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Penn official, Kemel Dawkins, named associate VP for facilities
STANFORD -- Kemel W. Dawkins, director of construction and project management at the University of Pennsylvania, has been appointed associate vice president for facilities management at Stanford.
The associate vice president is responsible for all facilities-related activities on campus, including engineering, grounds, maintenance, utilities, parking and project management.
The appointment follows a nationwide search of both non-profit and for-profit organizations, according to Chief Financial Officer Peter Van Etten.
"I am very pleased that we have been able to attract an individual as accomplished and creative as Kemel," Van Etten said. He also said that Dawkins, 42, has "extensive experience both in the private sector construction world and in the complex university environment. But, above all, he has exceptional leadership abilities."
Dawkins, who will direct a staff of 300 employees and an annual operating budget of $52 million, will begin his new position April 15.
Van Etten said that Dawkins' primary objectives would be to "provide leadership in addressing the significant challenges Stanford faces in facilities areas related to capital planning, earthquake repairs, energy management, and ongoing operations and maintenance issues."
Among the initial responsibilities Van Etten set out in the position's job description are review of the university's practices in controlling the cost of new construction; strong emphasis on meeting the Medical School's facilities needs; development of close relationships among the various constituencies of facilities-related services; and working with other officers on development of a long-range capital plan for new facilities, infrastructure, plant rehabilitation and parking.
A 1972 graduate of Princeton in political science who earned the distinction of University Scholar, Dawkins joined Penn in 1984 as a senior methods and procedures analyst. In that role, he helped the senior vice president develop the university's five-year, $500-million capital planning process. He also developed an annual process to assure attention to capital project requirements for individual schools.
After three years, Dawkins was promoted to his current position, in which he is responsible for management of all capital construction. His staff of 20 professionals directs more than 100 projects totaling in excess of $150 million. Stanford currently has 30 large projects worth $280 million in some stage of planning, and another 52 small projects totaling $10 million.
Dawkins said his new job, which encompasses additional responsibilities, "would provide an exciting challenge."
"Stanford is a great university. I look forward to serving there," he said.
Early priorities will include focusing on issues relating to costs and timing of capital projects, he said.
Dawkins said he wants to provide "consistent leadership to the facilities area," which has gone through several reorganizations in recent years. He also plans to look closely at the design of the decentralized zone maintenance system.
"I'm very customer driven. I want to see what recipients of the service have to say about it," Dawkins said.
Barbara Butterfield, Stanford vice president for faculty and staff services, who worked with Dawkins at Penn for four years, said the new Stanford recruit is a "collaborator with a great view of the importance of mutual success. He understands university processes and how to work them to everyone's benefit," she said.
After graduating from Princeton, he spent two years in the U.S. Air Force as a lieutenant, commanding an air base transportation squad of more than 400 individuals and 200 vehicles.
Before joining Penn, Dawkins served for nine years as chief financial officer of a construction management firm in the Philadelphia area.
Dawkins' outside activities include service as trustee vice chair of the Friends Select School, an independent private Quaker school he attended in Philadelphia. He serves on the boards of the University of Pennsylvania Faculty Club and the Handi-Soft Foundation, which trains handicapped individuals.
He also is a member of the board of governors of the Citizen's Coalition for Energy Efficiency, which monitors rates and rate setting on behalf of Philadelphia consumers, and of the West Philadelphia Partnership, a coalition of university and community members addressing business development and educational activities in the area.
Dawkins is married to Susan Taylor, a dermatologist on the staff at Pennsylvania Hospital and affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, both in Philadelphia. They have a 4-month- old daughter, Morgan Elizabeth.
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