Maintenance & Operations (Managing the Physical Plant)
Where Are We Headed?
- By Bruce A. Meyer
- February 1st, 2017
I would first like to thank College
Planning & Management for allowing me
to pen some thoughts related to maintenance,
facilities, physical plant and campus
operations. My career background includes
over 30 years of managerial experience in the
automotive parts supply business. During my
career I served in many different managerial
roles, including plant manager in the U.S. and plant manager at a facility
based in the United Kingdom. My international experience includes
working in England, France, Germany, Spain and Poland.
After leaving the automotive supply business I served as the
dean of Business, Engineering Technologies and Workforce Development
at a community college in northwest Ohio. In this capacity,
I provided direction and leadership for the college on academic programs,
operational issues and the development of new curriculum
based on local organizational and industry needs. In 2010 I was offered
the opportunity to work at my alma mater and was appointed
assistant vice president of Campus Operations at Bowling Green
State University (BGSU). Responsibilities include budget administration,
preventative maintenance programs, logistics, custodial
programs and services, mechanical and electrical maintenance
services, grounds and landscaping and the Office of Sustainability.
We currently manage 5,000,000 square feet on a campus with over
20,000 students, faculty and staff.
In my spare time, I am an adjunct professor in the Management
Department in the College of Business at BGSU, where I teach
undergraduate and graduate level courses in supply chain management,
logistics and global management.
I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration
from BGSU, majoring in Production and Operations Management.
I also hold a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the
University of Notre Dame and a Doctor of Education degree from
BGSU, specializing in Leadership and Policy studies.
I’m often asked about my transition from spending so many years
in the private sector and then landing in the higher education area. It is
not easy; the private sector is more of an executive style of environment
with much of the direction resonating from the CEO. The execution
plans are defined and based on sales and profit expectations and the
pace can be quicker, with more latitude to get things accomplished. In
higher education the scenario is different, with much of the opportunity
related to developing a legislative style of management. This style
can be quite interesting, and understanding how to get things done in
this environment is vital for your area and departments.
One of the strategies that I developed when I first arrived at
BGSU was to immediately immerse myself into the campus, signing
up for several committees and chairing a search team, as well
as applying to become an adjunct professor. Enlisting in committees
and other activities, as well as teaching, was my attempt to
learn more about how a campus works.
The committees helped me meet people and foster numerous
incredible friendships. They also helped me network with other
departments and establish relationships that would prove to be
very beneficial. These relationships were developed in all areas of
the campus. Keep in mind, relationships matter and they help you
get things done. This is where the legislative style of management
comes in: you need to get multiple thoughts and opinions that help
build a resolve towards allowing you to move forward on new ideas
related to classrooms, collaboration space, flexible teaching areas
and new technology related to buildings and systems.
The adjunct professor’s role is interesting, and extremely informative.
Teaching is a great way to stay in touch with students while
also helping to create an awareness about activities throughout the
campus related to technology, building renovations and classroom
enhancements. Relationships with academic departments, students,
faculty and staff are going to help us fulfill our obligation in
creating an organization focused on better customer service, sense
of urgency and improving the university environment.
In Campus Operations, our primary role is to update and
maintain the university campus with support from Design/Construction
and Capital Planning. In the months ahead I will discuss
the process of how we went through the assessment of Campus
Operations. Some of the items we reviewed included operational
items such as departmental budgets, staffing levels, preventative
maintenance, service level agreements, work order data that
included building and task, shift schedules and patterns, organizational
reporting structures, customer service levels, sustainability,
efficiencies, performance benchmarks and effectiveness.
This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of College Planning & Management.
Bruce A. Meyer, Ed.D., is assistant vice president of Campus Operations at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH, appointed in April 2010. His team currently manages 5,000,000 square feet on a campus with over 20,000 students, faculty and staff.