KENNETT SQUARE, PA – Longwood Gardens today announced the appointment of John Zurn as Vice President of Facilities and Capital Projects. In this role, Zurn will oversee a team of more than 60 full-time staff, as well as the construction and maintenance of Longwood facilities, supporting infrastructure and systems, and all capital and operating projects.
A seasoned leader, Zurn comes to Longwood after 11 years as the Director of Design and Construction at the University of Pennsylvania, where he oversaw budgeting, design, engineering, legal, architecture, construction, and measurement and verification of capital projects throughout the University.
“With an impressive record of leading cross-disciplinary teams through projects from inception to completion and his extensive experience in facilities maintenance and operations, we’re excited for John to join our team,” said Longwood Gardens Chief Horticulture and Facilities Officer Sharon Loving. “After a nationwide search, John’s strong and varied background and his commitment to driving sustainability efforts made him a perfect fit with our mission and our vision for the future.”
As an executive manager, attorney, and engineer, Zurn’s experiences vary from building rehabilitations to art installations. While at Penn, he managed the development of a master plan for the Morris Arboretum and the award-winning gut rehabilitation of the Richards Medical Research Labs (a National Historic Landmark designed by Louis Kahn).
“It’s an honor to join the exceptional team at Longwood Gardens,” Zurn said. “I look forward to continuing Longwood’s high standards of excellence and its long-standing legacy of innovation.”
Before his tenure at the University of Pennsylvania, Zurn worked as the Director of Facilities for Philadelphia Housing Authority where he oversaw housing maintenance and operations for more than 84,000 tenants and managed more than $80 million in capital upgrades and new construction. Though much of his career has focused on infrastructure, Zurn completed five deployments on a nuclear ballistic missile submarine as a Commissioned Officer in the United States Navy.
Zurn arrives as Longwood is in the midst of its most ambitious capital project in a century, Longwood Reimagined: A New Garden Experience. The $250 million project encompasses 17 acres and includes a 32,000 sq. ft. state-of-the art conservatory, a new administration building, and new dining and event spaces. The project is slated for completion in fall 2024.
Zurn is an engaged community member with a passion for serving others. While at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, he represented military veterans seeking disability benefits through the National Veterans’ Legal Services Program pro bono. He is a past trustee of the Union Benevolent Association, and a past director of the Center City Residents Association in Philadelphia.
Zurn holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a two-year certificate in business and public policy from the Warton Business School. He holds a Master of Science equivalent in nuclear engineering from the Naval Nuclear Power School and received his bachelor’s degree in control systems engineering from the United States Naval Academy.