Chris Martin

Director of Business Management

Using the collective knowledge of Purdue's business management team to make sure the University runs as efficiently and as effectively as possible is Chris Martin's charge.

Martin, director of business management, oversees a team whose work is embedded into almost every aspect of the University, from constructing budgets to initiating payroll to managing research funds to creating financial models for University programs that take place across the world. It may be a huge responsibility, but Martin says his team's talent, creativity and dedication makes overseeing these functions like controlling the rudder of a well-kept boat.

Chris Martin

What is your team's structure?

My team is made up of directors of financial affairs (DFAs), business managers, research specialists, account assistants, account clerks and business process managers, who all are distributed across the West Lafayette campus. They are embedded into colleges and units; they work very closely with their deans and unit leaders, but they are under my umbrella.

At the end of the day, their deans and unit leaders feel they are essential to their business operations. I've received several emails from deans stating that their DFAs are key partners in making what they do possible — DFAs are value creators who work very diligently, day and night, to provide financial information and strategic counsel where it's needed.

What are some of your team's responsibilities?

Operationally, we are involved in everything from the creation of budgets to the front end of payroll, travel, procurement, endowment management and research funding management. Strategically, we are key collaborators in almost every University initiative that involves money. For example, we play a key role in the decadal funding plan, expanded summer offerings and the trimester plan, Purdue's global operations, massive open online courses and much more.

How do you help coordinate these efforts?

The central coordination of the business management team at Purdue is unique. This structure allows us to share business knowledge and effective practices very efficiently across traditional boundaries. We have developed a very strong communication network, and we are able to solve problems by leveraging our collective experiences.

Each year, universities visit Purdue seeking to emulate our structure. While our structure allows us to be nimble and effective, the secret to our success is the quality of our people. It's very rewarding to work with such talented, creative, hard-working, tenacious people every day. My role is to create and articulate ambitious goals for business management, and to keep the team headed in the right direction. The quality of the business management team combined with the stimulating nature of our work makes my job a real treat.

What is your professional background?

I received a business administration degree from Hanover College in southern Indiana and a master's degree in higher education administration from Purdue's School of Education. While I was serving as a resident assistant at Hanover, I realized I had a passion for higher education. I am energized by working in an environment that has a positive impact on the world.

I've been working in Business Services at Purdue for 15 years and in this position since October 2011. Working at Purdue has allowed me to combine my love of higher education with my training in business. I am truly honored to have the privilege to work with such a talented group of people at this world-class university.