U Services vice president to resign after 10 years

Liz Kohman

The man responsible for many of the University’s construction projects is leaving his position to be his own boss.

Vice President for University Services Eric Kruse announced his resignation in late December. Finishing his 10-year career at the University on Feb. 22, he will set out to be a facilities consultant for higher education institutions, schools and private companies.

“It was an extremely difficult decision to make. The University is a wonderful place to work,” said Kruse, 43. “The University wasn’t just a place to work, it was my alma mater.”

Kruse earned his bachelor’s degree in business from the University in 1981 and began his work at the University in 1991 as a facilities manager. He became the vice president for University Services in 1999 after serving as the interim vice president for one year.

In October, Kruse won a Distinguished Leadership Award from the Design-Build Institute of America. Kruse also coordinated Beautiful “U” Day and oversaw the construction and renovation of more than 30 buildings while he was vice president.

“We tend to forget it takes not only the vision but someone to do it,” said Florence Funk, the chief of staff in the office of the executive vice president and provost. “Eric is that person.”

Kruse said one of his biggest accomplishments was seeing the renaissance of the campus through the major construction projects and cleanup efforts during the past few years.

“Eric’s leadership during this time of unprecedented campus construction has been invaluable,” said University President Mark Yudof in a written statement. “Maintaining the level of excellence he set for construction projects will be one of our highest priorities in the coming months.”

The University administration is developing a transition plan for replacing Kruse.

During his tenure as vice president for University Services, Kruse worked with 2,500 employees in Facilities Management, Auxiliary Services, Housing and Residential Life, University Dining Services, Campus Health and Safety and Northrop Auditorium.

Kruse said he enjoyed working with University service staff.

“They are the people that make it happen every day,” said Kruse.

Steve Spehn, associate vice president for Facilities Management, said Kruse was always very approachable to employees.

“He encourages people to come and talk to him, and the people feel comfortable,” Spehn said. “He really understands facility issues. It gives people confidence.”

Kruse’s new job will take him to the University of Alaska, where he will help plan and implement the construction of two new science buildings.

“It’s an opportunity I really wanted to pursue at this time of my career,” Kruse said.

Liz Kohman welcomes comments at [email protected]