One-on-one with the new head of facilities


Paul Fuligni, the new associate vice president for facilities planning and management at Iowa State University, began in the position July 10.

Maggie Curry

We sat down with Paul Fuligni, the new associate vice president for facilities planning and management at Iowa State University, who began in the position July 10.

Fuligni was director of facilities management at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville previously.

Q: What was your first impression of Iowa State?

Fuligni: It’s a beautiful, well-maintained, well-established campus. When you walk on the campus you can really see the pride of place, the pride of ownership that people take.

Geography is somewhat similar [to Illinois]. You see a lot of corn, and generally very flat, but other than that this is obviously a much bigger university.

Q: In your own words, what is your job?

Fuligni: I’m lucky enough to work with a very large department of good folks who are here to design, build, operate and maintain the university buildings, roads, grounds, utilities, in support of everything pretty much. It’s an opportunity to pretty much support the entire university.

People tend to take it all for granted, except when it’s not there or not working. Which is good, because that means generally, we’re all doing our jobs.

Q: What are daily tasks?

Fuligni: It’s very diverse, it could be custodial services one day, it could be utilities work the next, it could be the grounds maintenance or landscaping, it could be supporting major events on campus. That’s the attraction, the diversity of activities.

Q: What are your goals for the position?

Fuligni: Fill some pretty big shoes. It’s an important job and there’s been some very fine people that have had it before me.

Q: When would students interact with you?

Fuligni: If people ask me for directions, but probably more often when people are interested in the construction on campus. In sustainability, we do a lot in that area, whether it be energy conservation, green building construction or LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. We support special events.

Q: Why do what you do?

Fuligni: You work with a broad variety of disciplines, from architects to landscapers to construction to utility plant operators. 

Q: Are you a dog or cat person?

Fuligni: We used to have a dog, we probably will have a dog again.

Q: What’s the last movie you saw?

Fuligni: “Indiscreet” with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. It’s an old classic, a favorite of my wife.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

Fuligni: A variety of things, I like to get out and about, so I certainly enjoy biking, I run some, do some swimming, do some traveling. I like to go out and sample the local microbreweries. We try to get out to the arts and culture so we try to go to the shows and the symphony. We understand there’s a baseball team in Des Moines so we’ll try to get down and see that.

Q: Do you have a guilty pleasure?

Fuligni: Good beer. I’m a big fan of the explosion of American micro-brewing.

Q: When you were a kid, what was your dream job?

Fuligni: I wanted to be an astronaut. I went to university for civil engineering.

Q: What could you not live without?

Fuligni: Pasta. All kinds of pasta, but it’s gotta be al dente.