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While the University of Lethbridge is undoubtedly a place where students can develop their leadership skills, it is also where faculty and staff hone their talents.
That is certainly the case within the ever changing landscape of facilities management and one of the University’s own was recently recognized for it.
Chris Eagan, Executive Director of the Facilities Department, was given an international award for his leadership as well as his involvement in the Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers (APPA).
The Pacesetter Award is presented to an active APPA member who has demonstrated significant service to the organization.
Eagan said he was pleased and encouraged by the nod.
“It’s confirmation that I’m being recognized by my peers as being knowledgeable and able to lead in the complex environment that is facilities at a post-secondary institution,” he said. “It’s always nice to be recognized by your peers, and for your years of service and contribution.”
Although the award is a personal accolade for Eagan, he added that the recognition benefits the University as well.
“Among facilities professionals we’ll be viewed as a place to emulate, a place to look for coaching and mentoring. People will be calling us and asking ‘What are you guys doing in that area?’
“We’ll be treated as a leader because the expectation is that we are leading. And we are.”
He added that the U of L will earn credibility for its management of campus facilities.
“It shows that we are a well-run campus, facilities-wise. We’re modern, we’re conserving energy, and we’re providing appropriate leadership both within facilities and within the industry.”
Vice-President (Finance and Administration) Nancy Walker said she was delighted to hear that Eagan was being recognized for his leadership role, and for his contributions to APPA.
“Receiving an international award reflects very well on Chris and the University of Lethbridge,” she said.
In addition to his long-term participation on the APPA Membership Committee, Eagan is also a member of the Rocky Mountain APPA mentoring program called the 14ers (fourteeners) Club.
With years of experience as an engineer and facilities leader, some might peg Eagan as the mentor but he is in fact the one being mentored.
“Even at this point in my career, facilities management is pretty complex,” he said. “There’s still a lot to learn.”
Eagan said coaching from his mentor and former boss at the University of Regina, Dave Button, has allowed him to understand the leadership principle of being ‘situationally appropriate’ while adapting and applying standards and policies within the multifaceted operations and project environment of a facilities operation at a university.
Eagan also credits APPA for his knowledge and continued learning of facilities operations.
“APPA is a valuable networking and information sharing association which also provides excellent training for facilities leaders and staff.”
The Pacesetter wasn’t the first big award for Eagan. He also holds an international award for project management leadership - the 2005 Construction Owners Project Leadership Award - for his work on the construction of Canada Summer Games Support Facilities at the University of Regina.
To give an idea of how prestigious that award is, the previous year’s winner won for the post 9-11 reconstruction of the U.S. Pentagon.
U of L Communications and Public Relations Contact:
Bob Cooney, Communications and PR Officer (403) 382-7173