Retired Navy commander takes over as physical plant director



A new physical plant director has been hired by UK to replace long-time director Jack Applegate who passed away two years ago. Newly retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. Kevin Kreide, 46, assumed his new post on Aug. 1 after a lengthy search.

“(Applegate) was a long-time employee that did a tremendous job here, and he was a tough person to replace,” said Bob Wiseman, vice president for facilities management at UK. “Of all the candidates we interviewed for this position over the past two years, I found Kevin’s temperament to be the best suited to this community. On a college campus he’s going to be out and about talking to people and understanding their needs, and I felt confident in him.”

Wiseman said he was looking for someone who had managed large facility operations before, because UK’s physical plant has more than 500 employees, as well as someone who had managed different facilities, like residence halls, utility plants, electrical systems and major buildings. A national search resulted in Kreide’s hiring.

“Initially, we conducted a search committee of users on campus and different customers of the physical plant,” Wiseman said.

The original pool of candidates was comprised of employees of the physical plant that had worked for over a year, but the committee was not happy with those finalists, he said.

“The next thing I did was hire a national search firm, Helbling and Associates, and they gave us eight to 10 names of what they thought were very qualified individuals based on what we had told them we were looking for,” Wiseman said.

When recommendations were turned in to Wiseman, Kreide was the overwhelming recommendation.

Kreide, who has a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Arizona, a masters in engineering and environmental engineering from the University of Maryland, and a license as a professional engineer in the state of Virginia, was an active duty commander in the Navy for 22 years.

“Predominantly all of my experience was in facilities and construction management,” Kreide said. “I had been facility director of some pretty large naval bases in my career.”

Kreide’s resume includes facility director of Naval Medical Center San Diego, Naval Station Great Lakes and Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach. Great Lakes, which houses the Navy’s only boot camp, is centered solely on training and is similar to a college campus in that respect, he said.

“When I was getting ready to retire from the Navy, going into facility management is what I knew I wanted to do,” Kreide said. “I focused in on higher education, specifically, because a college campus and a navy base are similar. I’m drawn to higher education because I enjoy the academics, athletics and the sense of community that you get at a college campus.”

Wiseman said the largest challenge Kreide will face is stretching the physical plant’s limited budget to keep UK’s collection of older and aging buildings in good shape.

Kreide said some of his goals are, “coming in and hopefully making a positive impact not only on the physical plant department, but also on campus as a whole; trying to improve efficiencies within the maintenance division; and trying to improve the quality of life of the students and staff that utilize the facilities.”

Kreide is joined in Lexington with his wife Ellen, and their three children, Ruby, Carson and London, after their tenth move in the last 22 years.

“We are looking forward to settling down,” Kreide said. “I’m very excited to be here. I look forward to the opportunity of working with everyone on campus, and working with the UK community … and I’m looking forward to basketball season.”