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A cover letter is required for consideration for this position and should be attached as the first page of your resume. The cover letter should address your specific interest in the position and outline skills and experience that directly relate to this position.

Job Summary

The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Campus has an opening for a Tunnel and Mechanical Distribution System Manager whose mission is to provide highly reliable utility services to the University of Michigan Central Campus. This position leads the underground Thermal Distribution Team to embrace all aspects of the University’s mission, goals and values, ensuring that all staff are led and empowered to carry out their daily work. This includes building and maintaining a strong team that continuously improves the primary goals of safety, reliability, and stewardship. 

The University of Michigan has a thermal distribution system which consists of a secure 7-mile walking tunnel system which provides a pathway for the delivery of steam, compressed air, domestic hot water and condensate capture infrastructure serving over 100 buildings located on the Central and Medical campuses. This position currently provides supervision and technical guidance for 10 skilled trades steamfitters who are also certified welders. 

Utilities is a division of Facilities & Operations, made up of 135 dedicated employees responsible for providing utilities services for the university 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Services include campus-wide utilities purchasing, generation, and distribution, as well as metering and billing energy consumption for all university buildings. Distribution includes the operations and maintenance of 300 miles of underground utility systems from outdoor lighting and high voltage circuits to water mains to tunnel piping. The division also provides a wide range of engineering services primarily dedicated to energy management, the operations and maintenance of university facilities, and the utilities infrastructure.


The duties for this job include but are not limited to: 

Manage the daily activities of staff related to the operations, maintenance, and repair activities associated with maintaining the thermal distribution system. Provide field coordination for work performed by other trades assisting with the work including electricians, insulators, and laborers.

Working with a maintenance planner, be a proactive leader in the continued implementation of the work flow process assuring that work is properly planned and scheduled while at the same time ensuring the full engagement of staff.  

Ensure that all codes and standards are being followed. Develop, manage, and maintain program records including the University’s Exemption 23 program for ASME B31.1 and the welder certification program.  

Provide technical and coordination support to capital projects which impact the thermal distribution system. Work with project teams, other internal departments, contractors and end users to coordinate related work. Review design documents and provide QA/QC during construction or maintenance activities to ensure compliance with design guideline and departmental standards. Assure the security of the tunnel system by managing the maintenance and operation of the tunnel security system. 

Participate in system master planning.  

Assist the operating staff in responding to/attend any operational incidents or emergencies on a 24/7/365 basis.  

Assist with preparation and manage the budget for this responsibility area.  

Provide all supervisory support for direct reports such as ensuring that all regular scheduling, vacations, and other time off work for operations team members are properly documented for payroll and attendance records. Uphold the Skilled Trades union contract. Proactively address issues as they arise. Manage labor relations issues and process union grievances according to the union contract. Participate and/or lead the filling of vacancies. 

As a member of Utility Services, this position is expected to act in accordance with Facility and Operations’ guiding principles of being proactive, respectful, collaborative, and solutions based; and has the responsibility to provide an environment that brings a high level of energy, team building attitude, environmental awareness, fiscal responsibility, customer service, and, above all, safety to the group. 

Required Qualifications*

  • At least 10 years of experience in the plumbing/pipefitting trade working with thermal distribution equipment and systems. 
  • Educational requirement: Steamfitter Journeyman’s card or equivalent education of two year degree plus 4 years of documented work experience in a related commercial, industrial, or district energy field; or four year engineering/ technical degree in a related field.
  • 5 years of supervisory experience.
  • Experience with utility/university size steam distribution systems.
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully plan and execute multiple projects in a dynamic utility system/industrial maintenance environment.
  • Highly skilled at working with specific trades classifications and/or functions including tools and materials, and task specific sequencing.
  • Strong communication and organizational skills with the ability to manage and operate effectively in a team environment.
  • Must understand the stand-alone operating and maintenance characteristics of equipment, how groups of equipment function together to form a system, and how all the systems inter-relate.
  • Prior use and interpretation of union contracts and vendor contracts applicable to job task assignments.
  • Extensive experience in the use of safety measures and understanding applicable regulations. Considerable knowledge of Industrial Safety Standards and Procedures (Safety Lockout/Tagout, Confined Space, Hot Works Permits, Trench Safety, eye and ear protection, etc.).  
  • Demonstrated working knowledge of local, state and federal regulations and codes (ASME B31.1, Michigan plumbing code, etc.).
  • Experience with interpreting blueprints, specifications, materials and equipment take-offs. 
  • Prior positions that demonstrate the ability to exercise tact and discretion in communicating with a diverse group (customer, trades union, contractors, peers, management group, etc).
  • Demonstrated ability to work together with a high functioning team that is planning, scheduling, and executing thermal distribution maintenance work.
  • Demonstrated competency in the use of various computer programs including and/or equivalent to Microsoft Office, and Google products (gmail, docs, sheets).
  • Prior use of Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS).
  • Accurate written and oral communications skills.
  • Ability to tolerate high levels of heat and noise working in an underground setting (tunnels).
  • Must be able to perform the full range of duties, with or without a reasonable accommodation, in an environment that has high levels of heat and noise, including inspecting equipment in various locations that may be located between 0 and 40 feet from the floor, underground, or around immovable objects or in confined spaces.  

Desired Qualifications*

  • Three or more years of experience in a large complex organization with exposure to utilities services management.
  • Considerable experience maintaining and installing large thermal distribution systems.  
  • Experience directing resources and managing communication during an emergency response.
  • Demonstrated proficient use of various computer programs including and/or equivalent to Microsoft Project, CMMS systems, and various reporting software (Crystal Reports, BIRT, Tableau). 
  • Supervisory experience in a utilities organization. 

Additional Information

Facilities and Operations seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitment to serve the diverse people of Michigan, to sustain the excellence of the university, and to offer our students richly varied disciplines, perspectives and ways of knowing and learning. 

Background Screening

The University of Michigan conducts background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer and may use a third party administrator to conduct background checks. Background checks will be performed in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.