A chat with Elisabeth Stroback

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In the spring, Director of Campus Planning and Sustainability Ian Hamilton left Ryerson and his position was split in two. Elisabeth Stroback, a real estate advisor with experience working for Infrastructure Ontario, was hired as the interim head of capital projects, which means she is responsible for managing the school’s real estate portfolio. While she was initially hired on a one-year contract, The Eyeopener reported in September that Ryerson plans on keeping her around long-term. We spoke with her about what her high-profile, lucrative job involves.

 

Q: Why do you think you were chosen for this position?

A: I have many years of experience leading the planning, design and construction of large capital projects for public and private sector organizations using approaches that are disciplined, organized, and analytical and with a focus on risk management. My experience includes leading property management and real estate investment which are important to Ryerson given its location in Toronto and the growth it faces.

Q: How would you describe your job?

A: I lead and manage internal and external teams of professionals in many disciplines to plan, design and build large and sometimes complex capital projects that have been approved by the University. I provide analysis and advice to the University on various real estate matters.

Q: Which projects are you working on right now?

A: Ryerson Athletic Centre at the Gardens, the Image Arts Building and Ryerson Image Centre, the Student Learning Centre (SLC), Health Sciences Building

Q: Can you describe a typical day?

A: There is no typical day but here is a list of some of the things I could be working on in any given day:

– internal meetings working with department staff on their projects: problem solving, analysing alternatives and solutions, reviewing schedules and discussing plans and strategies, reviewing project costs and dealing with a myriad of other issues requiring decisions, guidance and direction

– leading a meeting with RU’s project team, the architect, project manager and quantity surveyor on the SLC

– meetings with the City of Toronto on various approvals for the SLC – meeting with Building/Steering Committees for projects to present and summarize progress

– working on the functional programming and planning for the new Health Sciences Building

– providing strategic advice and analysis to senior management on various topics including property matters

– internal meetings on procurement and purchasing of the services and goods required for planning, design, construction and furnishing and fitting up new buildings

– telephone calls and/or meetings on leasing space for various university requirements such as the DMZ space.

Q: Who do you work most closely with?

A: My internal staff and Julia Hanigsberg, VP Administration and Finance.

Q: Did it make sense in your opinion, to assign responsibility for capital projects and real estate to one position? (Previously, several consultants did your job).

A: Organizational changes have been made to the former department of Campus Planning and Facilities in order to position the university to meet its ambitious vision and master planning goals. Responsibilities were divided into two: Capital Facilities and Sustainability and the department I head up which is Capital Projects and Real Estate. There is a lot of work for both departments and it takes dedicated time, resources, attention and leadership to manage our responsibilities effectively. I bring years of experience, expertise and leadership managing large property development and handling many types of real estate and property matters in complex, urban environments such as Ryerson.

 

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