Considering a career in higher education facilities management? Then check out this episode of our High Reliability podcast.
We are joined by John D’Angelo. John has a distinguished career in facilities management, serving in high-level facility management and design and construction roles in healthcare and higher education since entering the private sector. Before entering healthcare, John served our country for 20 years in the United States Navy, retiring as a Commander.
John is presently employed as an Assistant Vice President of Facilities Operations at the University of Chicago.
In the podcast, John speaks to finding a sense of purpose and service in healthcare and academic facilities management. With many professionals making the transition from healthcare facilities management to higher education facilities management, I asked John to discuss some of the similarities and differences. John said:
Start with the trend: (Like healthcare), higher ed is losing people as well, pretty quickly, to retirement. There are about 6,027 hospitals in the US and roughly 5,000 two and four-year public and private post-secondary education institutions. So there are 11,0000 institutions that are still brick and mortar. They both require strong talent in the facility realm.
There is a huge shortage in skilled trades and a coming shortage in senior leadership in the US (in each industry). As industries, we lost a big group of people, and some of the people that held on did not develop up-and-coming talent. We did not shepherd people in so that when opportunities came, we had viable candidates.
So what is the same between healthcare and academia? Both portfolios provide an opportunity to serve, to contribute to something much larger than oneself. It is very easy to see this in both portfolios.
In healthcare, get out of your office and walk the units, and you will see how you put up with 60-hour weeks. If you can’t find a sense of service walking in the pediatric unit, then you are on the wrong career path.
In higher education, it is the same. Go walk your campus and see your students and faculty, and staff. And more importantly, see your neighbors (the people who live near the university) use the spaces that you created and maintain. You will very quickly get that joy out of your service.
For me, it is less about the differences and more about the alignment and belief in the institution’s values and culture. Every hospital says they put patients first, but really not all do so in practice.
John is spot on with his assessment. Listen to the remainder to hear what John has to say about finding those institutions that align with your personal beliefs and values in the podcast titled Serving with a sense of purpose.
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