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Vanderbilt University
  • Position Number: 4926112
  • Location: Nashville, TN
  • Position Type: Facilities Management

The Controls Specialists position is part of the Plant Operations department at Vanderbilt University and is a key individual contributor responsible for providing skilled work to ensure safe, effective, and energy efficient operation of building control, fire, security and access control systems, and therefore, the learning environment (safety and comfort with energy efficiency) within Vanderbilt University's buildings. This position is responsible for the commissioning, retro-commissioning, testing, maintenance, modification, repairs and record keeping of building control, utilizing knowledge of pneumatic, electric, electronics, direct digital control, airflow, hydronics, refrigeration theory, control strategies, fire alarm systems, security systems, access control systems, emergency/egress/lighting, card readers, and sprinkler monitor panels. This includes such hardware as thermostats, humidistats, receiver controllers, pneumatic actuators, safeties, pilot positioners, relays, sensors, field panels, wiring, power supplies, interface modules, manual pull stations as well as system operating manuals and engineered drawings. Reporting directly to the Controls Specialist Supervisor, the Controls Specialist will work as a partner and in collaboration with all departments throughout the VU campus on a daily basis.

About the Work Unit:

Facilities provides facilities support for all construction, renovation, and routine maintenance of University space and facilities; housekeeping services for approximately 5.8 million square feet of academic, administrative, residential, and recreational space; grounds care for 330 acres that are a registered arboretum; turf care for athletic fields; and utilities for the University Central and the Medical Center.

Facilities annual budget exceeds $100 million in operating expenses and includes over 400 employees. This branch manages major capital project expenditures totaling ~$125 million annually and facility renewal, replacement, and large maintenance project expenditures totaling ~$20 million annually. The Facilities Business Operations Center provides support to the entire department, specifically regarding the areas of Finance, Employee Relations, Systems, Contracts and General Administration.

Key Functions and Expected Performance:

  • Responsible for end-to-end testing, downloading programming, starting up, commissioning, retro-commissioning, and servicing on assigned projects.

  • Monitors and calibrates building system controls to achieve better operation and energy efficiency as instructed.

  • Assists in the accumulation of data necessary to facilitate improved operation of HVAC systems for effective Energy Management.

  • Determines nature and depth of malfunctions and initiate action to repair or provide information to resolve and/or modify operating parameters.

  • Completes detailed test and repairs records and file/store as required.

  • Refers to and understands engineering drawings and fire systems operating manuals.

  • Works with Campus Planning and Construction during new project and renovation design, vendor commissioning and Vanderbilt University acceptance to ensure controls, fire, security, and access control systems meet or exceed Vanderbilt specifications for performance, efficiency, and code compliance prior to hand-off to Plant Operations.

  • Works with Zone Groups and Chilled Water Distribution Group to troubleshoot control systems which control chillers, AHU's, boilers, hot water converters, cooling towers, etc. to facilitate correction of malfunctions and system failures.

  • Analyzes, diagnoses, and repairs direct digital control systems.

  • Performs preventative maintenance, site surveys, replacement, and modifications as needed to ensure maximum energy efficiency.

  • Prepares for on-site installation and repairs by examining building layout, anticipating difficulties, gathering materials and coordinating on-site work, as necessary.

  • Uses a variety of hand tools, interpreting control drawings, plans, and specifications, to mount, assemble, test, and program the system.

  • Completes reports daily to ensure accurate record management of labor, material, and cost.

  • Researches and recommend repair components and test equipment to assist management in calculating costs of repairs and upgrades.

  • Gathers building HVAC and mechanical field data to facilitate analysis of HVAC performance.

  • Assists others as requested to help troubleshoot HVAC equipment to limit equipment downtime and resolve complaints and other problems related to campus HVAC equipment.

  • Provides sketches of field changes and discrepancies for engineering corrections and drawings.

  • Provides mentorship to other team members on complex building control, fire alarm, security, and access control systems and strategies.

  • Conducts extensive self-study to improve and maintain technical proficiency in building control systems and products.

Supervisory Relationships:

This position does not have supervisory responsibility; this position reports administratively to the Controls Specialist Supervisor.

Experience and Certifications:

  • A High school diploma or GED is necessary.

  • Bachelor's degree is preferred.

Experience and Skills:

  • 4 years electronics/instrumentation work experience in all phases of pneumatic and DDC instrumentation, control systems, security systems, fire systems, access control systems and building automation systems is necessary.

  • Knowledge and experience with Johnson Controls and Automated Logic systems is preferred.

  • Experience with rough wiring, wiring of devices and panels, and layout and installation of alarm devices, security devices access control devices and other system components is necessary.

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills is necessary.

  • Valid Tennessee driver's license is necessary.

Please apply online at:

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

At Vanderbilt University, we are intentional about and assume accountability for fostering advancement and respect for equity, diversity, and inclusion for all students, faculty, and staff. Our commitment to diversity makes us who we are. We have created a community that celebrates differences and lets individuality thrive. As part of this commitment, we actively value diversity in our workplace and learning environments as we seek to take advantage of the rich backgrounds and abilities of everyone. The diverse voices of Vanderbilt represent an invaluable resource for the University in its efforts to fulfill its mission and strive to be an example of excellence in higher education.

Vanderbilt University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and protected veterans are encouraged to apply.

Please note, all candidates selected for an offer of employment are subject to pre-employment background checks, which may include but are not limited to, based on the role for which they have been selected: criminal history, education verification, social media review, motor vehicle records, credit history, and professional license verification.

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