A new vice president for facilities management and planning will take over the role in December, the university announced in a news release Nov. 2.
Benjamin Kuo, currently an associate vice president for facilities management at Cornell University, will replace interim Vice President for Facilities Management and Planning Gregory Simmons. The previous VP, Robin Morey, took an executive role at Emory University in July.
Kuo will guide the university’s master plan for Georgetown’s campus as vice president for planning and facilities management. He is also set to oversee the university’s maintenance and sustainability initiatives as well as its construction projects, transportation services and day to day operations, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Geoff Chatas wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Kuo previously worked as Cornell’s environmental health and safety director for continuity, emergency and fire management and as its interim director for transportation services, according to Chatas. In this capacity, Kuo worked to transform the university’s emergency management response with a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Before his time at Cornell, Kuo worked corporate and engineering roles at Toyota.
Kuo said his prior experience both at Cornell and with Toyota would help him focus on innovative aspects of facilities, which will improve the quality of university life for both students and staff.
“In addition to my experience at Cornell University, my background with Toyota has helped me to bring a sense of innovative problem solving and consensus building to the teams that I’ve led,” Kuo wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Higher education institutions must balance fiscal responsibility with ensuring that our existing facilities (including our green spaces) have the appropriate stewardship while achieving future-forward aspirations of student life, teaching, and research.”
Kuo’s breadth of relevant experience will make him a good fit for the job, according to Chatas.
“He will be a great partner as we strive to deepen engagement with our neighbors and the District of Columbia and plan responsibly in ways that strengthen both our university and our impact within Washington,” Chatas wrote in the news release.
Kuo hopes to create a tight-knit community within the department, focusing on a commitment to the university’s well-being. He plans on reaching out to the community to understand the areas of improvement that his team will be tackling.
“Although I will lead a large department, I hope to foster a tight-knit team, instill a sense of dedication and service towards the campus community, and strive for continued improvements,” Kuo wrote. “We will be reaching out to various stakeholders across the campus community to understand their aspirations as well as learn about opportunities for us to improve in order to develop shared expectations moving forward.”
Kuo lived in Arlington, Va., in the early 1990s after he graduated from Carnegie Mellon University and, as a former resident of the area, Kuo said he is amazed by the progress the area has made and looks forward to contributing to the continued improvement of the neighborhood.
“It’s amazed me how different the District is decades later from when I lived here, and I’m excited to be a part of Georgetown and the District’s continued future development as part of the Georgetown University Campus Plan (2017-2036) that was recently approved,” Kuo wrote. “Georgetown is a world-class institution with a vibrant university community and historic campus … I look forward to coming full circle and having my family call this area home.”