The University of New Mexico announced today that an interim management team will lead the Physical Plant Department (PPD) until a permanent director is hired.

The interim management team includes: Chris Vallejos, associate vice president of Institutional Support Services; Shirley Mitchell, associate director of PPD Finance and Administration; and Jason Strauss, CEO of Lobo Energy, Inc. 

Strauss will provide guidance to PPD Utilities and Engineering & Energy Services, while Mitchell will oversee the operations of PPD Administration, Accounting, Environmental Services and Maintenance & Operations. Vallejos will direct all high-level, decision-making for the department.

Interim Director Gary Smith, who has been employed at UNM for more than 21 years, retires Tuesday, Jan. 31. He leaves behind a legacy of distinction and expertise PPD and the University have benefited from for decades.

"Many thanks to Gary for all that he has been able to accomplish over the last two decades. He will be greatly missed," said Vallejos.

In the meantime, a hiring committee has been formed and will review the applicants who applied to the national posting by the “best consideration” date of Feb. 10, 2017. The posting can be found on UNMJobs.

The goal of the hiring committee is to have a new PPD director in place by the Summer 2017.