Operations and Finance Restructuring Update: New Associate Vice-President, Real Estate and Partnerships

Debbie, wearing a suit and smiling against a backdrop of trees and greenery
Debbie Martin will transition to the new AVP, Real Estate and Partnerships.

Following the announcement in March, further details of the restructuring within the Operations and Finance division are now available. Led by Saher Fazilat, Vice-President (Operations and Finance), the Operations and Finance division plays a key role in supporting and enabling McMaster’s academic and research missions. The division ensures that the required finances, facilities, and infrastructure are available to enable our students, staff, teachers, and researchers to thrive and excel, that the campus environment is well-maintained and sustainable, and that the workplace culture is psychologically safe and inclusive for all members of our community.

Strategic Revenue Generation

In support of McMaster’s goal to diversify and expand its revenue in support of the academic and research missions, the role of Associate Vice-President, Real Estate and Partnerships, has been established. This position will oversee the development and implementation of a dedicated real estate strategy for the institution, including supporting the long-term development of McMaster Innovation Park.

As previously announced, the new AVP will also oversee the University’s critically important ancillary services, including Hospitality Services, the Campus Store, and Media Production Services. Parking Services will be separated from Security Services and will also now report to the new AVP, Real Estate and Partnerships, bringing together the various revenue generating functions under one portfolio and championing the ongoing focus on operational and service excellence for the campus community.

As we continue to ensure the overall safety and security of our university community,  Security Services will now be one of the units reporting to the AVP and Chief Human Resources Officer, Wanda McKenna who has overseen health and safety programming at McMaster for more than a decade.  The shift of Parking Services to the AVP Real Estate and Partnerships will allow the Security Services team to focus entirely on campus safety needs.

AVP Appointment and Searches

Debbie Martin, the current AVP and Chief Facilities Officer, will transition into the new AVP, Real Estate and Partnerships role effective June 1st. Debbie will bring to bear her long-standing expertise in property and project management, her senior leadership experience, and her financial acumen in this strategically important position. The search for a new Chief Facilities Officer will begin shortly and Debbie will retain responsibility and oversight for Facility Services in the interim as the Real Estate and Partnerships office is established.

This search will proceed alongside the search for a new AVP and Chief Financial Officer, which will be launched imminently. Lilian Scime was welcomed back to McMaster on April 10, 2023 and is serving as Interim Chief Financial Officer until the search for a permanent AVP is concluded.

Looking to the Future

Detailed transition plans are being shared with all Operations and Finance units impacted by this restructuring. As members of our campus community know, the work of the Operations and Finance division is critical to the successful operation of the University and to our ongoing and future success. These structural changes ensure that the division is organized in the optimal way to support McMaster’s academic and research missions.

Work is underway on a new vision, mission, and values for the Operations and Finance division. Once finalized this will further inform the strategic direction and ensure the best possible support for the University community. Updates will continue to be provided as the various searches proceed and as the refreshed vision and strategy documents are finalized and launched.