Russell C. Thackston, PE
Business and Administration
Master of Engineering, University of Florida, Civil Engineering and Construction
Master of Arts, Naval War College, National Security and Strategic Studies
Bachelor of Science, University of South Carolina, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Russell C. Thackston joined the University of San Diego in January 2013 and currently serves as the Vice President of Business and Administration. Reporting directly to the president, and in close coordination with academic and community leadership, he is responsible for leading the university’s growth and physical transformation into the future. The Office of Business and Administration provides critical services to campus ranging from addressing campus infrastructure and facility needs, to supporting and maximizing business operations, to strategically managing real estate development opportunities. Thackston oversees a diverse 300 person division that includes Human Resources; Public Safety; Campus Planning and Real Estate Development; Facilities Design, Construction and Maintenance; Environmental Health and Safety; Risk Management; Property Management; Auxiliary Services (including the Torero Store, Dining Services, Hospitality Services and the Campus Card System); University Copy; Mail Center; Purchasing; Transportation and Sustainability.
Prior to joining USD, Thackston served as the assistant vice chancellor, Auxiliary and Plant Services and the director of Facilities Management at UC San Diego. While overseeing a team of 1,000 employees and managing an annual budget of $120 million, he improved business processes and significantly reduced his division’s operating costs while increasing annual revenues. Recognized for his leadership of university campus sustainability initiatives, he helped create a nationally recognized, innovative sustainability and renewable energy program earning UCSD numerous awards including the Sierra Club’s third “Coolest School” award.
A retired captain, Thackston left the Navy Civil Engineer Corps in 2003. During his 24-year career, he planned, designed, constructed, maintained and operated Navy and Marine Corps installations in Antarctica, Japan, Hawaii and numerous United States mainland locations including the Camp David Presidential Retreat. With a focus on quality and reducing total cost of ownership, he delivered several billion dollars of new construction and energy projects that reduced operating costs while promoting sustainable practices.
A registered professional engineer, Thackston earned his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical and computer engineering at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, a Master of Engineering in civil engineering and construction from the University of Florida, and a Master of Arts in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College in Newport, RI. He also completed the Ross School of Business Executive program at the University of Michigan.
Thackston lives in Coronado with his wife, Bridget, a native San Diegan and registered nurse, and his youngest daughter, Morgan, a high school junior. His oldest daughter, Kelsey, attends UC Santa Cruz, and his son, Ian, is employed by a software solutions company in Silicon Valley.