Mark Greenwald was settling into retirement after a 45-year career in facilities management with major corporations including Monsanto, Mastercard and General Motors when he received a call from Matt Prsha.
Prsha came to the University of Missouri–St. Louis to serve as director of planning, design and construction in September 2021. In October, he moved into a new role as executive director of Facilities Management and needed a senior manager for Maintenance and Operations. Greenwald, whom he knew from his work in the private sector, was at the top of his list.
“I’ve known Matt for many years, and he offered an opportunity,” Greenwald said. “It’s been a good fit.”
Prsha and Greenwald have stepped into leadership roles in Facilities Management during an exciting time for the university. UMSL is embarking on a dramatic campuswide transformation that will enhance the student experience with the creation of a more centralized academic core north of Natural Bridge Road and a health sciences campus to the south.
The initiative is supported by more than $40 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act as well as private donations, which will go toward initial campus enhancements. Upgrades will include improvements to University Libraries, construction of the Richter Family Welcome and Alumni Center and the renovation of classroom and laboratory spaces. The university is continuing to raise money for more than $100 million in planned improvements.
Prsha and Greenwald will play key roles in supporting that transformation in the coming years. Their wealth of experience in the private sector has prepared them for the task ahead. Before coming to UMSL, Prsha directed projects in 30 countries at the global commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield for more than a decade. He said his responsibilities at UMSL are comparable – they’re just contained to one place now.
“Overall, the performance is similar,” Prsha said. “The activities are similar. It’s still planning, design, construction. It’s the same industry, so it really did prepare me for this.”
During his career in corporate facilities management, Greenwald became a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and regularly implemented the management system’s principles and processes with his teams. He’s brought those lessons to UMSL.
“It’s a very simple system,” Greenwald explained. “I’m just talking to my people basically about being detailed, answering all the questions before they’re asked and being thorough.”
For the next six to 12 months, Greenwald will focus on setting up those processes as well as working with contractors who have the expertise to keep equipment such as boilers, chillers and cooling towers maintained properly.
“The next phase is more facility management, recognizing the lifespans of our equipment, where they’re at in that cycle, predicting what needs to be replaced and when and putting a timeline to all that,” he said. “Basically, capital forecasting.”
Meanwhile, Prsha will primarily be focused on shepherding the $100 million campus transformation. He’s already mapped a five-year plan.
“I have goals of accomplishing certain things each year, accomplishing a certain amount of spend in each fiscal year and delivering this project successfully would be a major goal,” he said. “The other goal would be to make sure the morale is good and positive within the overall Facilities enterprise and make sure that people feel appreciated and respected.”
Facilities Management will play a leading role in UMSL’s physical transformation the next several years, but Prsha and Greenwald feel the department is also integral to UMSL’s mission to transform lives.
“We are physically transforming the university,” Prsha said. “There are many things beyond the physical aspect, but we’re creating a denser, more vibrant campus. My team has been tasked with a major piece of that. We’re the ones, obviously along with leadership at the university, that are working with the designers that are going to create this culture that’s going to be a legacy for a long time. We are tasked with making a huge impact – the changing, the transformation of the university, starting with the physical changes. It just ties in with the overall direction of the university.”