Joe Higgins was appointed vice president for campus services and stewardship on November 1, 2019. Higgins joined MIT in 2016 as the Department of Facilities’ director of infrastructure operations, managing critical aspects of MIT’s facilities, including finance and administration, procurement, communications, and customer engagement. In 2018, he was appointed director of campus operations and assumed responsibility for management of campus maintenance, utilities, and facilities engineering. In that role, he advanced the adoption of transformative technology to support stewardship decisions, improve operations efficacy, manage risk, and reduce costs. With a focus on diversity and inclusion, he attracted and recruited top talent across multiple departments. Higgins provided key leadership in MIT’s alliance with Boston Medical Center and Post Office Square to enable the construction of an offsite utility-scale, 60-megawatt solar installation through a power purchase agreement, adding carbon-free energy to the grid while offsetting 40% of MIT’s electricity purchases. The largest aggregated renewal-energy purchase of its kind at the time of formation, it demonstrates a partnership and economic model for organizations of varying sizes undertaking climate-action efforts. Since Higgins arrived at MIT, the Institute has lowered net campus carbon emissions by 15% (as of 2022).
Prior to joining MIT, he served for 10 years as vice president and head of engineering for Fidelity Investments, where he also served as Fidelity’s first corporate sustainability officer. Earlier in his career, as executive director of strategic and technical services for a facilities management company, he advanced transformational initiatives and building programs at more than 100 academic and nonprofit institutions, including Harvard University, Yale University, Rockefeller University, The George Washington University, Northwestern University, Olin College of Engineering, Middlebury College, the University of Chicago, The American Museum of Natural History, and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Higgins actively supported the US Green Building Council (USGBC) during its emergent phase in the early 1990s, serving on its steering committee, in technical advisory groups, and as a USGBC LEED faculty member. He provided core technical contributions to the LEED rating systems, which have rapidly transformed the built environment across multiple industry sectors and around the globe.
A registered professional engineer, Higgins holds a BS in engineering and a BA in economics from Swarthmore College and an MSc in education research from the University of Oxford.