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Job ID: 203864

Assistant Director of Physical Plant (4985)
Northern Illinois University

Date Posted Jan. 19, 2023
Title Assistant Director of Physical Plant (4985)
University Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL, United States
Department Physical Plant
Application Deadline Open until filled
Position Start Date Available immediately
  • Director/Manager
  • Facilities Operations


The Physical Plant Department’s role is to support the University’s mission by providing a safe, healthy, and comfortable campus environment by maintaining, protecting and improving buildings, and infrastructure, while also being open to and developing an understanding of the impact of how each individuals work has an impact on the campus’s learning and living experience. This role is accomplished by services delivered through Physical Plants eleven craft shops, materials distribution center, work order routing desk, Physical Plant Administration, Heating Plant and through a highly coordinated team effort of other department within Facilities Management & Campus Services, A/E Services, EH & S, Building Services, Grounds, Housing, Athletics, Student Center, Campus Rec and the many other departments across campus.

Facilities include 115 buildings with 7.6 million gross square feet of classrooms, laboratories, residences, offices, libraries, museums, athletic, event and recreational spaces. This diverse portfolio of space and diverse utilization requires a diverse skill set within the Physical Plant to meet the needs of the campus. The Physical Plant department has 51 full-time employees and an annual operating budget of $8.7 million annually. The Physical Plant staff support a 24/7/365 program through the facilitation of approx. 23,000 work orders annually providing a wide range of services including the following activities:

    • Responding to emergency calls
    • Preventative Maintenance
    • Urgent repairs
    • Service calls
    • Inspection, testing and monitoring of Life/safety systems
    • Implementation of state, federal codes and guidelines
    • Facilitation of the work order system
    • MDC support for daily material requirements
    • Support and monitoring of campus utilities
    • Event support
    • Heating Plant support
    • Chiller Plant operation and support


The work for the Assistant Director is generated by the Physical Plant’s need for an efficient operation and for the management of operating funds for emergency response, urgent repairs, preventative maintenance, construction projects and event support. Excellent judgment must be used for all decisions made, as the impact of this person’s actions will affect students, faculty, and staff at Northern Illinois University (NIU). The position requires the incumbent to work independently, determine priorities, make decisions, and schedule their own activities. The individual in this position represents the Physical Plant in facilities management, preventative maintenance, and construction matters. Independent communication with Physical Plant staff, other NIU departments, contractors, and agencies outside of the University are necessary to make accurate and timely decisions.

Position Summary

The Assistant Director, under the guidance of the Director, provides administrative support to the Physical Plant. This position supervises the work of assigned personnel, which includes assigning and approving work for assigned craft shops and augmenting contractors of the Physical Plant and determining their priorities. This position is also responsible for providing leadership to other administrative functions and support staff as assigned to ensure the effective and efficient operations, as well as serving as the liaison to the campus in matters concerning the programs, policies, and financial matters related to the Physical Plant.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

    • Supervise, coordinate, and set priorities for the department’s activities within the assigned Physical Plant shops and assigned outside contractors regarding support for projects, preventative/corrective maintenance, emergencies, and overall facilities management. This includes working with Procurement Services, Physical Plant Business Office, contractors, and vendors so that all activities are well coordinated with Physical Plant departments and staff. Coordinate with supported University customers and supporting units such as A/E Services and EH & S. Assist Director to develop training, implement standard operating procedures and guidelines, and establish a monitoring plan for compliance. Problem solve, develop and implement solutions. Expedite matters as needed. – 30%


  • Building Inspection – Develops and implements a Building/Infrastructure Inspection program. Organizes the routine inspection of buildings, structures, life safety systems and utility systems, collects deficiencies, and makes recommendations for prioritized repairs. Coordinates with the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, Architectural and Engineering Services, Building Services, Grounds, Campus Services, and Procurement to ensure compliance with safety codes and regulations. Participates in project planning/prioritization efforts incorporating program results into multi-year plans. 25%
  • Preventive Maintenance – Develops and implements a Preventative Maintenance program and activities to fully develop the program to include building equipment and systems, departmentally owned equipment, life safety systems using equipment specifications, best practices, and operational need. Utilize this information to assist Shop Forepersons to develop Annual and Monthly work plans to assist with budgeting and work prioritization. -15%
  • Budget Planning and Monitoring – Monitor spending within the Physical Plant’s annual maintenance budget for the General Revenue and Auxiliary Revenue financial systems. Track and monitor financial execution to remain within budget. Develop work scopes and estimates for submitted work requests and assigned projects. Coordinate with Project Managers to ensure full cost accounting for projects executed with both in-house and contractor workforce. -10%
  • Emergency Response – Anticipate and plan for likely facility emergency situations. This includes training, equipping, and developing contingency plans for resolving emergencies in a controlled manner and maintaining essential services. This position will make decisions on determining essential personnel requirements. Supervise the Physical Plant personnel and coordinate contractors responding to facility emergencies. Coordinate with other University units such as Public Safety, and community organizations, as required. 5%
  • Design Reviews – Manage the process of Physical Plant reviews of project plans/designs ensuring appropriate review for end-state maintenance considerations and safe access to maintenance areas. Coordinate quality assurance support to Project Managers overseeing contractor activities. Manage process for exercising applicable warranty coverage completed projects or installed equipment. 5%
  • Responsible for addressing customer information requests, service questions/concerns, and billing questions relating to Physical Plant work. JULIE supervision and coordination with in-house staff and external contractor. 5%
  • Perform miscellaneous, related duties as assigned- 5%

Minimum Required Qualifications (Civil Service)

    • Bachelor’s degree in engineering, architecture, accounting, business administration, or a related field
    • Five (5) years (60 months) of work experience directly related to facilities administration and/or management such as a physical plant, three (3) years (36 months) of which were in a supervisory or administrative capacity


  • Excellent written and oral communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills
  • Working knowledge of university administrative policies and procedures
  • Demonstrated ability to direct, manage, and administer multiple tasks simultaneously
  • Demonstrated ability to lead people and projects and effectively identify and solve problems and improve processes
  • Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems
  • Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, and costs
  • Knowledge of practical application of engineering science and technology
  • Critical Thinking Skills: using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems
  • Time Management Skills: managing one’s own time and the time of others
  • Judgment and Decision Making – Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one

Specialty Factors (Civil Service)


1. Demonstrated professional experience working with unionized employees and negotiating union contracts on behalf of management.

2. Demonstrated facility-related experience in public higher education.

3. Demonstrated experience with administrative responsibility in preparing and managing multiple project budgets in a complex university setting, with projects ranging from $100,000 to $1,000,000.

4. Demonstrated experience in responding to facilities and campus-wide emergencies.

Preferred Qualifications (Civil Service)

    • Bachelor’s degree in construction management, engineering, architecture, business or related degree and/or an equivalent combination of training and experience
    • Minimum of three (3) years administrative responsibility in preparing and managing multiple budgets, construction projects, facilities management of a complex organization
    • Five (5) years’ experience as a Foreman, Superintendent, Assistant Director or comparable position or ten (10) years of management experience in a comparable institution of higher education in similar positions
    • Experience in the assessment, procurement and implementation of energy saving strategies and demand response programs for utilities commodities
    • Demonstrated experience in the maintenance and repair of HVAC, electrical, plumbing and elevator equipment and systems
    • Demonstrated experience in the identifying and specifying equipment and repair parts to facilitate and maintain campus operations




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