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Habitat Production Manager

The National Aquarium
Baltimore, United States Posted: November 08, 2023

The Habitat Production Manager is a hands-on manager of assigned habitat shop spaces, habitat shop staff, habitat fabrication projects, and associated budgets. The Habitat Production Manager must utilize leadership, communication, organization, and negotiation skills to make sound decisions based on analysis, experience, and judgment, occasionally under pressure. The HPM must be well versed in state-of-the-art habitat design and production materials and methods to produce high quality habitat simulations that are aesthetically pleasing, functional, durable, and non-toxic to the aquarium’s display animal and plant collection(s). The HPM must be a highly focused and creative individual who consistently offers smart solutions, efficient workflow, and value. The HPM must also be a flexible team player who can assemble talented creative teams, motivate and unite staff, and deliver exceptional results on time and on budget. The HPM must have the ability to orchestrate the efforts of staff and contractors in a timely and efficient manner to advance projects to completion.

  • Hire, train, and mentor habitat fabrication staff.
  • Lead and manage habitat shop staff. Includes staff scheduling, training, work plans, time management and time sheets, as well as resolution of employee relations concerns and annual performance management reviews.
  • Lead the aquarium habitat design effort championing design ideas by producing sketches, models, prototypes, and test pieces that foster team buy-in and promote confidence in team decisions.
  • Create and maintain documentation for all essential habitat fabrication functions, projects, and tasks to sustain the National Aquarium’s high-quality standards for all live and interpretive exhibits.
  • Create time and material estimates for all habitat projects and provide team leaders and team members in the format requested and in a timely manner.
  • Establish the budget and schedule for habitat projects.
  • Provide clear, concise, thorough, and timely communication and information distribution for all aquarium related and departmental efforts.
  • Successfully oversee multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Direct the efforts of vendors and contractors as needed on a per project basis using drawing, diagrams, models, written, and verbal explanations.
  • Contribute to the ongoing development of departmental management methods.
  • Create and/or participate in the creation of design packages for RFQ distribution.
  • Create and maintain the habitat shop project schedules, habitat shop material inventory list, habitat shop tool inventory list, and habitat shop task lists, etc.
  • Determine project resource requirements, anticipate workload and staffing requirements coordinating with other team leads (Exhibit Fabrication Lead & Exhibit Operations Lead) on the resourcing plan.
  • Provide input on build solutions and communicate appropriately with other exhibit leads and other project team designers.
  • Research and test new materials and techniques to maintain high-quality, durable, and realistic habitat elements.
  • Provide operational support for habitat elements that require refurbishment.
  • Coach the habitat team on new materials, methodology, techniques, and best practices.
  • Conduct investigations into the subject(s) of habitat simulation work in the form of written descriptions, dimensional parameters, and visual imagery to ensure accurate, precise, and naturalistic representations.
  • Actively engage in risk management and SDS compliance for the Habitat Production group, Habitat Production workspaces, and Habitat Production projects.
  • Embrace responsibility as the most accountable person for safety in the execution of all habitat production projects and operations.
  • Maintain habitat shop equipment manuals for training and effective use of equipment.
  • Effectively communicate with design team, contractors, and vendors.
  • Manage subcontracted tasks associated with habitat production assignments.
  • Lead any habitat shop value engineering review/feedback efforts.
  • Create as-built information packages and SOP documents consistent with organizational need.
  • Always maintain a professional and positive demeanor.
  • Always maintain clean and safe workspaces.
  • Understand and adhere to all Employee Handbook requirements and goals.
Experience Required
  • Minimum of ten years of experience in zoo or aquarium habitat production, museum diorama production, or as a commercial scenic artist working in multiple disciplines with a variety of materials and methods.
  • Knowledge and experience in the use of common shop equipment such as table saw, drill press, band saw, etc. Knowledge and experience in the use of hand tools such as hammer drill, cordless drill-driver, hand-sanders, jigsaw, reciprocating saw, etc.
  • Mastery of at least two of the following (more is better): Advanced pattern and mold making Concrete rock carving Coral molding and coral reef simulation Artificial tree, vine, and/or foliage production Foam, FRP, Composite, and Plastic Constructions and Sculptures Five years supervisory experience, preferably with an emphasis on producing habitat simulations.
  • Proven ability to manage workflow and project expenses.
  • Strong ability to communicate ideas and concepts as well as facilitate communication with other departments, contractors, and aquarium partners.
  • Computer competencies in, but not limited to, Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook) Current driver’s license with ability to pass approved driver criteria for NA (minimal to no driving record violations) Functioning personal cell phone that can, and will, be used for work purposes.


  • Knowledge or experience with AutoCAD, Parametric Solid Modeling Software (Inventor, SolidWorks, Alibre Design), Rhino, and/or digital sculpting software such as Z-brush, Freeform, Mudbox, or similar.
  • Microsoft Project (Or other advanced scheduling software, cloud based or local) Specialized Safety or Equipment Training (certified) The annual salary is $70,000- $83,000. The National Aquarium is committed to diversity and invites individuals who bring a diversity of culture, experience, and ideas to apply.
Further Comments

Recently named one of Baltimore’s Best Places to Work, the National Aquarium opened in 1981 as a nonprofit aquatic education and conservation organization, the jewel of the city’s Inner Harbor redevelopment. SmartCEO Magazine honored the National Aquarium with the Healthiest Workplace award and the Corporate Culture award in 2016. With a mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures, the Aquarium is consistently ranked one of the nation’s two top aquariums and has hosted over 51 million guests since opening. Today, the National Aquarium builds on a history of local, regional and global conservation initiatives that provide real solutions for protecting marine life, ecosystems and aquatic communities. Its Animal Rescue team has rescued, rehabilitated and released hundreds of marine mammals and endangered sea turtles throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Its Animal Care and Welfare teams participate in important research efforts to confront pressing ocean conservation issues and advocate for smarter policies at local, state and federal levels. Through education, research, conservation action and advocacy, the National Aquarium is pursuing a vision to change the way humanity cares for our ocean planet.

  • Medical, Dental, Vision, 401(K) match and More!

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