacts were very receptive to Helbling’s suggestions to explore candidates from other community-focused organizations. These included senior living facilities, museums, towns, K-12 schools, higher education institutions, and healthcare facilities. Naturally, the team also targeted nonprofit organizations with a like-minded mission, such as other homeless shelters and organizations that supported populations with a mental or physical disability, addiction, or illness.

The firm conducted a regional search with the expectation that the selected candidate would have lived or worked in the New England area where the nonprofit’s name was most recognizable. Consultants searched for individuals in top facilities leadership roles, as well as those in a secondary position in facilities who may have the right combination of experience, ability, and desire to assume a top role if presented with the right opportunity.  
The interview and selection process were typical of a Helbling search in that they were organized and efficient. One candidate stood out among the others for several reasons: he had hands-on experience working as a custodian early in his career, worked at Walt Disney World where he learned the importance of being detail-oriented and gained an appreciation for processes and procedures, and excelled in a facilities director role at the YMCA of Greater Boston. A tech-savvy choice, the selected candidate had implemented a new work order system at the YMCA to track project completion by facilities personnel and manage preventative maintenance tasks. Most importantly, he had a great track record as an effective leader and was excited to make a career change because of the mission of the hiring nonprofit. The candidate became familiar with the organization’s work when hiring painters who had transitioned from homelessness to the work force. He witnessed how the organization has bettered so many lives, and he demonstrated his appreciation for that during the interview process.

Since joining the nonprofit, the new director has implemented a financial tracking system and improved the budgeting process. He also rearranged and streamlined the responsibilities of his team members resulting in a more efficient delivery of services. Furthermore, he oversaw a capital needs assessment that identified and prioritized capital projects — greatly improving the overall functionality and security of the organization’s many facilities. The VP, Operations, who selected the newly placed director, has been particularly impressed with his ability to calmly and correctly respond to unexpected and urgent issues. The director is pleased to be making an impact within an organization that greatly impacts the region. 

Learn about Helbling's search process