In 1906, industrialist Pierre du Pont (1870-1954) purchased a small farm near Kennett Square, PA to save its collection of historic trees from being sold for lumber. Throughout his life, Mr. du Pont indulged his passion for gardening, turning his farm into a magnificent horticultural showplace.
Today, Longwood Gardens is one of the great gardens of the world, encompassing 1,100 acres of gardens, woodlands, meadows, fountains, a 10,010-pipe Aeolian organ, and a 4.5-acre grand Conservatory. It consists of a complex system of 192 buildings and other structures exceeding 484,000 square feet, linked by more than 104 miles of utility and communications infrastructure, all located near Kennett Square, PA, 25 miles south of Philadelphia. It is a self-contained community supported by its own water, sewer and emergency electrical generating systems. Consistent with its core mission as a display garden, it collects, propagates, and makes available for the enjoyment of the general public a unique display from worldwide origins. It strives to maintain the highest standard of quality and excellence in all aspects of its work to emulate the vision of its founder.
Longwood Gardens currently employs approximately 300 full-time staff, 300 part-time staff, and 530 volunteers. The facilities staff is currently budgeted at 61 fulltime and 3 part-time staff.
Longwood continues the mission set forth by Mr. du Pont to bring joy and inspiration to everyone through the beauty of nature, conservation, and learning. Longwood Gardens offers a breadth of mission programming that includes exhibitions, musical performances by top artists, renowned horticulture education programs, horticulture research, environmental stewardship, and cultural and community engagement.
Kennett Square, PA
Position Summary / Essential Job Functions
Longwood Gardens is seeking a Vice President of Facilities & Capital Projects to provide visionary and strategic leadership to Longwood’s Facilities Department. The organization seeks a dynamic leader with proven ability to work in a fast-paced, highly creative, and collaborative environment across a multidisciplinary organization. This Vice President will oversee the construction and maintenance of Longwood facilities, supporting infrastructure and systems, and all capital and operating projects. This position reports to the Chief Horticulture and Facilities Officer.
Longwood’s collection of buildings and infrastructure is spread across more than 1,110 acres. The facilities at Longwood include a broad range of periods and styles of buildings, extensive infrastructure support systems, as well as multiple conservatory structures with complex environment controls. The complexity of the Longwood campus is comparable to that of a mid-size university or small town, including robust power and water management systems. This individual will ensure high standards of excellence in facilities maintenance standards and capital project planning, while driving innovative business solutions across the entire department.
Longwood stewards one of the world’s great glasshouse collections. The person in this role will be arriving at a pivotal moment, as Longwood is in the midst of its most ambitious capital project in a century, Longwood Reimagined: A New Garden Experience. This project encompasses 17 acres and includes a 32,000 sq. ft. state-of-the art conservatory, a new administration building, and new dining and event spaces: https://longwoodgardens.org/longwood-reimagined). The target opening date for these new spaces is slated for late fall of 2024. There is an additional $20M in ongoing capital projects as well as continual annual repairs, upgrades and renovations across the Longwood portfolio.
Longwood has just completed two significant long-range plans – a seven-year Strategic Plan and a 40-year site master plan, the Visionary Master Plan II. The Vice President of Facilities & Capital Projects will influence and advance the continued evolution and implementation of both plans.
As with all staff, the Vice President of Facilities & Capital Projects will support the organization’s overarching strategic goals and objectives within the Longwood Strategic Plan and influence the development of specific measurable goals for the Facilities Department. In addition, the person in this role will work with the Core Executive Leadership Team to spearhead the advancement of the site master plan and specific goals related to sustainability and conservation.
Longwood’s comprehensive physical site master plan, the Visionary Master Plan II, outlines a framework for decision-making and planning through the year 2050. The Vice President of Facilities & Capital Projects will have primary responsibility for advancing the principles of this plan that relate directly to the Facilities Department.
The person in this role will:
Lead the Facilities and Capital Planning Department, which currently consists of a team of over 60 full-time and several part-time staff that includes both facilities and construction project management teams.
Manage an annual budget of $8.75M and an operating projects budget of $1.75M.
Be responsible for all short and long-range strategic planning for facilities, operating, and capital projects, including related environmental and sustainable initiatives and work across the organization to support organizational strategic goals. The Vice President of Facilities & Capital Projects will work closely with the Chief Horticulture and Facilities Officer and the Vice President, Horticulture to achieve departmental strategic goals.
Collaborate with the President & Chief Executive Officer and the Core Leadership Team to advance organizational goals.
Work closely and in partnership with staff across multiple departments in the planning and implementation of operating and capital projects.
2030 Strategic Plan
Continuing a legacy of service initiated by founder Pierre S. du Pont, our new mission and 2030 Strategic Plan highlight the work we do–and will continue to expand–that extends beyond our garden gates. Our 2030 Strategic Plan focuses on the following goals:
Foster a dynamic, engaged, and innovative workplace culture that values people and develops talent to advance our mission.
Workforce: Advance a staffing and volunteer plan and structure that attracts and retains top talent.
Workplace: Be a great place to belong.
Safety and Wellbeing: Invest in the safety, health, and wellbeing of our staff and volunteers.
Deliver an extraordinary experience by immersing guests in horticultural beauty, inspiring programming, world-class facilities, and engaging hospitality.
Master Plan: Advance the principles of the 40-year Site Master Plan.
Programming and Guest Engagement: Deliver mission-focused, relevant program offerings that engage and delight guests from all demographics.
Technology: Employ technological solutions to enhance the guest experience.
Deepen our impact by expanding our mission-focused programs and extending our brand beyond one place.
Mission Impact: Measure, articulate, and share our mission impact.
New Mission Programs: Identify and prioritize programs to support responsible growth and audience needs.
Brand Strategy: Evolve our brand positioning and increase awareness locally and globally.
Exemplify leadership and commitment to support the wellbeing, resilience, and success of communities we serve.
Government and Community Relations: Strengthen our government and community relations allowing for deeper connections with stakeholders, more dialogue, exchange of ideas, and mutually beneficial decision-making.
Local and Regional Community: Demonstrate our commitment to accessibility and the health and vitality of our local and regional communities.
Optimize financial resources and demonstrate fiscal prudence to support our mission and the communities we serve.
Ongoing Operations: Pursue earned and contributed revenue opportunities aligned with our mission and core values.
Support the Advancement of the Site Master Plan: Build a suite of strategic options and resources to implement the Site Master Plan.
Longwood Gardens is the living legacy of Pierre S. du Pont bringing joy and inspiration to everyone through the beauty of nature, conservation, and learning.
We envision a world where beauty is accessible to all. We are leaders and innovators in the art and science of horticulture. We present extraordinary experiences to bring pleasure, foster well-being, and spark imagination. We enrich society through learning and training programs, research, stewardship of the land, and community engagement.
Ability to think strategically about, and possess a strong understanding of, Longwood’s vision and organizational strategic goals, and to engage the Facilities staff in advancing these goals.
Ability to communicate clearly on issues related to Facilities and switch seamlessly between a macro and micro scale as needed.
Superb communication skills and ability to connect and articulate vision and strategic goals at Board level as well as through front-line teams.
Ability to serve as an inspiring leader with a high level of emotional intelligence.
Ability to lead and administer a robust facilities program and work side-by-side in the field with facility’s team members.
Exceptional administrative and credible technical skills.
Proactive and approachable leadership style.
Ability to empower the team and instill a culture of collaboration.
Embrace IDEA concepts that result in an inclusive, diverse, and welcoming culture.
Ability to adapt leadership approach as needed; lead strategical as well as guide and coach on tactical initiatives.
A strong external network and ability to serve as an ambassador for the Facilities team both internally and externally.
Focus on striving for best management practices.
Fiscal acumen and proven ability to develop and lead the management of complex budgets.
Executive professional presence and presentation/speaking skills; excellent verbal communication and strong professional writing skills.
Proficiency with Computerized Maintenance Management Systems as well as Microsoft Office applications and CMMS systems.
Extensive experience with:
Leading the construction and maintenance of complex facilities and associated systems and infrastructure.
Development and implementation of various scale capital projects.
Working with government entities and familiarity with state, local, and federal code and compliance permitting procedures as related to life safety, construction, and plant operations.
A wide variety of buildings and systems, including historic structures and complex integrated mechanical systems.
Comprehensive sustainable conservation planning including integration of leading-edge sustainable solutions.
Establishing and cultivating meaningful partnerships with world-class architecture, landscape Architecture, and construction firms.
Serving as an ambassador in various capacities for an organization, including but not limited to representing an organization in community and township hearings, and serving on boards or other organizations in an advisory capacity.
The ideal candidate will possess:
A Bachelor’s Degree in a related field.
A minimum of ten years of proven experience leading facilities maintenance, sustainable initiatives, and project management.
Our client is conducting a national search with the assistance of Helbling & Associates (www.helblingsearch.com), an executive search firm specializing in areas of facilities management, construction, engineering, and real estate development.