Donald Little is an APPA member emeritus and a consultant based in Newtown, Pennsylvania. He can be reached at

Over the past two and a half years, APPA and NACUBO have sponsored ten Resource Reallocation-Utility Strategic Assessment (RR-USA) executive briefings. These state-based meetings have directly benefited over 300 chief business and facilities officers in states from California to Maine. The theme of these briefings is as simple as it is compelling. In a highly competitive realm such as budgetary resource allocation, the plant asset portfolio must be strengthened and renewed through the discrete and beneficial action of reallocating and leveraging cost-avoided dollars.

Utility dollars, and operating budget item that is steady and of necessity adequate, can often be aggregated into a resource pool when attention is given to avoiding costs in the supply, demand, and operations phases of facilities operations.

The advent of electric utility deregulation in many states has created the possibility of purchasing the basic electric utility in an environment that can, in time, be expected to be more efficient. Expect market choices and pricing structures that give the advantage to the customer, namely, you. This phenomenon is what we mean by the supply side of the utilities operations.

Demand side activities that make wide ranging investments in the efficiency of the distribution and delivery modalities of campus utilities have become commonplace. Many colleges and universities can now match the very best efficiencies that are routinely found in the commercial real estate sectors of the economy. The potential for cost avoidance and the reallocation of these dollars has been a powerful driving force on many campuses, thus creating a utility infrastructure that is reliable, renewed, upgraded, and positioned for growth.

Given that the chief business and chief facilities officers may now have a common vision of the positive potential for RR-USA on their campus, the Getting to Go! program should be considered an increasingly urgent priority. At the recent University of Houston RR-USA executive briefing, I took the opportunity to note some basic components of organizational and procedural activity that were presented by our faculty and participants. While not exhaustive, some of these items follow in a list structured to focus on the viewpoint of the chief business officer.

Set Goals

Pick Your Team

Create a Business Plan

Gather Legal and Purchasing Assistance

Choose Your Strategic Partner(s)


Understand the Proposals/Risks/Deals