One does not have to talk long with Alan Burr to realize that he is passionate about what he does. Though Burr has only been working at New College as the new director of physical plant since the middle of September, it is clear that he knows what he is doing. Burr has worked in facilities management of universities and colleges since 2002, first at the University of Dubuque in Iowa, and most recently at the State College of Florida in Bradenton.
As director of Physical Plant, Burr will be responsible for overseeing the college’s custodial, grounds and maintenance operations as well as overseeing the facilities planning and construction. In this role he will be working to help realize the Campus Master Plan.
After Bob Mason left his position as director of Physical Plant last April for a position at the University of Central Florida, the college was tasked with finding a replacement. The search for a new director was a four-month process at the end of which Burr was selected from a pool of 39 candidates. Alan Dawson, the associate director of facilities management and planning, served as the interim director prior to hiring Burr. Burr appeared to be a good fit, as he saw the University of Dubuque face similar expansion to what the New College administration would like to see.
“Dubuque had 700 students when I started there and 1,100 when I left,” Burr said.
An Iowa native, and avid Hawkeyes fan, Burr moved down to Sarasota with his family of five in 2006 when his wife was offered the position of vice president of finances at Ringling College of Art and Design. Before moving to Florida, Burr was responsible for managing expansions of a library and science facility and the construction of football and soccer practice fields as well as a student apartment complex and other projects for the University of Dubuque.
When asked about any challenges he anticipates facing at New College Burr said, “The obvious things are that the college is bordered by a commercial airport and the Gulf of Mexico and has a U.S. highway running through it. Those are unique challenges.”
Before moving to higher education Burr was in the Army National Guard, held jobs in masonry construction, and was an urban and regional planner for the states of Illinois and Iowa. Burr has a bachelor’s degree in environmental policy from the University of Dubuque and a master’s degree in leadership from Nova Southeastern University.
A wrestler in high school Burr now spends his free time with his wife and three daughters or watching “The Big Bang Theory.”