Sitzabee named associate vice president for facilities management and planning

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State announced today (May 31) that William Sitzabee, a civil engineer and retired U.S. Air Force officer, will become the new associate vice president for facilities management and planning at Penn State. Sitzabee, who is currently the interim vice president for Infrastructure, Properties and Planning at Cornell University, will begin his appointment on July 24.

Sitzabee succeeds Ford Stryker, who will retire after nearly 20 years at Penn State.

For more than two decades, Sitzabee served in the U.S. Air Force as an engineer, reaching the rank of colonel, before bringing his expertise in the areas of planning, design, construction, maintenance, energy management, sustainability and transportation to higher education.

Sitzabee is the former associate vice president of Facilities Engineering and Project Administration at Cornell University and a former deputy commander of the 379th Civil Engineer Squadron in Qatar, where he developed a highly rated construction safety program and managed 18 million square feet of airfield, more than 100 aircraft, and four power plants. In his current role at Cornell, Sitzabee oversees a building portfolio of 15 million square feet, 2,000 campus acres, and an annual operating budget of $200 million.

“With his extensive experience leading large, highly effective organizations and commitment to staff development, Bill will be a valuable asset and bring a high degree of expertise, integrity and energy to this role,” said David Gray, senior vice president for Finance and Business. “Penn State is extremely grateful for the lasting impact Ford Stryker has had on the University and we look forward to continuing to pursue — under Bill’s leadership — our environmental stewardship, workplace safety, and infrastructure and planning initiatives in support of Penn State’s teaching, research and service mission.”

At Penn State, Sitzabee will oversee the University’s capital planning initiatives and day-to-day management of more than 32 million square feet of buildings and 22,000 acres of land at 22 campuses across Pennsylvania. In this capacity, he also will lead the Office of Physical Plant (OPP), which is comprised of more than 1,400 employees and an operating budget of $166 million that supports plant operations, utilities and facilities maintenance.

“I am very grateful for this opportunity and thrilled to be joining the Penn State team. I’ve been a resident of Pennsylvania for the majority of my life and am excited to be coming home to work with OPP, an organization that has such an important impact on both the University and Commonwealth,” Sitzabee said. “OPP has a rich history and a great reputation for high-quality work. I share its values of teamwork, creativity and respect, and I look forward to continuing to support capital planning and sustainability initiatives, as well as the academic mission of the University.”

Sitzabee brings a breadth of experience from his time working with both the military and at Cornell, where he led a team of more than 1,000 engineers, project managers, technicians and other personnel; managed a $2 billion construction integration program and $750 million capital planning portfolio; negotiated the development of a new power plant; and provided critical oversight for the expansion of the Cornell Tech campus build-out.

Prior to serving in his administrative role, Sitzabee was a department chair and professor of aerospace studies at Cornell. He also was the director of the Engineering Management Program and an associate professor of civil engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology.

Sitzabee is chair of the President’s Sustainable Campus buildings team and the Senior Leader Climate Action Group at Cornell. He also served on the university’s Warrior Scholar Mentor Program, Planned Maintenance Task Force, and Committee on Sexual Violence Prevention. He is a member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers, Society of American Military Engineers, Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, and Boy Scouts of America, among others.

As a combat veteran, Sitzabee has been awarded various service and campaign medals for his service in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo.  He was awarded the U.S. Air Combat Command Superior Performance Award and has been named the Holm Center Educator of the Year, Faculty Scholar of the Year, and Outstanding Scholar. In 2013, he led the group that won the Air Force ROTC Team of the Year.

Sitzabee earned a doctorate in civil engineering from North Carolina State University, a master’s degree in engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Norwich University. He is a certified professional engineer in New York and North Carolina.

At Penn State, William Sitzabee will oversee the University’s capital planning initiatives and day-to-day management of more than 32 million square feet of buildings and 22,000 acres of land at 22 campuses across Pennsylvania.  Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated June 18, 2021