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Thought Leaders Preview: What’s in Store for Facilities Operations of 2030?

January 19, 2024

 What do the next 10 years hold for educational institutions and their facilities divisions? How will advances in technology affect campus operations, including facilities staffing? Which aspects of the current campus environment must change to align with the predicted environment? 

A group of attendees during the 2023 Thought Leaders Symposium. Download that year’s report from the APPA Bookstore.

During APPA’s forthcoming 2024 Thought Leaders Symposium, approximately 30 leaders in higher education and facilities management from a diverse array of institutions will explore these topics and more in hopes of helping facilities divisions prepare for the campus environment of 2030. The symposium, February 26–28 in Alexandria, Virginia, will culminate in a report distributed to APPA members and educational institutions more broadly in the months ahead. 

Launched in 2006, APPA’s Thought Leaders Series facilitates dedicated discussions on the future of higher education and the impact of that future on educational facilities. The annual Thought Leaders Symposium convenes a mixed group of C-level executives in various functional areas and senior facilities officers from higher education to tackle a significant issue or challenge. Thought Leaders reports are free to APPA members, thanks to the generosity of sponsors, and may be downloaded from the APPA Bookstore. Johnson Controls and Siemens are the sponsors of the 2024 symposium and report.  

Brainstorming notes from the 2023 symposium.

“The Thought Leaders Series creates original content for the APPA membership, and this year’s conversation and forthcoming monograph is another great example of high-level conversation around higher education, facilities, and capital planning,” said Keith Woodward, chair of the Thought Leaders Series and associate vice president of facilities operations at Quinnipiac University. The facilitator of the 2024 symposium, as previous symposia since 2007, will be Larry Goldstein of Campus Strategies, a management consulting firm providing services to colleges and universities and organizations serving higher education. 

The 2024 symposium is expected to be highly interactive, thanks to a carefully curated group of knowledgeable attendees representing diverse institutions and functions as well as presentations by Microsoft’s Emmanuel Daniel and Johnson Controls’ Russell Garcia. “This year’s contributors are excellence in facilities and higher education selected as most likely to be tomorrow’s leaders in facilities,” said Woodward. “We know artificial intelligence will certainly be a topic, but what else will come of the two-day think tank … well, that will be determined when the group gets together at the end of February.” 

See all Thought Leaders reports.  

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