FFAS Evolves and Moves! – Updates from AVP Justin Walter

Oct. 30, 2023

An update from Assistant Vice President for Finance and Administrative Services, Justin Walter:

The staff of Finance and Administrative Services (FFAS) are the in-house Facilities professionals for finance, procurement, and IT. We strive to be strategic, innovative, and transparent in supporting our partners in Facilities and across the University. Over the past year FFAS has made several changes to enhance the work we do for you.

FFAS developed and implemented a strategic staffing plan over the past year. The team was restructured from four groups into three to provide enhanced coordination between our finance and procurement functions and to provide more opportunities for cross-functional knowledge sharing and skills building.  Besides changing the structure, the team is also in the process of growing, with new positions added to address increased workload and to provide the capacity to streamline processes and introduce new analytical capabilities.

The new Facilities Capital Finance & Procurement (FCFP) group was formed from a portion of the former Facilities Finance Capital Projects (FFCP) team led by Anita Misri and a portion of the former Facilities Procurement Office (FPO) led by Mike Karl. Anita has been promoted to Executive Director to lead the newly integrated FCFP team that will provide finance and procurement support primarily to the Office of Capital Projects and the Office of the University Architect. 

The new Facilities Budget Procurement and Analysis (FBPA) group merges together the former Facilities Business Office (FBO) led by Marci Gnandt with components of the former FFCP and FPO teams. FBPA retains its responsibilities for the Facilities operating budget, materials management, and various other financial and administrative support functions. It also adds finance and procurement support for Facilities Operations and Engineering and Campus Energy, including the management of Major Maintenance funding. Marci has been promoted to Executive Director to lead this new team.

In Facilities Information Technology (FIT) we’ve filled some critical vacancies and added to capacity with a new FTE for Technical Support Services (a subgroup within FIT). FIT Director Eva Connolly and I have also just begun efforts to develop a technology roadmap that intends to better link our new tech initiatives/projects with our most pressing business needs across Facilities. There will be more to come from this important effort that is part of the broader Facilities strategic plan.

Part of the tech roadmap is enhancing data analytics and reporting. New Manager of Analytics and Business Insights, Gerard Roldan started in FFAS at the end of September. He will be working with our team and partners across Facilities and the University to stand up new dashboards and reports that will make critical business information accessible for strategic decision-making. 

While we have elevated people into new roles and had new folks join the team, we also have to say goodbye to one of our long-time team members, Mike Karl. Mike, our Director of Procurement, has been a valued member of the Facilities team for more than 30 years. Mike has provided his procurement expertise to countless projects over his tenure, doing his part to help reshape and grow our beautiful campus. We wish Mike all the best in his well-deserved retirement.

Last, but not least, FFAS moved into a new home office at 600 Alexander Road. The team has made this move to provide more office space capacity in MacMillan and allow Facilities to grow. I encourage you to come out to 600 Alexander to visit your partners in FFAS and to see our new space! Special thanks to the Real Estate Office team and our own Barbara Bell for facilitating a successful move.

Group photo of the FFAS department

The FFAS staff gather in front of their new office space during their 2023 all-staff retreat.