Transformational Update from the Senior Vice President for Business and Finance

Transformational Update from the Senior Vice President for Business and Finance

October 17, 2013

As communicated at the fall assembly and discussed in my video message this summer we have been undergoing a transformation process within the Division of Business and Finance specifically related to the purchasing and facilities functions of the University.  This includes a detailed review of the Purchasing, Business Development and Operations (which had oversight of Dining Services, the Bookstore, the Business Center, and Public Safety), and Facilities Management organizations as part of our strategic plan to strive for operational excellence in these three functions. 

The transformation continues to occur in a three-phased project. The first phase was to implement changes in Purchasing and Business Development and Operations.  As was previously communicated, the former Business Development and Operations unit was reorganized with various responsibilities distributed within Business and Finance as well as other Divisions where those services were more appropriately aligned.  Of particularly note, Dining Services and the Student Union were transitioned to Student Affairs to better serve our students.  As part of the reorganization in Purchasing, we are in the process of filling newly defined positions that will provide the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively buy the goods and services the University needs in a timely and cost effective manner. Much has already been accomplished in this first phase though the complete transformation process will take some time. 

We are currently in the second phase, which involves a full assessment of the facilities operation. Part of the assessment includes the possibility of outsourcing all or various functions within facilities currently being self-performed by Barry.  At this time, it is only an option but certainly an option that we need to explore as a university to provide the best possible services at the right costs to our internal customers and students.

Phase III will happen after the conclusion of this assessment period when the Executive Committee of the Administration decides on the future structure and customer service delivery model of the Facilities organization at Barry.  The decision on whether we will outsource any of the facilities functions performed in house today will not likely occur before this summer.  I have personally met with our facilities employees to inform them of the assessment and the associated timeline as we did not want ongoing uncertainty or the potential for misinformed rumors about the University’s plans impacting our staff members any more than was necessary.

While the assessment of the entire facilities operation is ongoing, we are taking some immediate steps to address current identified challenges: a strained relationship and non-optimal workflow between Purchasing and Facilities that hampers effective customer service, a high level of deferred maintenance that limits our ability to be proactive versus reactive and significant project demands that exceed our capacity to effectively manage them.

In order to address those challenges, the following organizational changes are being made:

  • Monica Soto will move over to the Purchasing organization in a key position working closely with the consultants engaged to support that organization.  By having someone in Purchasing who truly understands the challenges of Facilities, we will be able to improve communication and coordination among the two teams and better serve both the needs of Facilities and of Facilities’ customers.
  • We are dividing the current Associate Vice President position in Facilities into two Director level positions, with one position focusing on day-to-day maintenance (Director of Facility Operations) and the other, to focus on project programming, master planning, space planning and  construction (Director of Facilities Planning and Development).  This move will begin to provide the time and attention on both of these important areas that a single position simply cannot provide alone.  We are also adding a Facilities Engineer position to bring technical expertise in house where today we are spending a lot of money on external engineering expertise.  Restructuring within the Division of Business and Finance will provide the funding for these positions.

I am pleased to formally announce that Gina Bonilla was hired effective October 1 to fill the Director of Facility Operations position.  Gina has extensive facilities operations and management experience having worked for reputable national organizations including Johnson Controls and CB Richard Ellis, Inc.  Gina’s work experience has included significant time in both Florida and New York.  We are pleased to have someone of Gina’s caliber to help us lead the Facilities organization at Barry.  Please join me in welcoming and congratulating her as she takes on this new opportunity.

I continue to ask for your cooperation and patience during these changes. It is important to understand that as part of our Strategic Agenda, and in order to be a first choice University, we are striving for operational excellence in serving the Barry University community.