Director Of Engineering - Travel and Hospitality Career Opportunities

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CAREER PROFILE
Duties: Supervises all maintenance and repairs for a hotel including carpentry, electrical systems, plumbing, mechanics, and others    

Alternate Title(s): Engineering Manager; Chief Engineer    

Salary Range: $35,000 to $65,000 and up    

Employment Prospects: Good    

Advancement Prospects: Good    

Best Geographical Location(s): All, with the greatest opportunities in large cities and heavy tourist regions with many resorts and hotels    

Prerequisites:    
Education and Training—Two- or four-year college degree in engineering or facilities management
Experience—Prior experience in hotel maintenance; five years or more for positions at large properties   
Special Skills and Personality Traits—Excellent technical skills; ability to work with tools; good management ability; strong communication skills; ability to multitask and stay calm    
Special Requirements—Needed for some positions and varies by state and jurisdiction; see text

CAREER LADDER
Director of Rooms or General Manager   
    ↓
Director of Engineering   
    ↓
Engineer

Position Description
Hotel guests often take for granted all the facilities that make their stay possible and pleasant. They expect heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer, working lights and plumbing, in-room refrigeration, a well maintained pool and grounds, and more. The Director of Engineering is responsible for overseeing, fixing, and maintaining all these services.    

The Director of Engineering may supervise a variety of workers including:
- plumbers
- carpenters
- grounds maintenance workers
- painters
- electricians
- engineers   

Comments

He or she is responsible for overseeing the entire maintenance staff. This includes hiring, firing, training, and evaluating, as well as scheduling. Training is especially important for maintenance staff because it also encompasses following safety and emergency procedures.    Directors of Engineering handle the appearance of both the interior and exterior areas of a hotel or resort. They oversee landscaping, grounds, pools, and parking lots, as well as the interior common areas used by guests and staff. They ensure that everything looks clean and orderly and is operating properly. Directors of Engineering also make sure that the staff in these areas is completing the necessary tasks to make this happen.    Furthermore, Directors of Engineering make decisions regarding hotel maintenance. They review proposals and contracts, negotiating their terms. They work with vendors, consultants, clients, contractors, and suppliers for these services. Also, Directors of Engineering may explain contract terms to staff and help them understand what needs to be done. As they troubleshoot problems, they use their judgment to decide when issues can be handled internally or when outside contractors must be called in.    It is necessary for Directors of Engineering to make sure the hotel building and all new additions comply with state and federal regulations, including those from OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and ADA (the Americans with Disabilities Act). They take this into account when considering renovations and new projects. Fire protection operations are also an area of concern. Monthly inspections are typically performed to check that everything is working properly and complying with regulations.    Additional duties may include: - preparing and submitting budget estimates - developing quality control programs - managing utility systems - purchasing equipment - communicating with corporate staff - working with building code and planning/zoning officials, as well as community design committees - consulting with supervisors, owners, contractors, etc. on building openings - determining ways to cut costs and use energy efficiently - monitoring vendors to assure quality requirements, delivery times, warranties, exchanges, upgrades, and the like are observed - overseeing capital construction projects - maintaining safety manuals Every light bulb, faucet, air/heating unit, lock, and sprinkler on property is overseen by the maintenance staff. As supervisors, the Director of Engineering often will handle emergencies and speak to guests to solve problems when necessary. They can expect to work long hours including evenings and weekends to reflect hotel hours.    

Salaries    Directors of Engineering can earn between $35,000 and $65,000 per year; salaries are higher at larger and more prestigious properties. Earnings also vary by geographic location. Salaries may be contingent on the amount of staff the Director of Engineering supervises as well. Bonuses may be 10 percent of yearly salary or more.    Employment Prospects    Employment prospects are good for Directors of Engineering. Hotels and resorts need them to oversee maintenance, a critical part of hotel operations. Those Directors of Engineers with the right combination of progressively more responsible supervisory skills and technical ability will find a variety of opportunities nationwide.    Advancement Prospects    Typically, Directors of Engineering report to the director of rooms at most hotels and resorts, although in some cases they may report to the general manager. However, that is not the path one would take for advancement since a different background, skill set, and professional path is required. A Director of Engineering may advance to work at a larger property for a higher salary and more responsibility. Furthermore, he or she may advance by moving to a corporate role, overseeing engineering for several hotels in a chain. Directors of Engineering may also serve as consultants or run their own businesses, advising hospitality maintenance staff and directors.    Education and Training    Education and training requirements vary for Directors of Engineering, but technical training is a definite necessity. At large properties, many Directors of Engineering have bachelor’s degrees in engineering or facilities management; others may have two-year or technical degrees.    Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits    First and foremost, Directors of Engineering need strong technical skills. An understanding of HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), electrical, mechanical, plumbing, carpentry, and more is essential. They must be familiar with chillers, cooling towers, chemical treatments, control systems, water systems, boilers, refrigeration, compressors, and others. Additionally, Directors of Engineering should be strong managers. They often supervise large staff and must earn their respect as an authority. The ability to multitask and to stay calm in emergency situations are important, as is problem solving ability and good judgment.    Special Requirements    Some states may require licensure or certification in areas such as HVAC, electrical systems, fire safety, or plumbing for their Directors of Engineering.    

Unions and Associations    The Hotel Motel Engineering Association is a professional association for Directors of Engineering and other hotel engineering personnel. Visit its Web site at www.hmea.com/hmea.html. They may also belong to the International Code Council, a membership association dedicated to building safety and fire prevention that develops the codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings. Different states also have their own associations, such as the Building Officials Association of New Jersey (www.boanj.com) and the Washington Association of Building Officials (www. wabo.org).    Tips for Entry 1. Explore jobs on Web sites such as www.bristol assoc.com and www.indeed.com. 2. Consider degree programs in engineering and facilities management. Look at programs including those at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, which offers a degree in facility and property management, at home.fpm.byu. edu. 3. Learn more about hotel engineering at this site, which provides an introduction to hotel engineering: www.maintenanceresources.com/referen celibrary/ezine/hoteleng.html. 4. Is there an area of hotel maintenance that interests you in particular? Become skilled at plumbing, electric work, carpentry, or another technical field through courses and apprenticeships.

He or she is responsible for overseeing the entire maintenance staff. This includes hiring, firing, training, and evaluating, as well as scheduling. Training is especially important for maintenance staff because it also encompasses following safety and emergency procedures.    Directors of Engineering handle the appearance of both the interior and exterior areas of a hotel or resort. They oversee landscaping, grounds, pools, and parking lots, as well as the interior common areas used by guests and staff. They ensure that everything looks clean and orderly and is operating properly. Directors of Engineering also make sure that the staff in these areas is completing the necessary tasks to make this happen.    Furthermore, Directors of Engineering make decisions regarding hotel maintenance. They review proposals and contracts, negotiating their terms. They work with vendors, consultants, clients, contractors, and suppliers for these services. Also, Directors of Engineering may explain contract terms to staff and help them understand what needs to be done. As they troubleshoot problems, they use their judgment to decide when issues can be handled internally or when outside contractors must be called in.    It is necessary for Directors of Engineering to make sure the hotel building and all new additions comply with state and federal regulations, including those from OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and ADA (the Americans with Disabilities Act). They take this into account when considering renovations and new projects. Fire protection operations are also an area of concern. Monthly inspections are typically performed to check that everything is working properly and complying with regulations.    Additional duties may include: - preparing and submitting budget estimates - developing quality control programs - managing utility systems - purchasing equipment - communicating with corporate staff - working with building code and planning/zoning officials, as well as community design committees - consulting with supervisors, owners, contractors, etc. on building openings - determining ways to cut costs and use energy efficiently - monitoring vendors to assure quality requirements, delivery times, warranties, exchanges, upgrades, and the like are observed - overseeing capital construction projects - maintaining safety manuals Every light bulb, faucet, air/heating unit, lock, and sprinkler on property is overseen by the maintenance staff. As supervisors, the Director of Engineering often will handle emergencies and speak to guests to solve problems when necessary. They can expect to work long hours including evenings and weekends to reflect hotel hours.    

Salaries    Directors of Engineering can earn between $35,000 and $65,000 per year; salaries are higher at larger and more prestigious properties. Earnings also vary by geographic location. Salaries may be contingent on the amount of staff the Director of Engineering supervises as well. Bonuses may be 10 percent of yearly salary or more.    Employment Prospects    Employment prospects are good for Directors of Engineering. Hotels and resorts need them to oversee maintenance, a critical part of hotel operations. Those Directors of Engineers with the right combination of progressively more responsible supervisory skills and technical ability will find a variety of opportunities nationwide.    Advancement Prospects    Typically, Directors of Engineering report to the director of rooms at most hotels and resorts, although in some cases they may report to the general manager. However, that is not the path one would take for advancement since a different background, skill set, and professional path is required. A Director of Engineering may advance to work at a larger property for a higher salary and more responsibility. Furthermore, he or she may advance by moving to a corporate role, overseeing engineering for several hotels in a chain. Directors of Engineering may also serve as consultants or run their own businesses, advising hospitality maintenance staff and directors.    Education and Training    Education and training requirements vary for Directors of Engineering, but technical training is a definite necessity. At large properties, many Directors of Engineering have bachelor’s degrees in engineering or facilities management; others may have two-year or technical degrees.    Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits    First and foremost, Directors of Engineering need strong technical skills. An understanding of HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), electrical, mechanical, plumbing, carpentry, and more is essential. They must be familiar with chillers, cooling towers, chemical treatments, control systems, water systems, boilers, refrigeration, compressors, and others. Additionally, Directors of Engineering should be strong managers. They often supervise large staff and must earn their respect as an authority. The ability to multitask and to stay calm in emergency situations are important, as is problem solving ability and good judgment.    Special Requirements    Some states may require licensure or certification in areas such as HVAC, electrical systems, fire safety, or plumbing for their Directors of Engineering.    

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