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Meet the Staff

Alexander Kohnen, Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Facilities Officer 

Alexander Kohnen oversees the planning, program management and implementation of best practices for all aspects of Vanderbilt University’s facilities and ground operations, maintenance, utilities, construction and real estate initiative. He leads a workforce of over 500+ staff members responsible for the physical campus, which encompasses 12 million total square feet of space, including 7.9 million square feet of buildings, 340 acres of land, 2.9 million square feet of real estate property, 1.8 million feet of garages, a combined heat and power plant and comprehensive underground utility infrastructure, and the design and construction of capital projects.  

Kohnen is an alumnus of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he earned a B.S. in aerospace engineering with a focus in astrodynamics. Kohnen’s experience and expertise spans more than 28 years, encompassing facilities operations, energy efficiency and environmental engineering. His background includes two decades as a naval officer, where the focus of his work was on facilities and construction management, at home and abroad, including Afghanistan and Iraq.  

Before joining Vanderbilt Kohnen was the Vice President for Facilities Development and Management at Arizona State University. Kohnen holds a master’s degree in business administration from Colorado State University and a master’s degree in environmental engineering from the University of Florida.  


Paul Goodman, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Maintenance and Operations

Paul Goodman manages the Vanderbilt University Maintenance and Operations (VUMO), assists in orchestrating an expansive infrastructure capital program and ensures the department’s continued support of the university’s mission and vision. VUMO is comprised of campus energy, cogeneration utilities, maintenance, engineering services, grounds, building services, moving, pest control, key shop, paint shop and waste & recycling.

Paul oversees the planning, implementation of best practices and advancement of this department while fostering a positive, inclusive, productive, and proactive customer-oriented work environment to enhance relationships across campus and the community.

Paul has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Texas Tech University and a Master of Business Administration from Colorado State University, and is a registered Professional Engineer. Prior to joining Vanderbilt, he served as the Associate Vice President for Facilities at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) for 22 years.


Julie Covington, Director of Campus Planning and Construction

Julie Covington is the Director of Campus Planning and Construction and came to Vanderbilt after working as a Principal, Owner, and Project Manager at Johnson Johnson Crabtree Architects. Earning a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Tennessee, Julie works in this leadership role to offer the project managers support, guidance, and insight into all projects managed by CPC. Julie also assists with contract execution, architect, contractor selection, and is a core member of the eBuilder team. She was the project manager on notable projects such as the Engineering and Science Building, School of Nursing Expansion and Renovation, Divinity School Expansion, and the renovations and expansion at the 6 Magnolia (formerly Home Economics), Mayborn, and Connector buildings.


Margaret Emley, Director of Vanderbilt University Real Estate

Margaret Emley is the Director of Real Estate at Vanderbilt University (VURE). She’s been working at her alma mater since 2016, both in the Assistant Director and Director roles. VURE manages over 3 million gross square feet of commercial and multifamily facilities and oversees acquisitions, dispositions, off-campus leasing. As part of Vanderbilt’s FutureVU land-use plan completed in 2017, VURE is managing Vanderbilt’s first public-private partnership to develop graduate and professional student housing.

Prior to joining Vanderbilt, Margaret worked for RCLCO, a real estate advisory firm where she provided market-driven and analytically sound real estate solutions to private developers and public universities. Margaret is a graduate of Vanderbilt University with a degree in Human and Organizational Development and Psychology.


Allyson Sullivan, Executive Director of Business Operations

Allyson Sullivan served as the Director of Vanderbilt University Real Estate before she was appointed Executive Director of Business Operations in 2017 following a nationwide search. Ally is responsible for the oversight of the fiscal, administrative and business that serves the institution-wide Facilities department. She oversees the Business Operations Center, a shared services unit that offers an enhanced focus on streamlining and effective client interfaces while providing exceptional customer experiences and engagement. Since assuming her position, Ally has created a new Employee Engagement group, consolidated the staff supporting various Facilities systems and mapping services, established communications for Facilities and implemented programs such as eBuilder and Lean. Ally earned her Bachelor of Science in Economics with a financial emphasis from Southern Methodist University, and is a graduate of the Vanderbilt Leadership Academy class of 2015-2016.