Director of Facilities Operations
for University of Florida Health

Helbling represented University of Florida Health in securing a Director of Facilities Operations. The selected professional has more than 20 years of experience and is well-versed in the executive management of plant operations, and in project and property management. He was chosen among final candidates for his strong technical healthcare background, energetic personality, inclusive management style, and demonstrated ability to initiate change and smoothly transition employees. He is described as someone who can "get it done” and who leads by “setting the course."

University of Florida Health is a not-for-profit hospital with facilities that encompass more than 4M square feet. We were retained to attract and secure a Director of Facilities Operations (Director). This individual is responsible for planning, organizing, directing, and controlling the hospital’s administrative and operational activities.

Due to the fact that this was our first executive search with the institution, who is now a repeat client, we traveled to their facility to get first-hand knowledge of their campus, operations, goals, and corporate culture. During our meetings with pertinent contacts, we discussed the organization’s short- and long-term objectives, the role’s responsibilities, and ideal candidate qualifications.

We learned that one of the primary objectives of the Director position was to introduce new methodologies and technologies throughout the facilities department, which meant the role required extensive understanding and comprehension of all building systems typically found in a healthcare setting, such as chillers, air handling systems, electrical distribution, generators, and plumbing systems.

At the time of the search, the institution was looking into introducing a new computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), so it was important to find candidates with solid knowledge of these programs.

To fulfill this position successfully, the secured professional would be experienced in the healthcare facility management field, primarily in an academic medical center or large hospital system with 500+ beds, and with at least five years at a senior management level. Certified Healthcare Facility Manager status was required and Registered Professional Engineer licensure was preferred. With a goal of decreased energy consumption, the client also wanted an individual who had solid energy management experience and a comprehensive understanding of the new technology in that area.

To accomplish all of the institution’s objectives, it was also critical for candidates to have the ability to influence and effectively lead others through periods of organizational change; and to have a passion for satisfying the needs of patients, medical staff, administrators (medical and academic), professors, and students.

To identify qualified professionals for the Director role, we approached those in similar positions with hospitals and academic medical centers throughout the Southeast region and select Midwestern and Mid-Atlantic areas. Working closely with the Director of Employment & Recruitment and the Vice President of Facilities, we narrowed the search to seven finalists who all possessed extensive facilities experience within healthcare settings.

Our client selected a professional who was the Matrix Director of Engineering & Construction with a large healthcare system in the region. His scope of authority spanned four hospitals and 80+ properties. His many accomplishments included increasing the efficiency of capital project management, and significantly reducing electrical and gas consumption. With more than 20 years of experience, he is well-versed in the executive management of plant operations, and in project and property management.

His colleagues describe him as having an engineer-first mentality, a strong planning and development background, and solid leadership abilities. They say he leads by “setting the course." With a strong understanding of how to work in political environments, he has the ability to navigate through the complex divisions of academia, and facility and hospital operations.

During this professional’s initial meeting, he had great chemistry with our client. His knowledge and professionalism were obvious, and our client immediately got the impression that he is someone who can “get it done." The candidate was ultimately chosen for his strong technical healthcare background, energetic personality, inclusive management style, and demonstrated ability to initiate change and smoothly transition employees.

In follow-up conversations with University of Florida Health, they express that the candidate is astute and they are delighted to have him. He has great interaction with his reports and has demonstrated his ability to determine the root causes of the technical and management problems they were looking to resolve. He remains optimistic through challenges and has a 24/7 work ethic.

Thus far, the professional’s accomplishments with University of Florida Health include:

  • Developing multiple pricing strategies for the operations department, saving more than $220,000 in 2014 alone.
  • Evaluating and improving the department’s CMMS to mitigate errors with vendors, and to enhance accuracy and efficiency.
  • Developing relationships with vendors to ensure proper levels of supplies for technicians thus reducing costs and streamlining activities. 
  • Instituting bi-monthly team meetings covering education, safety, and customer service to ensure all employees remain updated on policies and procedures.
View PDF
We have used Helbling & Associates on several difficult hires. Their ability to match specific employer requirements and potential candidates means we have better results in less time. Further, Helbling’s engagement through the orientation process helps all parties to adapt to new work locations. I would recommend Helbling & Associates, and I will use them again.
Vice President of Facilities, University of Florida Health
Wes Miller, Managing Director - Southeast

Learn about Helbling’s search process