University names interim vice president of operations

Gerald Carlson, director of maintenance, has been selected as former Vice President of Operations Mike Gardner’s interim replacement.

During his past five years on campus, Carlson would often step in when Gardner was out of town.

When Gardner left, he suggested Carlson temporarily fill the position. University President Bobby Fong wants Butler’s next president to decide who will fill the position permanently.

Carlson was chosen for the position because of his 35 years of experience in higher education, along with the time he has been at Butler.

“We are the biggest division in the university with 135 overall employees, and our budget is a little over $10.5 million a year,” Carlson said. “We take care of the life safety of the university through BUPD.”

BUPD isn’t the only part of the university that falls under his jurisdiction.

Operations are also composed of maintenance services, building services, planning design and construction, plus BUPD, which also consists of various environmental programs.

He is the person making sure the campus keeps itself “green” and the toilets flush every day.

The new school spirit-themed pansies that were planted around campus were done under Carlson’s direction.

All of the planting around campus is also environmentally friendly because it is designed in such a way that it does not need to be irrigated.

Most campuses around the country do not have a vice president of operations, but the position has been beneficial both now and in the past.

“They represent the largest number of staff that are key to the day to day functions of the university,” said Andrew Ryan, assistant chief of police. “The VP of operations is sitting at the same level of authority as other big decision makers on campus. It’s good to have someone with control.”

Ryan said the position needs someone with a basic knowledge of the subject to help explain what needs to be done and what needs funding.

Tulips and toilets aren’t the only things in Carlson’s job description. He is also involved in the development and creation of new buildings on campus.

Carlson works on efforts such as planning future buildings-to-be.

“We do a lot to lessen our carbon footprint through recycling and LEED certified buildings,” Carlson said.

Carlson said students should care about who fills the vice president of operations position.

“I would think it’s important because part of our mission is to take care of the physical learning and comfort of the students,” Carlson said. “We are an advocate for them.”

According to Ryan, the importance of Carlson’s job will continue to grow as the university continues to expand in square footage.

He said it is important to have someone accountable for taking care of the day-to-day functions at the university.

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