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Exploring Space Utilization: Q&A with Deborah Wylie

Amid higher education uncertainties, assessment of space utilization becomes even more critical. Industry leaders continue to explore tangible M&O efficiencies, engage in discussions on schedule optimization, ensuring spaces are right- sized, and unlock the myriad benefits that come with strategic space use and assignment.

In this Q&A, we connect with Program Director Deborah Wylie, to discuss how she refines her approach and gains insight into how a nuanced understanding of space utilization can enhance efficiency to new levels of effectiveness.

You have rightfully earned industry respect for expertise in capital planning and projects in higher education. Please share a little bit about the day in the life of a Program Director and how you get to use and apply your expertise to what you do.

“My expertise is valued by Cordoba and also by LACCD. Work days are extremely varied, from detailed review of new designs to meetings with college presidents on master planning and strategy. The large Build-LACCD team has the expertise to implement the capital project, enabling me to multi-task across numerous projects daily. This provides freedom for me to share my expertise quickly across numerous projects for maximum impact. This freedom allows for maximum impact, and I value the ability to provide the best value.”

How has your background and skillset shaped your approach on how you assist our clients such as LACCD?

“My varied experience in the CSU and UC systems have built a foundation across numerous project types in California public higher education. I am able to bring this experience to LACCD as a reference in addressing LACCD college-specific needs. Student success, student experience, safety and pride of place extend across all institutions. I am hopeful that I bring value to each project and every decision at LACCD.”

Is there a project you’re particularly proud of?

“I am very proud of the Broome Library at CSU Channel Islands. I joined in mid-stream, and the project overbid. My task was to deliver the project, retaining the design architect- Lord Norman Foster. Through intense collaboration, we delivered the project. It taught me the value working hard to achieve high quality. We agonized for days to achieve elegance with simple materials. The purity of the final product is a testament to the team, including Foster’s office and the general contractor.”

Why or what makes you proud to be a “Cordobian”?

“Cordoba has high expectations of all of us, yet they are also compassionate and have deep respect for work-life balance. They fully support us, as needed, to enable us to achieve these goals. The Cordoba mission of local, highly skilled and giving back in evident throughout the organization.”

Background of the Interviewee:

Deborah has more than 30 years of experience managing major capital planning design and construction. She has led numerous programs and projects, with experience in all three sectors of California public higher education. Deborah is recognized industry wide as an expert in strategizing and implementing projects to maximize campus benefits within schedule and budget.

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