New Physical Plant Director
Washington College President Sheila Bair today announced that Valerie RiChard, whose 27-year career in facilities management has included stints at the University of Chicago, Notre Dame, and most recently Virginia Commonwealth University, will become the College’s Director of the Physical Plant. RiChard succeeds Reid Raudenbush, who after 26 years in the role is shifting to the newly created position of Construction Project Manager, where he will focus on the College’s ongoing capital projects.
“I’m excited we have recruited Valerie RiChard to Washington College as we continue to grow and evolve,” says President Bair. “Her extensive experience in major facilities management, coupled with her academic background in design, sociology, and business, made her a uniquely outstanding candidate for this position.
“I’m also pleased that Reid Raudenbush, who has served so capably and patiently in this often-unsung role, will continue to contribute his depth of talent and experience to the College,” she said. “I can’t think of anymore more capable to oversee our major projects in the offing, including the new boathouse and phase two of the new academic building.”
RiChard, who earned her bachelor’s degree in fine arts and advertising design, and her master’s in interdisciplinary studies (business and sociology), both from Wayne State University, is a PhD candidate in sociological theory, also at Wayne State. She began her career in facilities maintenance at Wayne State as a stationary engineer, working her way up to become the director of plant operations and maintenance. Since then, she has held positions as director of facilities operations at the University of Notre Dame, where she oversaw more than 350 employees and an operating budget of $14 million, as director of maintenance at the University of Chicago, and most recently as executive director of the physical plant at Virginia Commonwealth University. She also completed a four-year apprenticeship in stationary engineering and holds a first-class stationary engineer license.
As director of the physical plant at Washington College, RiChard will be in charge of the overall operation, repair, and maintenance of all aspects of the College’s physical systems, as well as the safety of all campus buildings. She will lead the College’s housekeeping, maintenance, utility, and grounds staffs in effectively executing their day-to-day work maintaining the campus, responding to issues, and progressing on the College’s deferred maintenance projects.
Raudenbush will now focus exclusively on the College’s continuing program of new construction and major renovations. Those projects include the second phase of the new academic building on Washington Avenue—now called Cromwell Hall—which will house the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and the Department of Education. Other upcoming capital projects include the new Hodson Boathouse and waterfront recreational facility to better accommodate the College’s rowing and sailing teams and provide more waterfront access to students, faculty, and staff; a multi-phase renovation of the Cain Athletic Center; and ASPIRE, A Systematic Plan for Infrastructure Renewal and Efficiency, which will encompass campus-wide systems and infrastructure upgrades and sustainability initiatives.