A lifetime of forward-thinking leadership and commitment to improving the lives of those around him has led Mark Goudsblom to receive UFV’s 2022 Inspirational Leadership Award.
Now Associate Vice President, Campus Planning and Facilities Management, Goudsblom was originally a nurse by profession, coming to Canada from his native Holland on a honeymoon with wife Mirjam. They fell in love with the people and natural beauty, eventually immigrating after reading about Canada’s nursing shortage. More than 20 years later, Goudsblom’s approach to leadership has evolved, but the core concern remains the same.
“In healthcare, everything should be focused on the patient, and everything we do here at UFV should be focused on the student,” he says.
“Everything that we touch, feel, or smell — our whole physical environment — has an impact on our physical well-being. So, if we want students, staff, and faculty to be in an environment that inspires them, then that’s where you need to translate your focused attention.”
Starting as a nurse at St. Paul’s Hospital, Goudsblom rose through the ranks, becoming a clinical leader before moving on to leadership positions at MSA Hospital and Abbotsford Regional Hospital, eventually ascending to Director of Site Operations for Fraser Health. It was during this time that a passion for strategic design and capital work was born. Those skills transferred seamlessly to UFV, where over the past eight years, Goudsblom helped guide inclusive and sustainable projects across the university, recently including renovations to Buildings A-East and D, D3, the Athletic Centre, C1, and UFV’s Mission campus. Next up is an $82.3M student housing development, and a second level for UFV’s dining hall.
He leads a diverse team of dozens who deliver reliable, consistent, and excellent service in facilities management, janitorial, campus planning, and sustainability. Together, they meet every challenge, keeping UFV operating safely and smoothly even through an evolving COVID-19 pandemic.
“Mark has always had a positive, can-do, willing energy to help those around him in any capacity,” says Jackie Hogan, UFV’s Chief Financial Officer and Vice President, Administration.
“He’s undoubtedly one of the most dedicated, hard-working, and caring people at the university who truly inspires all those around him.”
Goudsblom’s committee work includes UFV’s Campus Planning Advisory Committee (CPAC), Campus Planning Working Group (CPWG), Operational Continuity Committee (OCC), and Health and Safety Sub-Committee (HSSC), among others. He also lends his collaborative approach to UFV’s Five-Year Capital Plan, the annual Capital Plan, the Campus Master Plan, and the development of business cases, as well as overseeing ongoing maintenance and renovation projects. As if that wasn’t enough, he even acted in UFV’s 2019 Climate Change Theatre Action.
“Mark is exceptionally dedicated, hard-working, and compassionate with all those he encounters,” says Betty Poettcker, UFV’s AVP, Integrated Planning & Resource Allocation.
“He truly leads by example and ‘walks the talk.’”
Still, Goudsblom doesn’t do it alone. A chronic collaborator, he listens as much as he speaks, giving room and opportunity to everyone he engages with. He is especially committed to ensuring Indigenous ways of knowing, learning, and being are incorporated into all aspects of campus planning by consulting with UFV Senior Advisor on Indigenous Affairs Shirley Hardman.
Goudsblom has always been interested in leadership, honed through experience while continuously furthering his education. Following his nursing diploma in the Netherlands, he earned a BSN from the University of Victoria, certificate in BC Nursing Leadership from the University of British Columbia, Master of Health Studies (Leadership) from Athabasca University, and very recently completed his Master of Arts in Global Leadership through Royal Roads University.
Goudsblom — who reads a book a week and doesn’t need an alarm to wake around 5:30 am before swimming 100 laps — is also a passionate Aikido martial arts instructor in his adopted hometown of Mission. When he’s not hiking with his wife and dog, spending time with his sons Noah and Lucas, or hosting relatives from Holland, he’s actively pursuing a deeper understanding of leadership, not only for himself, but those he helps support.
“I’ve always liked helping other people,” Goudsblom says.
“My education helped me fine-tune my paradigm around leadership. It helped me understand what it is that I really would like to see more of — and so I changed my goal. Now, instead of trying to influence the world around me, I try to provide meaningful change in such a way that I provide a legacy for the world and children of tomorrow by looking to the future.”
Thanks to Goudsblom, that future is very bright at UFV.