Job Postings

Zoo Director


Henson Robinson Zoo

Closing Date
May 14, 2021

Full-Time Zoo Director for the Henson Robinson Zoo in Springfield, IL – under the Springfield Park District Municipal Agency
Position Summary:
Under the direction of the Director of Recreation & Marketing this position will lead all aspects of the business, operations, and continued growth of the Henson Robinson Zoo. Plan, coordinate, and supervise the daily operation of the zoo, including, but not limited to educational programs, volunteer programs, special events, customer service, concession operations, gift shop operations, maintenance operations, human resource directives, finance department directives, Recreation & Marketing directives and oversee the General Curator for Animal Care, institutional practices and other duties as assigned.
Develop and re-certify standard operating procedures to ensure the Zoo is operating under the directive to perform the highest level of professional standards in animal welfare, safety, enrichment, ethics, husbandry and participate in conservation, and education. Maintain and expedite all professional permits annually pertaining to the legal requirements of the Zoo operations.
Work to implement the zoo strategic infrastructure direction through the planning of new exhibits, improvements, and acquisition of new animals. Oversee, assist with collection planning, as well as maintain the health and safety of the animal collection. Coordinate with other departments within the Park District to insure successful zoo operations. Work cooperatively with the Springfield Zoological Society in conjunction with the Director of Recreation & Marketing, and all duties at the discretion of the Springfield Park District.
Candidate should have strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work with a variety of stakeholders from visitors, volunteers, other staff, sub-contractors, user groups and Park District administration. Strong candidates will enjoy and value working with the public and people of all ages, cultures and abilities and foster a cohesive team approach to managing the Zoo.

This position works a minimum of 40 hours per week. The Zoo Director hours will include a non-standard work week with weekdays, weekends during normal business hours and could include additional evening work and holidays as the facility needs. Schedules could fluctuate based on facility, operational and District needs.
Specific Duties:
• Responsible for the day-to-day management of the Henson Robinson Zoo. Develops policy and establishes procedures to optimize animal care and efficiency of operations both zoo animal and family entertainment center related.
• Manage and maintain current USDA, IL Dept. of Labor, Sangamon County Department of Public Health, City of Springfield, and all others required permits to operate the Zoo annually.

• Administer allocated funds, orders and maintains departmental supply needs, monitors expenditures, analyzes projected revenues, follows purchasing requirements, policies and prepares required documents pertaining to all revenues and expenses.

• Responsible for forecasting costs, anticipating needs, and monitors income and expenses, reviews completed weekly and monthly financial reports.

• Development and presentation of the annual budget, forecasting funds needed for staffing, equipment, materials, and supplies; recommends the purchase of necessary equipment and supplies.

• Responsible for employee time monitoring, online time management and bi-weekly payroll timecard processing for all direct reports; which includes following all protocols, directives, discipline, goal setting and scheduled demands set by the District HR Department.

• Direct supervision of General Animal Curator, Zoo Guest Services & Marketing Manager, Zoo Education Facilitator and Zoo Maintenance staff.

• Provide support supervision, guidance and direction for the animal care staff in conjunction with the General Curator for Zookeepers and Zoo Interns. Ensure that all animal care and education staff adhere to institutional policies and practices and remain current in training. This person will promote staff development, technical training, and morale. Ensure sound coordination and implementation of the Animal Care Intern Program and Education Intern Program.

• Assists the General Curator on management of the zoos collection plan. Assists coordinate acquisitions/dispositions, breeding and other SSP recommendations. Monitor correspondence regularly with General Curator and SSP’s, zoological facilities, and others as needed to fulfill recommendations to collection.

• Effectively communicate information regarding Park District and Zoo policies, programs, visitors and services to staff, volunteers, and customers.

• Establish and maintain a culture that fosters team-based operations with continuous improvement to processes.

• Schedules and chairs regular staff meetings focused on animal care, welfare, Zoo operations, improving the visitors experience, cost containment, attendance, special events and overall continued improvement of the Henson Robinson Zoo.

• Zoo Director attends as invited committee/staff/public meetings representing the facility.

• Participates in Departmental Committees (animal welfare, research, conservation, SPD recreation, and others as assigned)

• Assist as needed for daily zoo operations, animal care, guest services, business services, special events and educational opportunities.

• Assists and back-up management for all aspects of Zoo business, Animal Care, Curator, Keepers, Guest Service, Marketing when other managers/staff off grounds or out of town for extensive periods.

• Ensure the customers’ needs are addressed, met and issues communicated to the appropriate staff.

• Perform the job safely and in compliance with district policies, procedures, work, and safety rules. Be familiar with the safe operation of any equipment necessary in accomplishing required tasks.

• (With instruction/training) Working knowledge of the Recreation Software system of registration and Point of Sale equipment housed at the front desk(s) or on independent computer systems, Zoo internet systems.

• Responsible for ensuring Education Learning Facilitator has appropriate Zoo Education information listed in Park District brochures, on-grounds way-finding development and Zoo Education programming.

• Plans and develops new exhibits with collaboration from General Curator and final oversite by the Dir. of Recreation & Marketing. Must be able to work closely with architects, contractors to oversee the design and construction of new exhibits with knowledge pertaining specifically to animal husbandry, exhibit space needs, safety for the animals and public.

• Under the direction of the Park District Marketing Department – works with news media, groups, agencies, and other zoos for the promotion of the Henson Robinson Zoo. Ensures the preparation of news releases, printed articles, weekly television spots and other public relation activities.

• Supervises and plans promotional activities at the zoo, annual special events, fundraiser.

• Works closely with the Springfield Zoological Society along with the Dir. of Recreation & Marketing, at the discretion of the Park District, to promote the zoo and assist in the coordination of their events.

• Ability to communicate effectively within the office environment and to the necessary parties affected by changes or customer needs.

• Establish orderly filing and/or resource areas/systems. Responsible for data entry, word processing and email communications, record retention policies.

• Oversees and directs annual Veterinarian contracts, schedules, expenditures related to veterinarian animal care services and monitors Vet budget line item closely with General Animal Curator.

• Other duties as assigned by the Director of Recreation & Marketing.

• Attend professional conferences and workshops to stay with trends and information regarding zoo animal collections. Serve as the Institutional Representative for various (Taxon Advisory Group) TAG and Species Survival Plan (SSP) correspondence.

• Continue to work on the relationship with SSP and obtain AZA Sustainability Partnership

• Continue process of obtaining accreditation with ZAA. Maintain a Professional ZAA Membership.

• Serves as the zoo’s Research Coordinator and Registrar. Must review and approve or deny all research proposals that are to be conducted on any members of the zoo’s animal collection.

Education and Pre-requisites

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
• Preferred candidates would have a bachelor’s degree in zoology, biology, or related field. Background in business administration, family entertainment operations a plus. A minimum of three years of management experience in a zoo or aquarium is preferred. Additional work experience may be considered in exchange for degree.
• Must have a very broad understanding of zoological park operations and an understanding of AZA/ZAA procedures and policies.
• Ability to supervise and direct multi-levels of staff.
• Experience with animal records programs including ZIMS.
• Ability and willingness to work any additional hours on weekends, evenings, and special events as the schedule demands outside of any regular work schedule when necessary.
• Commitment to the mission and core values of the Springfield Park District and Henson Robinson Zoo.
• Must be able to read and write and have good command of the English language.
• Good oral and written communication.
• Physical capabilities – lifts 50 pounds, squat, bend and move as necessary for the job.
• Must be able to perform basic mathematics.
• Must have basic proficiency of Microsoft Excel and Word.
• Must possess valid Illinois Driver’s License.
• Must possess professional phone skills and work well with the public.
• Must present a neat and professional appearance.
• Responsible to follow policies and procedures outlined in Springfield Park District employee manual.
• Must live in Sangamon County, in the State of Illinois or must be willing to move to Sangamon County in the State of Illinois within the first 6 months of acceptance of a position with the Springfield Park District.

Compensation and benefits

Annual Salary $55,000 – $60,000
Full benefits, vacation, sick, personal, holiday pay
Full medical benefits for the employee only
IMRF Retirement – 10 years vested
Life Insurance
Optional Dental & Medical Insurance with premium

Application instructions

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