University Services welcomes new ideas with new position

As the new associate vice president for capital planning and project management, Michael Perkins will develop plans for construction projects.

by Kari Petrie

Michael Perkins said he found his dream job at the University.

As the new associate vice president for capital planning and project management, Perkins – who has a University bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration – oversees all University construction and renovation plans.

“(The job opportunity) has manifested itself perfectly,” he said.

Aside from supervising staff, Perkins’ responsibilities include developing plans for construction projects and providing leadership for all phases of facility construction.

“Construction is a hands-on, presence business,” Perkins said. “If you back away from Ö those leadership responsibilities, you’re going to have problems.”

For the past 16 years, Perkins served as vice president for design and construction worldwide at American Express. He said his job was similar to the work he will perform for the University.

Perkins said he completed nearly $800 million in projects during the past four years for American Express on time, under budget and within company expectations.

Kathleen O’Brien, vice president for University Services and to whom Perkins reports, said ensuring projects finish on time and within budget is a priority for the new administrator.

Under Eric Kruse, former vice president for University Services, the department was unable to complete several projects on time or on budget.

Coffman Union’s renovation was $22 million over budget and took two years longer to complete than planned. Walter Library was $7.5 million over budget and finished nearly one year after originally planned.

Kruse left the University in February 2002 to work for a private business.

According to an announcement issued by O’Brien in February 2002, University Services reorganized the structure, process and products of Facilities Management in order to restore trust and confidence in it.

The restructuring created Perkins’ position.

“We want to ensure that we are accountable for the dollars we receive,” O’Brien said. “That means getting buildings built on time and within budget – and that’s what Mike Perkins’ job will be.”

Kari Petrie covers the Board of Regents and administration. She welcomes comments at [email protected]