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Joe Higgins named vice president for campus services and stewardship

New position to oversee facilities, construction, planning, sustainability, and EHS.
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Joe Higgins
Joe Higgins
Image: Melanie Gonick, MIT

Director of Campus Operations Joe Higgins has been named vice president for campus services and stewardship, effective Nov. 1. In this new role, Higgins will oversee the Office of Sustainability, Environment Health and Safety, the Office of Campus Planning, and MIT Facilities, including Campus Construction.

Executive Vice President and Treasurer Israel Ruiz announced the appointment today in an email to MIT faculty and staff.

Joe joined MIT in 2016, and has since assumed increased responsibilities for a diverse portfolio of infrastructure functions and facilities operations,” Ruiz wrote. “Joe takes a highly collaborative approach to problem-solving, is a strategic thinker, and combines exceptional leadership skills with an amiable management style.”

Higgins’ new role comes as part of a reorganization to reassign the responsibilities of Deputy Executive Vice President Tony Sharon, who is retiring at the end of the calendar year.

“I am excited to build upon the strength and momentum created by Tony,” Higgins says. “We are fortunate to have so many dedicated and creative people thinking about ways to continually transform our campus, our buildings, and our infrastructure. Creating spaces that enable our students, faculty, and staff to thrive while they tackle the great challenges in our world is paramount to us all. We are the stewards of a tremendous physical asset.”

Since 2016, Higgins has managed critical aspects of MIT’s facilities, including finance and administration, procurement, communications, and customer engagement. In 2018, he assumed responsibility for management of maintenance, utilities, and facilities engineering. Higgins and his 800-member team are responsible for safely and sustainably planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and powering the MIT campus, with buildings totaling over 12 million gross square feet.

Working with Director of Sustainability Julie Newman, Higgins led MIT’s alliance with Boston Medical Center and Post Office Square, announced in October 2016, to create a 60-megawatt, 650-acre solar power installation, adding carbon-free energy to the grid. MIT’s purchase of power from this North Carolina facility’s 255,000 solar panels was equivalent to 40 percent of the Institute’s electricity use at the time, neutralizing 17 percent of MIT’s carbon emissions.

Prior to joining MIT, Higgins served as vice president and head of engineering for Fidelity Investments. In his 10 years at Fidelity, he was responsible for the infrastructure systems across a global real estate portfolio including key data centers, trading floors, call centers, and corporate office campuses. He also served as Fidelity’s first corporate sustainability officer, providing leadership, coordination, and reporting for a broad array of sustainability initiatives across worldwide locations. 

Earlier in his career, Higgins served for 14 years as director of engineering and then as executive director of strategic and technical services at a Connecticut-based facility management company. In these roles, he provided strategic and engineering services to over 100 academic and nonprofit institutions on their building projects and broader campus initiatives.

A registered professional engineer, Higgins holds a BS in engineering and a BA in economics from Swarthmore College, and an MSc in education research from Oxford University.

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