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2018-2019 Officers Biographies, Platform Statements and Videos


Vice President for Information and Research

Vice President for Professional Development

Ruthann Manlet, University of Minnesota Dan Gearan, New England College Beth Clark, Penn State University


Ruthann Manlet
University of Minnesota

Ruthann Manlet has been employed by the University of Minnesota (UM) for more than 33 years, where she has been involved exclusively in facilities management. Ruthann currently serves as associate director for one of the five geographical areas on the Twin Cities campus. She is responsible for the overall facilities management of 36 buildings containing approximately 3 million square feet, and for managing 112 employees. During her career, Ruthann has held many different positions from trainer to building services director. Over the years, she has utilized her enthusiasm, passion, and leadership and management skills to implement and oversee many initiatives that provide significant benefits to her team members and to UM.

Ruthann continually demonstrates her understanding of the importance of honest and open communication among and between all stakeholders. She has been instrumental in developing, promoting, and implementing many cost-saving, safety-enhancement, and energy-efficiency programs for UM.

Ruthann understands that the success of any organization is dependent on management’s commitment of resources—including time, funding, and a strong strategic plan—to the recruitment, development, and promotion of dedicated employees. She has set the standard for being proactive, rather than reactive, in all her responsibilities.

Ruthann has been an active member of the Midwest Region of APPA (MAPPA) and APPA since 2005, serving in many capacities including MAPPA president, professional development chair, and junior and senior representative to APPA. Her current role with MAPPA is as the Minnesota representative on the membership committee. She passed the Educational Facilities Professional (EFP) examination in 2010 and the Certified Educational Facilities Professional (CEFP) examination in 2012.

Ruthann is an active member of APPA and has served in many capacities, including Vice Chair and Chair of Senior Representative to the Executive Committee. She currently serves as a committee member of the Mexico Initiative, and the APPA Mentoring Initiative, as well as being a Supervisor’s Toolkit trainer, EFP and CEFP instructor, APPA U faculty member, and an emcee of the APPA Annual Conference and APPA U. She also currently serves as APPA Vice President for Professional Development.

Ruthann is a regular trainer and presenter for APPA and various APPA regions. She had been a Chair and Host Chair for regional and annual conferences. She has received numerous awards from both organizations, including the MAPPA President’s Award in 2008 and 2014, APPA’s Pacesetter Award in 2014, the APPA President’s Award in 2015, and the Credentialing Facilitator Award in 2016 and 2017.

Ruthann is also involved in various volunteer activities, including working with the Special Olympics as well as serving as staff advisor for Phi Beta Chi sorority.

Platform Statement

I have been involved with facilities management for 30-plus years at the University of Minnesota. I have held many positions, including my current position of associate director for facilities management. I have learned many things over the years and realize that we must keep learning, as well as welcome and embrace change. We could never have imagined the changes I have witnessed since I started in this industry, but it is also apparent to me that not only will these changes continue, but the rate of change will accelerate as technology continues to affect the way we learn and the way we must do our jobs. If elected as APPA President-Elect, I will strive to see that this dynamic organization continues to provide opportunities to all the members who have been so valuable to me. I feel that my experience, energy, and passion for the industry will be reflected in the way that I communicate the message that APPA delivers to its current and prospective members.

I am committed to providing ethical leadership that furthers the vision of APPA, and supports elevating the facilities management profession. The rapidly evolving challenges facing our industry and our organization will be addressed, and solutions that reflect the values of APPA and its members will continue to be developed.

We will continue to develop programs that educate our members and promote our profession so that we will attract and retain qualified professionals to our industry. The way we deliver our message to our current membership and prospective members is changing rapidly. We will work to use technology to communicate our vision and deliver our programs to all members so we can keep current with their changing needs.

The five points of APPA’s Strategic Plan 2020, which are to engage our stakeholders, broaden our membership, develop future leaders, enhance professional development opportunities, and expand research, will be a priority. APPA’s forward-thinking philosophy will help ensure that this organization will continue to be a respected leader in our industry.   

I am proud to be associated with this organization, and it has been my privilege to serve as your Vice President of Professional Development. I will continue to be an enthusiastic advocate for APPA, its mission, and all its members. The friends I have made and the professional contacts I have developed would not have been possible without my association with APPA. The overall APPA experience has been a valuable resource for me, and as President-Elect I will continue to work hard to make these opportunities available to all professionals in our industry. I accept the challenges that this position will present, and if elected, I promise to commit the time and effort required to move APPA to the next level.

Shelton Riley
Texas Christian University

Shelton D. Riley Jr. currently serves as director of facility services/physical plant at Texas Christian University (TCU) and as the university fleet manager. He is a hands-on servant-leader who creates strategic alliances with organizational leaders to effectively align with and support key business initiatives. He builds and retains high-performance teams by hiring, developing, and motivating skilled professionals. He is an accomplished executive with demonstrated ability to deliver mission-critical results. He has many years with solid experience managing all levels of multiple projects, including budgeting and administration.

He served as vice president of Nesbitt Professional Services for more than 20 years, where he was responsible for the overall management of a staff of over 200 across the Dallas-Fort Worth area. In May 2000 he was recruited by TCU as assistant director of facility services. At TCU he monitors project budgets, and develops and manages the department’s annual operations budget. He has helped develop standards and shared best practices across the university, including Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Under his direction, TCU became the first university in Texas to obtain the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) with Honors.

Shelton is a graduate of APPA’s Institute for Facilities Management, the Leadership Academy, and the APPA U Graduate Program, and holds the Certified Educational Facilities Professional (CEFP) credential. In 2016, he graduated from TCU with a Master of Liberal Arts degree. Shelton has presented and spoken with APPA at the local, state, regional, and national levels. He has also presented with ISSA and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). He has served as president of Dallas Forth-Worth APPA (DFWAPPA) and the Central Region of APPA (CAPPA), and on the boards of directors with DFWAPPA, Texas APPA (TAPPA), CAPPA, and APPA. He has also served on several committees at the national, regional, state, and local levels.

In 2012, Shelton received his first APPA President’s Award. In 2013 and 2014 he was awarded the DFWAPPA President’s Award and the Facilities Exemplary Leadership Award. Shelton received the CAPPA Newsletter Award in 2014 and the CAPPA Distinguished Member Award in 2015. In 2017, he received the APPA Meritorious Service Award. He is currently serving on the APPA Mentoring Task Force as the CAPPA representative. Shelton has been recognized for his tireless contributions to APPA, CAPPA, TAPPA, and DFWAPPA by serving in leadership positions, on committees, and creating professional advancement efforts for others; and is witnessed by those who see him walk the walk daily, serving TCU with distinction.

Platform Statement

I believe I will be able to contribute to APPA’s Vision, Mission, and Strategic Plan because of the core values and principles that have influenced my life. There is no doubt that the principles and values I was taught as a young man by my parents have guided me through life. The virtues of being honest, respecting and treating others fairly, being patient, always doing my best, and encouraging others, have likewise been reemphasized and supported by APPA while attending the Institute for Facilities Management and the Leadership Academy, and while obtaining my Certified Educational Facilities Professional (CEFP) credential. They have been the basis for establishing meaningful goals and a vision for my life. My personal mission statement is, “To honor God by faithfully serving Him, my family, and those placed in my path by being an encouragement to all and a servant-leader with Christian-based values.”

It is essential to articulate a clear vision in order to bring others on board. I have high expectations for myself and believe this is a core component in leading others. I take pride in knowing that I can bring people together to work and focus on a task by providing the training and tools necessary to accomplish a desired goal. I firmly believe that leadership is determined by your ability to listen; and vision is dependent on your relationship with God!

It is important that we continue to engage all stakeholders. Our combined knowledge is essential for our success as an organization. We must continue to develop new ways to train needed replacements due to the tsunami of baby boomers retiring and leaving our profession. Training must prepare today’s employees for advancement into vacated administrative positions through internships and mentoring. We must also continue to expand our methods of research and to keep the Body of Knowledge current. How? Relationship-building is the most important thing we do! We can capture every metric, offer the best training, and lay out the greatest communication, marketing, and technology plans, but if we don’t build strong relationships we will not build this organization into the one we all desire. It’s all about the people and how we interact with them. We must become better servant-leaders. Everyone wants to feel respected, appreciated, and loved! I have been blessed over the years with wonderful relationships in every part of my life, and I look forward to serving you.

Vice President for Information and Research

Dan Gearan
New England College

Dan Gearan serves as assistant vice president for capital and facilities management at New England College (NEC). Dan is responsible for planning, design, and construction of new facilities as well as capital renewal of existing facilities. In addition, he is responsible for facilities management, energy management, and sustainability. Dan earned his B.S. in industrial technology from the University of Southern Maine. He has earned credentials as a Certified Educational Facilities Professional (CEFP) from APPA and a Certified Construction Contract Administrator (CCCA) from Construction Specifications Institute (CSI).

Dan has worked in higher education facilities management for over 30 years. Early in his career he worked managerial roles in construction, commercial facilities management, and for Facilities Resource Management Company. He spent 10 years at the University of New England in various facilities leadership roles before moving to Saint Joseph’s College to serve as director of facilities management for an additional 10 years. Dan then moved to the University of Southern Maine as the associate executive director of facilities management before taking his current role at NEC.

Dan has been involved in APPA for almost all of his career. He has served as the Eastern Region of APPA (ERAPPA) Representative on the APPA Information and Research Committee for the past 3 years. At the regional level, Dan served on the Technology and Communication Committee for 7 years.

He was elected vice president for technology and communication where he served two terms. He was then elected president-elect and served as president and past president, which also made him the ERAPPA Junior and Senior Representative on the APPA Board of Directors. At the chapter level in the Northern New England Chapter of ERAPPA (NNECERAPPA), Dan served in a number of board positions including president. He has hosted two successful on-campus chapter meetings. He also developed and served as the first chair of NNECERAPPA’s Technology and Communications Committee. Dan was the chair of the host committee for the 2009 ERAPPA meeting in Portland, Maine, and currently serves on the ERAPPA 2018 host committee.

In recognition of his contributions to APPA, Dan has earned a number of awards. At the chapter level, he has won NNECERAPPA’s highest award, the Meritorious Service Award. At ERAPPA, he has won merit awards for service as a host committee chair and board service. He has earned two ERAPPA President’s Awards. At the APPA level, he has received the Pacesetter Award.

Platform Statement

APPA has made a positive impact throughout my career. When I first started in higher education facilities management, I was fortunate enough to win an Eastern Region of APPA (ERAPPA) scholarship to the APPA Institute for Facilities Management. I found in attending the first session of the Institute, that APPA provided the information that would bring the technical and managerial aspects of my higher education and construction background together to make me a better facilities manager. Throughout my career I have had opportunities to volunteer to serve on committees and boards at the chapter, regional, and international levels. I have seen this not only as a way to give back to the organization that has helped me so much, but also as a way to hone my leadership skills. I have been fortunate to serve with a number of individuals and groups from whom I have learned so much and who have given to me more than I could ever give back.

As Vice President for Information and Research (I&R), I want to continue to foster, grow, and make available the great body of knowledge that APPA and its members develop. APPA has a tremendous amount of resources that are available to support the needs of the membership. Making that information easily accessible will be a goal if I am elected to this position.

Big data is being discussed in so many areas of our institutions. Tools and products like the Facilities Performance Indicators (FPI), Thought Leaders Series, research projects, Effective and Innovative Practices award winners, Facilities Manager magazine articles, and many more, are all components of the big data APPA produces. We need to find ways of harnessing this data so it can be easily used in our daily work, by integrating and adapting it so it can be presented in a meaningful way to the decision makers on our campuses.

APPA’s Strategic Plan 2020 calls for a focus on communication, marketing, technology, metrics and measures to define success, and resource management. These are all dependent upon and affected by the work of the I&R Committee. Understanding the roles, relationships, and responsibilities of all the committees will be important in focusing the committee’s efforts.  

I am honored to be considered for Vice President for Information and Research. If elected, I will strive to continue the level of excellence that has been demonstrated and is expected of a successful member of the APPA Board.

David Handwork
Arkansas State University

David Handwork, PE serves as assistant vice chancellor for facilities management at Arkansas State University (AState), overseeing building maintenance, custodial services, grounds maintenance, campus energy management and sustainability, and capital planning and construction. David was appointed to this role in May 2016, after serving in the same interim role assigned in September 2015. David’s prior service at AState includes 4 years as director of planning design and construction, 8 years as director of engineering services, and 2 years as campus facilities engineer. A sampling of his professional accomplishments at AState includes consolidation of campus energy management controls to a single platform, establishment of a campus district chilled water system from scratch, direct management of over $140 million of capital construction, and leading a successful utility reduction exceeding 25% (normalized per gross square foot) for FY 2008.

Prior to joining AState, David worked for 6 years in facilities and operations management at Riceland Foods, and for 2 years as manufacturing engineering manager at Camfil Farr.

David’s commitment to the facilities management profession is reflected in his engagement in APPA, the Central Region of APPA (CAPPA), AAFA (Arkansas APPA Chapter), and ASHRAE. He served as an AAFA officer from 2007-10, including as AAFA president for 2009.

He also served on the CAPPA executive committee from 2011-17, hosting the 2013 annual meeting, and as 2014 CAPPA president. David works with ASHRAE as a subcommittee voting member on Standard 90.1, current chair of Technical Committee 9.7 Education Facilities, and as an APPA representative to the Multidisciplinary Task Group on Effective Building Operation.

David’s service to APPA includes membership in the Standards and Codes Council (2008-present), APPA Standard 1000 Work Group, Facilities Informatics Work Group, and the Internship Task Force. David has written six articles for Facilities Manager magazine, covering ASHRAE and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) topics. He is an Institute for Facilities Management graduate, and his APPA honors include the 2012 APPA Pacesetter Award, and the 2010 Award for Excellence. David has been the principle AState contributor and manager for the APPA Facilities Performance Indicators (FPI) annual survey.

David is a registered professional engineer; he earned his B.S. in agricultural engineering from Arkansas State University, and his M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Arkansas.

Platform Statement

I believe the facilities management industry is entering a brave new age, and the transition has already begun. If so fortunate and honored to be elected as your 2018-21 Vice President for Information and Research (I&R), I commit to serving the APPA membership with committee’s primary charge of “fostering the growth and dissemination” of professional knowledge to prepare for what has been framed as the “Augmented Age.”

Educational facilities managers are resilient leaders when presented with any challenge before them. Contemporary challenges include the topics of evolving institutional revenue and funding models, budget challenges, the competition between online versus in-classroom delivery, sustainable campuses, the student debt crisis, aging campus assets, complex new assets, an emerging workforce with limited operations and maintenance skills, and onerous codes and standards. APPA has been a beacon organization supporting solutions to these and other evolving challenges.

A tremendous opportunity lies before APPA. The Augmented Age is partly defined by the emergence and application of data science, business analytics, artificial intelligence, and autonomous and automated equipment. APPA’s opportunity is to explore, develop, and embrace the promises of this new era, not only to advance the facilities management profession, but also to take our profession into the uncharted territory of constructing and maintaining educational facilities in the years ahead. The future of our educational institutions will depend upon the leadership and guidance of facilities professionals. The success of higher education graduates and the future of North America as part of a global, connected culture depends upon the success of these institutions.

I am very excited about the opportunity to serve the APPA membership as we enter into this new age. The role of the I&R committee certainly complements all other committees and functions within APPA. I believe the importance of the committee’s role in executing the APPA Strategic Plan in the next decade is paramount. The I&R committee is well poised to serve APPA members with effective knowledge-sharing and by helping their organizations adjust to the many changes our profession is facing. As the leader of the I&R committee, I will build upon the successful work of the FPI survey, the APPA website, the Body of Knowledge, CFAR research reports, and the wealth of APPA publications. Building upon these successes will ensure that APPA realizes its strategic goals and its vision for the new decade of 2020 and beyond.

Vice President for Professional Development

Beth Clark
Penn State University

Beth Clark is a Certified Educational Facilities Professional (CEFP) working as an analyst in the Administrative & Financial Services Division, Office of Physical Plant (OPP), at the University Park campus of Penn State University. She arrived at Penn State in 2004 from T. Rowe Price, an investment firm based in her hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. Beth received a B.S. degree in business administration with a concentration in finance from Towson University in 1997 and an M.Ed. degree in college student affairs from Penn State University in 2008.

Currently, Beth proudly serves at the chapter, regional, and international levels of APPA. For the Keystone Chapter of APPA (KAPPA), she is one of the co-chairs responsible for planning and hosting KAPPA’s regional conference in Erie, Pennsylvania in 2019. For the Eastern Region of APPA (ERAPPA), she is serving a one-year presidential appointment as vice president for annual meetings (a position she previously held from 2010-14). She is also one of ERAPPA’s representatives to the APPA Professional Affairs Committee, and a member of APPA’s Internship Task Force.

Beth is the recipient of an APPA Appreciation Award for service as a regional representative to the APPA Board of Directors;

the ERAPPA Rising Star, Merit Service, and President’s Awards; and the KAPPA Award of Merit. She is a two-time ERAPPA educational scholarship recipient and a two-time recipient of the Norman H. Bedell scholarship from KAPPA. Beth used those scholarships to attend and graduate from APPA’s Institute for Facilities Management and the Leadership Academy. She is now a member of the Academy faculty, facilitating Level I coursework in personal effectiveness.

Beth is a past president for both KAPPA and ERAPPA. She previously served as KAPPA representative to ERAPPA’s Technology & Communications Committee and as ERAPPA representative to APPA’s Emerging Professionals group. She has presented at KAPPA, ERAPPA, and APPA conferences on a variety of topics including her master’s research on campus facilities, physical environments, and students, as well as a series of presentations marrying sports and leadership—two of her biggest passions.

In her spare time, she mentors first-year students at Penn State and is involved in many of the philanthropic efforts at the OPP. Beth, her husband Chris, and dog Oscar live in Stormstown, Pennsylvania, where she enjoys cycling, baking, gardening, hiking, crafting, and being an aunt.

Platform Statement

I am a proud product of APPA’s professional development curriculum. I seek your vote for the position of Vice President for Professional Development that I might serve APPA and its members at an elevated level, as a way of repaying the organization that has molded me into the facilities management professional I am today.

I came to our profession from investment finance, and while that financial experience is paramount to my role as a budget analyst, I perform that role within the facilities management arena. I was fortunate that very early in my facilities career I had a manager who saw fit to introduce me to APPA at all levels.

I completed the APPA Institute for Facilities Management to broaden my industry knowledge. It was through this transformative professional development opportunity that I came to understand and appreciate the facilities profession beyond the narrow scope of my budget analyst role. Later, I was given the opportunity to complete APPA’s Leadership Academy and obtain my Certified Educational Facilities Professional (CEFP) credential.

If elected to this role, I will work with the members of APPA’s Professional Development Committee; the APPA Institute, Academy, and Supervisor’s Toolkit deans; the APPA Board of Directors; and the APPA staff to continue the delivery of quality destination, local, and virtual educational opportunities while remaining responsive to members’ needs and mindful of APPA’s mission, vision, and strategic plan.

Lander Medlin has spoken repeatedly about APPA being “the association of choice for educational facilities professionals.” I will work to perpetuate this idea within the three facets of APPA’s mission—education, research, and service—with an obvious focus on, and passion for, education. Guided by membership survey results and the APPA Strategic Plan, I will collaborate with my APPA colleagues to recognize, meet, and exceed the professional development expectations of our members. Those educational facilities professionals who choose APPA for training and development will find an organization ready to address their wants and needs.

My efforts as the Vice President for Professional Development would be focused on growing a population of proud, APPA-educated facilities management professionals. I am one of those, and there are many more like me. There are plenty more to come—and APPA will be here to serve us all.

Thank you for your consideration.

Terri Willis
University of Colorado Boulder

Terri Willis currently works at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) as the director of HR for the Office of Infrastructure and Sustainability (I&S). The I&S division encompasses Planning, Design & Construction; Facilities Operations & Maintenance; Environmental Health & Safety; Real Estate Services; and the Sustainability Office. She has been at the university for over 16 years—starting in campus HR before being asked to join the Facilities Management HR team. Though she had no experience in the facilities environment, she jumped at the chance to work with such a fun, dynamic, and diverse group of people; 14 years later, she still loves the department and the work.

Terri holds a B.S. in health education (and a psychology minor) from the University of Northern Colorado. She also has a Leadership and Management certificate from CU Boulder’s engineering management program. She is currently pursuing an M.S. in organizational leadership with anticipated completion this fall.

Her APPA education includes graduating from the Supervisor’s Toolkit and Leadership Academy. She has also enjoyed presenting at several Rocky Mountain APPA (RMA) annual conferences as well as at last year’s APPA annual conference in San Francisco.

Terri’s mentor (the same person who brought her to facilities) encouraged her to start attending RMA annual conferences. She attended her first in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in 2011, and was hooked! She became co-chair of the host committee for RMA 2013, and with that came a spot on the RMA board.

When her role as host committee chair ended, she was asked to apply for the professional development chair position—she was excited to be voted in. Much to the delight of fellow board members (or chagrin —depending on whom you asked), Terri started facilitating icebreakers and team-building exercises at the biannual board meetings. She stretched her creativity by trying to find new, engaging, and fun activities for each meeting. Feedback was consistently positive, and the board bonded as a team.

Terri was honored when one of I&S’s HR programs won APPA’s Effective and Innovative Practices Award for the division’s mentoring program. The program continues to grow each year.

Being an active member of RMA has been instrumental in Terri’s growth and success in her facilities’ journey, and she looks forward to helping others have such positive APPA experiences as well.

Platform Statement

As a long-time human resources professional, I strongly believe in APPA’s first stated purpose of “transforming individual facilities professionals into higher performing managers and leaders.” Learning and development are the paths to that transformation. I have personally witnessed incredible, positive changes in my own organization every time our lead workers and supervisors return from attending the Supervisor’s Toolkit or Leadership Academy. They are energized and engaged, which in turn energizes and engages their staff. This falls in line with APPA’s second purpose of “helping to transform member institutions into more inviting and supportive learning environments.”

As you are aware, APPA’s Strategic Plan 2020 has the following objectives:

  1. Engage all stakeholders
  2. Broaden membership
  3. Develop future leaders
  4. Enhance professional development offerings
  5. Expand research

My platform encompasses many of those objectives. First, I would like to hear from our stakeholders what they want and need from APPA’s professional development offerings. I would love for us to enhance these offerings in relevant and innovative ways based on the needs of our stakeholders. We can determine those needs in a variety of ways, including face-to-face conversations, surveys, and research. In our organization, and it may be similar in others, succession preparation, career enhancement, promotability, and mentoring are all hot topics for our employees.

Second, I would like to find ways to engage all the employees who support facilities organizations (such as HR, IT, procurement, and accounting), as they too may find value from being included in APPA offerings. Throughout my career, I have found it incredibly helpful to know and understand the jobs, successes, and struggles of the employees I work with so that I can provide them with the best support possible. I imagine the same would hold true for other administrative units as well.