College restructures Facilities management

After a comprehensive assessment of the department last summer, the College has opted to restructure the management of Facilities. The positions of associate vice president and director of Facilities operations will be reconfigured into two executive director posts. The creation of these new executive titles, one for Facilities management and one for design and construction, will result in a redistribution of current personnel in Facilities and Human Resources. Bob Wright, interim associate vice president of Facilities, has been named executive director of Facilities management and Danielle Gonzalez has been designated the new assistant director of Human Resources.

This restructuring of Facilities is the result of interdepartmental collaboration during the past year. “This is the result of two levels of leadership reorganization – one at the departmental level within Facilities and the other at the senior administrative level,” Fred Puddester, vice president for finance and administration and treasurer, said. “At the departmental level, the departure of Diana Prideaux-Brune last summer provided the opportunity to review the organization of Facilities. We asked Bob Wright, our associate director of Human Resources, to step in as interim associate vice president as he had done in the past.”

These infrastructural changes accommodate the distinct characteristics of each department’s work and mission. “After an extensive review, and in consultation with [Vice President for Campus Life] Steve Klass and me, it was decided to provide separate senior-level leadership to the design and construction group and the Facilities management team,” Puddester said. “While these two groups perform complementary functions, the work for each has become substantially more complex over the years. Our analysis over the past several months determined that it would be most effective to allow each of these teams to focus on their specific roles under separate, but highly collaborative, leadership.”

The new hierarchy within Facilities will allow for a more effective division of oversight. “This change will allow my position to focus more time on the maintenance, custodial, purchasing, contract and budget functions of [Facilities],” Wright said. Though Wright focused on organizational development in Human Resources in his previous appointment, the new administrative structure will give him an opportunity to concentrate on Facilities’ operations. “The majority of my focus in this new position will be in facilitating the delivery of the many services that the Facilities Department provides,” Wright wrote. “Having worked for over 28 years in the field of facility operations management prior to my arrival at Williams has provided me with a real respect for the people management portion of this job and the need for a staff that feels engaged and supported.”

The shift of personnel involved in these changes helps boost efficiency within each individual department. “A significant amount of my responsibilities will remain on employment; recruiting and hiring new staff and administrators, enhancing new hire orientation programs, overseeing  student employment and regulatory compliance,” Gonzalez said. “I will also continue to coordinate departmental communication efforts ranging from our website redesign to publishing the quarterly employee newsletter, The Udder News.”

While these changes to the management of Facilities will reshape administrative positions, the department’s day-to-day work at the College will continue unchanged. “This shift in senior level oversight won’t impact the work of the facilities team on a daily basis,” Puddester said. “[Klass] and his colleagues in Campus Life will continue to work closely with Facilities on the same issues as in the past, including housing, emergency response planning and event planning.”