Case Studies

John D. Tweedy – Georgia Tech

Timelines to touchdowns: Yards of potential in college athletics facilities

Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field is home to the Yellow Jackets football program and the Georgia Tech Athletic Association—and one of the most prominent, recognizable sites on Georgia Institute of Technology’s campus. It can seat around 55,000 people—and John D. Tweedy is the one making sure the gates are open to welcome everyone from college football fans to concert goers.

As the director of facilities and capital projects—and associate athletic director— at Georgia Tech since September 2017, he has under his purview capital projects and planning, facilities management, and project and event management. He also manages 20 full-time employees and a host of third-party vendors, who work together to maintain over 1 million gross square feet of athletic facilities.

John D. Tweedy | Director of Facilities and Capital Projects (Associate Athletics Director) | Georgia Tech

John D. Tweedy | Director of Facilities and Capital Projects (Associate Athletics Director) | Georgia Tech | Photo Credit: Mandela Jones

“The top priority for me and my team is always to create and maintain an optimal daily environment for student-athletes, coaches and staff—and then recruits and campus visitors,” Tweedy says.

So, on a Georgia Tech football game day, he can be seen supervising the more than 500 workers moving around Bobby Dodd Stadium. On other days, he’s serving as a lead negotiator with clients and promoters for a major concert or working as a primary event manager for an international soccer match. He may even show up to a construction site in a hardhat to help finalize a project.

On the capital project and planning side, he oversaw the creation of a 30-year master plan in 2020 for the stadium; it includes over $300 million of projects encompassing new construction and improvements.

Yet, the stadium is just a drop in the director’s bucket, as he manages a sweeping portfolio. Working closely with his staff and collaborators like Lindsey Cottingham, senior project manager from the institute’s Office of Infrastructure and Sustainability, he has completed projects totaling over $40 million since 2018. He’s currently at helm of $86 million worth of projects across campus and beyond, such as the 18 acres of competition and training fields in the heart of bustling, midtown Atlanta.

“I love the dynamic, diverse and ever-changing nature of my role, and I’m enjoying applying the skills I’ve honed over more than a dozen years in the higher education setting,” Tweedy says.

Skylines and homeruns

With every project, Tweedy aims to advance the presence of the institute, leave a legacy and, whenever possible, make a lasting imprint on Atlanta’s unique downtown skyline—and stadiums certainly help make this thought a reality.

“We’re constantly supporting Georgia Tech’s effort to expand and develop our unique athletic footprint,” he says. “We’ve paved our own lane in the world of intercollegiate athletic facilities; we’re using innovation and intentionality to help make our student athletes better—and we feel great about doing it our way.”

Sometimes, he and others at the institute accomplish this in unexpected ways. For instance, even after renovations in 2021, the Russ Chandler baseball stadium is one the shortest buildings on campus and in the city. Yet, it stands out, a stamp of green turf surrounded by traditional brick exteriors evoking nostalgic feelings of all-American baseball amidst a forest of modern metal and glass.

John D. Tweedy | Director of Facilities and Capital Projects (Associate Athletics Director) | Georgia Tech

Photo Credit: GT Athletics/Danny Karnik

“Mac Nease Baseball Park at Russ Chandler Stadium is one of the premier baseball locations in the country, and I was excited to have a hand in recreating this stadium, an unforgettable piece of Yellow Jacket baseball history,” Tweedy says.

The $10 million stadium renovation project began in 2020 after the fundraising was completed. Tweedy and his team coordinated between departments and vendors in the demolition of the one-story building and the construction of the 25,000-square-foot two-story structure.

Opened in April 2021, the new stadium features a concourse-level atrium, premium suites and new amenities, such as larger bathrooms and an outdoor plaza. It also has an expanded indoor training facility with three batting cages, two pitching tunnels and a player development center. The center includes a motion capture lab, which enables Georgia Tech student-athletes to scientifically study their posture and stance when pitching, for instance, and improve their pitching or batting speed and accuracy.

“The development center really represents the way Georgia Tech wants to always provide the best, cutting-edge technology and support to all of our students, including our athletes,” Tweedy says. “We’re using innovation and data to help our athletes achieve their full potential.”

Goals don’t just occur on fields

With Georgia Tech’s broad and ever-increasing portfolio of projects, Tweedy’s simultaneously managing several other ventures on campus.

He’s overseeing the construction of the new $82 million, 90,000-square-foot student-athlete performance center with construction slated to begin January 2024 and doors opening in 2026. Connected to the Candler Building housing the football team’s locker room, it will have expanded space for the football team and feature coaches’ offices, players’ lounges and meeting spaces.

“We want our research here to benefit current student efforts—and athletes around the world,” Tweedy says. “We want to create and share breakthroughs in wellness performance and recovery for all athletes, not just ours.”

He also maintains and builds relationships with other campus departments to conceptualize, plan and develop potential projects, a critical component of his work, he says, as space is limited with the downtown location.

“The goal is to always safely and successfully execute any project, whether renovating a large stadium or resodding grass,” he says.

John D. Tweedy | Director of Facilities and Capital Projects (Associate Athletics Director) | Georgia Tech

Photo Credit: GT Athletics/Danny Karnik

Tweedy has brought this mentality to his work since his first role: A facilities and operation coordinator at Georgia State University where he was also completing his master’s in sports administration. Since then, his career path has wound through higher education as he’s handled facilities, operations and event management at the University of Central Florida, University of Akron and University of Minnesota.

He says he’s learned so much throughout the past decade or so, he could apply his facilities and project management skills anywhere. Currently, however, he’s enjoying his time at Georgia Tech—so much that he is also a student there. In 2022, he began working on his MBA and will graduate with his degree in summer 2024; he’s also working on obtaining his Certified Educational Facilities Professional and Certified Facility Manager certifications to add to his project management certificate from Georgia Tech’s professional education program.

Apart from academic degrees, he’s a perpetual learner, and his current role permits him to learn from others while expanding his expertise as he manages a variety of responsibilities.

“My perspective is my strongest skill,” Tweedy says. “I show up every day with an open mind and open ears with the goal of earning that next piece of understanding. It’s that incremental growth that will allow me to continue delivering at the highest of levels.”

View this feature in the Blueprint Vol. VII 2023 Edition here.

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