Published: Dec. 15, 2017

Varsity Lake and Bridge.

Varsity Lake and Bridge

The role of David Danielson, assistant vice chancellor for facilities operations and services, involves leading roughly 400 staff members who are responsible for ensuring that general-fund campus buildings and grounds are operating smoothly, that the lights come on, the heaters work, flower beds are maintained, buildings are clean, trees are healthy and faucets flow smoothly—all of which is done with an eye on sustainability.

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Facilities Operations and Services David Danielson

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Facilities Operations and Services David Danielson

Retiring this month after five-plus years at CU Boulder and a 38-year career overall in the higher-education facilities management realm, working at places like Duke and Emory, Danielson’s last day in the office will be Dec. 20.

He recently sat down with CU Boulder Today to discuss his time on campus and the changes he’s seen in the facilities management world in nearly four decades of service.

What are you most proud of during your time at CU Boulder?

There are several things I’m happy we accomplished. Helping to achieve a successful Grounds and Recycling Operations Center project and creating and hiring a sustainability program manager and campus energy manager have been key to our success on several fronts, particularly in our sustainability efforts.

We also created additional shifts for our maintenance and trades group, which has helped improve our ability to serve the campus and conduct many operations while building users aren’t present. And, of course, I’ve been able to work with some very wonderful people.   

What has been your favorite part of your job?  

I love walking around in the buildings and seeing the Facilities Management employees working and doing good things. I am very proud of the work ethic of all of the staff.

How has Facilities Management evolved during your time at CU Boulder and your career, and what new technologies are on the horizon that will have a positive impact?

Facilities Management is now using technology to make data-driven decisions. Building analytics and artificial intelligence will be here before you know it. Mobile dispatching is allowing Facilities Management to get the work to the employee much quicker. Material acquisition and distribution is also becoming more effective and efficient.  

Do you have a favorite building/area on campus or little-known facilities fact?

I really enjoy the Varsity Lake area. We were able to get funding to update both the east and west ends of this beautiful campus site. The view from the McKenna Languages side is outstanding!  

Which initiatives most excite you regarding the future of CU Boulder?

I think the academic and strategic facilities visioning projects are going to be very important for the campus. Defining who we are and determining how we are going to get there will be significant. These efforts will create the future initiatives for how we invest in our faculty, staff, students and facilities.    

What’s next for you?

My wife and I are moving to Indianapolis to be near our kids and grandkids. I love to do building projects, and I have about a year’s worth of projects scheduled. We also like to travel. Working at six different universities in five different states, we have many friends in different parts of the country we want to visit.

Working at CU Boulder has been the highlight of my career. Never have I had such a great team along with the financial resources to do what needed to be done. Plus, the campus aesthetics are pretty cool! I could not have asked for a better place to spend the final years of my work life. I feel truly blessed to have had this opportunity.