Associate Vice President for Facilities Management Dave Shepard will retire at the end of July after 16 years at William & Mary.
“In his 16 years with the College, Dave’s leadership has made a remarkable difference in how we manage all areas of facilities,” said Vice President for Administration Anna Martin. “In short he has shepherded (pun intended) a transformative improvement in the way we do business.”
A member of the United States Navy for 27 years, Shepard came to the College in 1998 as associate director for maintenance.
His first impression on campus was not a shock, but rather one of familiarity.
“[My impression] was how much the job and the environment was like what I had done in the Navy,” he said. “Coming to the College, it was not so much getting a handle on the job as far as what the actual work was as getting to know the people, the relationships between people, and how the College works.”
Immediately upon arriving, Shepard saw room for improvement.
“We had a lot of work to do as far as bringing responsiveness back to what we did and being able to respond to either really minor work or larger projects,” he said.
That increase in responsiveness has come about during his tenure due in some part, according to Shepard, to an increase in resources.
“When you look at the growth of square footage that we’ve had, there are some really great facilities, including the Integrated Science Center, the Jamestown residence halls, schools of business and education, new additions to the law library, and the new fraternities, that have helped us spread our maintenance resources over some of the older facilities. The administration has also been very supportive in increasing our funding base which allowed us to begin a preventative maintenance program and begin to focus on needed repairs before they became emergencies."
While the new facilities are the most noticeable change on campus over the past decade, Shepard says that’s not what’s most important to him.
“I look at facilities from a perspective of safety, maintenance, grounds, and custodial. The routine day to day effort needs to be looked at continually to make sure we are delivering our services efficiently and really effectively making the best use of our resources,” he said.
William & Mary is renowned for having one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation, but Shepard insists that he’s more proud of its functionality than its appearance.
“If you look at grounds and how we look, that’s always been a point of attraction for people. Where I come in is if somebody walks into a classroom, walks into a lab, or goes back to their room in a residence hall, they don’t know the building exists, there’s not a problem. They walk in and their focus is on what they’re supposed to be doing, teaching and learning, not ‘the light doesn’t work’ or ‘the drain’s plugged’; I want the building to become invisible to their needs.”
He does admit that the facilities being in proper working order is somewhat self-serving.
“If I don’t get a phone call from somebody it’s a good day, it really is.”
William & Mary has begun a search for a new AVP for facilities to adopt Shepard’s role in the community he says he will miss.
“It’s the people I’ve come to know and the friends I’ve worked with, people I’ve become friends with,” he said. “Everybody’s been really professional. There is a great group of people here at the College that works together towards a common goal.”