February 20, 2019  

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Southern Miss Union Director Earns APPA Certification

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Jeff Taylor

Jeff Taylor, director for Union Operations and Event and Conference Services
at The University of Southern Mississippi, has earned the Certified Educational Facilities Professional (CEFP) credential from APPA: Leadership in Educational Facilities. Those who hold the CEFP designation have met APPA’s criteria to be considered an accomplished professional in the educational facilities field.

CEFP training covers all aspects of the educational facilities industry, from planning, design and construction to daily maintenance and operation, as well as general administration and management, and includes energy, utilities, and environmental stewardship.

As union director, Taylor is responsible for the oversight of Union Complex operations, as well as the Southern Miss Office of Event and Conference Services, which includes supervision of eight professional staff members, one graduate assistant and a student staff of approximately 35.

The USM Union facilities include The Hub, R.C. Cook Union, and Thad Cochran Center. Once construction on the Joe Paul Student Theater is complete, Taylor will also be responsible for management of that space. The Office of Event and Conference Services oversees student, departmental, and external events on the first floor of the Trent Lott National Center, as well as the Union Complex facilities.

Taylor said the CEFP’s 90-day preparatory course, APPA Body of Knowledge, and credentialing study guide, followed by a four-hour proctored exam, were “rigorous and thorough, which enabled me to expand my knowledge and understanding across all areas of facility management.”

“This certification is important to me because not only does it validate almost a decade of experience in educational facility management, but the credentialing process itself increased the depth and breadth my facility management toolkit,” he said. “Obtaining the CEFP credential is also a representation of my dedication to USM and to the field.”

A native of Gulfport, Miss., Taylor holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from USM. While earning his MBA, he worked as a graduate assistant in the Union Complex from 2008-2009, and then was hired in 2009 as Union Complex Event Operations Manager. He was later promoted to the position of Associate Director for Facilities and Operations at USM, before taking the post of Associate Director for Facilities and Operations at Tulane University. He returned to USM in 2015 to become Associate Director for Technology and Facilities, and was named Union Director in 2016.

APPA’s stated mission includes the transformation of “individual facilities professionals into higher performing managers and leaders, which helps transform member institutions into more inviting and supportive learning environments, which elevates the recognition and value of educational facilities and their direct impact on the recruitment and retention of students, faculty and staff.” The APPA acronym formerly stood for the Association of Physical Plant Administrators.

For more information about the APPA, visit https://www.appa.org/. For more information about the Southern Miss Union Complex, visit https://www.usm.edu/union.