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Campus Leaders Announce Changes to 2020 Project Team

March 15, 2016

Members of Chancellor Dorothy Leland’s executive leadership team announced several key changes to the group guiding UC Merced’s 2020 Project.

Veronica MendezIn a joint message sent to faculty and staff members March 10, Michael Reese, vice chancellor for Business and Administrative Services, and Daniel Feitelberg, vice chancellor for Planning and Budget, outlined personnel moves that will be critical to the 2020 Project, UC Merced’s plan to double the physical capacity of campus to accommodate 10,000 students.

Assistant Vice Chancellor of Planning and Budget Veronica Mendez now serves as interim project executive of the 2020 Project management team. She now takes the lead in building the project management team that will oversee construction that will start in the fall. Mendez has played a critical leadership role in the drafting the 2020 Project request for proposals.

Supporting Mendez will be Business and Financial Strategic Initiatives Executive Director Andy Boyd, who now serves as interim senior project manager. An open recruitment for a permanent senior project manager is underway.

Fire Marshal Gini Krippner assumes an expanded role as a campus building official, overseeing all inspection functions for the construction of the expanded campus.

New AVC McLeod Leads Combined Department

Reese and Feitelberg also announced the appointment of Michael J. McLeod as UC Merced’s new assistant vice chancellor for Physical Planning, Development and Operations. McLeod will join UCMichael McLeod Merced on April 19.

McLeod will oversee all aspects of UC Merced’s physical planning, development and operations and work closely with Mendez and Boyd to prepare the campus for the operations and maintenance functions of new facilities delivered through the 2020 Project.

McLeod’s experience and achievements were significant factors that led him to emerge as the top candidate for the newly consolidated department that includes Facilities, Real Estate Services, Planning and Design and Construction.

McLeod comes to UC Merced from Arizona State University (ASU), where he spent the past 15 years. He is director of research infrastructure for the Biodesign Institute, ASU’s flagship research facility that focuses on health and sustainability scholarship.

His areas of expertise include facilities operations, project management and infrastructure development in addition to his strong management skills.

“We are confident in his ability to bring new and effective methods of meeting UC Merced’s day-to-day operational needs while providing an overall strategy and vision for the range of issues the campus faces as it transitions from startup institution to one that is growing and maturing,” Reese wrote.

Andy BoydUnder McLeod’s direction, the Biodesign Institute reduced operating costs by $2.9 million over seven years and dramatically improved customer service. He also developed an energy reduction program that lowered the institute’s utility costs by $1.2 million.

Under McLeod’s leadership, one of the Biodesign Institute’s buildings achieved LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the first building in Arizona and third research laboratory in the world to earn that distinction. At ASU, McLeod forged a strong reputation for meeting the needs of facultyGini Krippner and research teams.

His appointment at UC Merced also serves as his homecoming to the Central Valley. He was born in Bakersfield, raised in the farming community of Wasco and graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

“Being born and raised in the San Joaquin Valley, it is an honor for me to come back to California and join the UC Merced team,” McLeod said. “As a first-generation college graduate, I understand the value of quality education. I am excited to use my expertise to assist with the projected campus expansion, which will provide increased access to first-generation students of Merced and surrounding communities to equip them for success.”

The 2020 Project management team and the associate vice chancellor of Physical Operations, Planning and Development report dually to the vice chancellors for the divisions of Business and Administrative Services and Planning and Budget.