Each year on Founder’s Day – Thomas Jefferson’s birthday – the University of Virginia plants a tree to honor an individual who has made a significant contribution to U.Va. This year, the University will pay tribute to Jay Klingel, who retired Friday after a 35-year career in Facilities Management, including 10 years as director of operations and maintenance.
Because Jefferson’s April 13 birthday falls on a Sunday this year, the ceremony will take place April 11 at 11 a.m. on the west side of the Lawn between Pavilions III and V, where a “Legacy” sugar maple (Acer saccharum ‘Legacy’) will be planted. The event is free and open to the public; parking will be available in the Culbreth Road Garage.
As director of operations and maintenance, Klingel supervised more than 700 people engaged in building maintenance, landscape, custodial operations and renovations services. Although some renovations are contracted out, the staff of roughly 150 people in Klingel’s renovations group does about $25 million of work a year.
Klingel has overseen a number of notable projects around Grounds, including the restorations of multiple pavilions in the Academical Village and the speedy removal and replacement of the McCormick Road Bridge in two months last summer.
For years, Klingel has been on hand for every major University event, storm and emergency as “the go-to guy,” who is “solid as a rock,” Chief Facilities Officer Donald Sundgren said.
“His only agenda is what is right for the University,” Sundgren said. “We are losing a tremendous asset.”
Klingel started his Facilities Management career in 1979, and worked on renovations for about 10 years before moving to the department’s business management group, where he managed financial operations, information systems, procurement and work management groups until being promoted to director of operations and maintenance.
Visit the Office of Major Events for more details on Founder’s Day activities.