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Search Case Study: Director Of Utilities & Energy Management

Search Case Study: Director Of Utilities & Energy Management

Partnering with a higher education institution in the Northeast that has both academic and medical campuses, Helbling consultants secured a Director of Utilities & Energy Management who our client says "has turned the ship around". Within 18 months, the successful candidate has revamped the entire utilities and energy department resulting in improved processes and procedures, increased efficiency, and enhanced employee morale and engagement.

Our Client's Objectives: 

Our client’s medical and academic campuses together encompass more than 11M square feet. The institution was experiencing multiple challenges within its utilities department that spanned from a lack of standardized processes and procedures across both campuses and significant turnover to its poorly operated and managed central utility plant. Due to the lack of transparency as well as trust within the department, it was experiencing issues with labor relations, purchasing ethics, deferred maintenance, interdepartmental communication, and accounting. Our client needed an experienced professional who could initiate the restructuring of the department and transform its management as well as lead the Energy Management Operating Group.

Helbling's Search Strategy:

Helbling worked closely with the Associate Vice President for University Facilities & Services during the search process. Our recruitment efforts included researching the top 100 higher education and healthcare institutions across the country with a focus on campuses that encompassed over 5M square feet of space and that had a medical and academic presence. We also initiated an aggressive referral campaign that included professionals from other higher education institutions, healthcare facilities, pharmaceutical firms, third-party service providers, and the architectural, engineering and construction community.

Search Results:

After a comprehensive search for an individual who could overcome our client’s challenges and assume the extensive responsibilities of the position, we were successful in attracting and securing a professional who had more than twenty years of comprehensive facilities experience, a Professional Engineer’s license, and who was LEED accredited. The candidate was familiar with capital projects, budgeting, utilities, deferred maintenance, and working within union and non-union environments.

Due to high turnover among his predecessors, the individual had to quickly prove that he would be diligent and persistent in working to achieve the department's objectives. In follow-up conversations, our client has stated that the candidate made an immediate impact, has successfully built trust in the department, brought transparency to the entire process, and has “turned the ship around”. Within 18 months, he has successfully revamped the entire utilities and energy department, established facility-wide procedures, improved procurement processes with increased accountability, successfully negotiated a new labor union contract, increased efficiency, and enhanced employee morale and engagement.