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Search Case Study: Director of Facilities Operations [Healthcare]

Search Case Study: Director of Facilities Operations [Healthcare]

A Southeast hospital retained Helbling & Associates to attract a Director of Facilities Operations. The secured professional is well-versed in the executive management of plant operations, and in project and property management. He was selected for his solid technical healthcare background, inclusive management style, and proven ability to initiate change.  

Our Client's Objectives

The Director of Facilities Operations (Director) role has responsibility for planning, organizing, directing, and controlling the institution's administrative and operational activities.

Because this was our first time representing this client, we traveled to their institution to gather first-hand knowledge of their campus, operations, and corporate culture. During our meetings, we discussed the organization’s short- and long-term goals, the role's responsibilities, and ideal candidate qualifications.

We learned that one of the primary objectives of the Director position was to implement new methodologies and technologies throughout the facilities department, which meant candidates would require 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. The institution was also looking to introduce a new Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS), therefore it was important to secure a candidate who had solid knowledge of these programs.

Through our meetings, it was agreed that potential candidates would be experienced in healthcare facility management, primarily in an academic medical center or large hospital system with 500+ beds, with a minimum of five years of experience at a senior management level. Our client required a Certified Healthcare Facility Manager status and preferred a Registered Professional Engineer license. Due to one of their goals being reduced energy consumption, our client also wanted an individual who had solid energy management experience and a comprehensive understanding of the new technologies.

Beyond the required technical skills, the ideal candidate would need to have the ability to influence and effectively lead others through organizational changes; and be committed to satisfying the needs of patients, medical staff, administrators (medical and academic), professors, and students.

Search Strategy

To complete the search successfully, we approached professionals in similar positions with hospitals and academic medical centers throughout the Southeast, and selectively in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. Working closely with the Director of Employment & Recruitment and the Vice President of Facilities, we refined the search to seven finalists who possessed extensive facilities experience within medical settings.

Search Results

The selected professional was the Matrix Director of Engineering & Construction with a large medical system in the Southeast region. His scope of responsibility encompassed four hospitals and 80+ properties. His achievements include enhancing capital project management efficiency, and significant electrical and gas consumption reduction. He is well-versed in the executive management of plant operations, and in project and property management. The individual's colleagues describe him as having a strong planning and development background, and say that he leads by “setting the course”. He has a strong understanding of how to work effectively in political environments, and the ability to navigate through complicated academic, and hospital facilities operations.

When this professional initially met with our client, they had great chemistry. His knowledge was apparent and our client got the immediate 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 proven ability to initiate change.

In follow-up conversations with our client, they have expressed that the professional has developed great rapport with his team and has demonstrated his ability to determine the primary causes of the technical and management issues. He remains positive through challenges and has a 24/7 work ethic. Thus far, the professional’s accomplishments with our client 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.