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Estates Director Janis Pich to retire

Janis

The University’s Director of Estates, Janis Pich, is retiring at the end of the year.

A process to recruit her successor has been initiated, with interviews to take place on 27 October.

Janis is a Chartered Civil and Structural Engineer, who studied engineering at the University of Sheffield. Her first job was as a graduate engineer with the large civil engineering contractor, RM Douglas. The highlight of this stint was her work on A6 and M42, which her family are frequently reminded about on their trips up North!

The experience with RM Douglas provided her a broad grounding in building and civil engineering, which Janis put to good use as a site engineer on projects like the multistorey HSBC building (overlooking the Globe Theatre), the Honda engine plant and a residential development in Notting Hill.

Janis’ move into higher education was driven by a need to balance her career with a desire to have a family. “The peripatetic life of site engineers not being particularly conducive to how I envisaged family life,” she says.

Before joining the University of Reading, Janis worked at the Royal Holloway for 10 years – including in strategy and space management and later managing the Facilities Management team.

She joined Reading at the turn of millennium as our first Space Manager, while working part-time. She set up a Strategy and Space department and took on the opportunity to become the Deputy Director of what was then called the Facilities Management Directorate, when her youngest child moved into secondary school. Her 10 years in this role were the busiest period of construction at our University, seeing the development of Carrington, Minghella Studios, HBS, Hopkins, Park Group Halls and the Library refurbishment among others.

Janis became our first female Director of Estates in September 2018. She has been involved in operations as diverse as Catering, Sport, Maintenance, Campus Services, Sustainability, Strategic Estates and Strategy & Space Management, in addition to the projects.

Janis says, “I am thankful to everyone for making my 20 years here an enriching experience. My role is one the few that interacts with most parts of our institution, and there is so much I have learned from colleagues in different Schools and Functions.

“The past two years have been challenging but I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved together in supporting the NHS and local community, managing the safe use of our buildings and putting hygiene measures in place that have allowed us to welcome students back.

“I don’t dwell much on gender issues in my own career, but feel a sense of pride at what we have achieved. Construction has been a predominantly male industry, and to be able to play an active and leading role in it at Reading – while balancing the needs of a family – has been rewarding. I hope I have also been able to make a difference by creating opportunities for exceptional colleagues within Estates to develop and grow.”

Chief Strategy Officer and University Secretary Richard Messer said, “I am thankful to Janis for all her work at our University for the last 20 years. As Director of Estates, she has been exemplary in leading her team not least through the enormous challenges presented by the pandemic, as they have put  in place hygiene and safety measures on our campuses. I am also very grateful for her significant contributions to the broader University, including being an active member of Staffing Committee and several of its offshoots, and being a mentor of choice for new staff. I wish Janis the very best for her future.”

An announcement about the new Director of Estates will be made in November.

 

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