Director of Exhibit Design (Zoo)

Reporting to VP of Construction and Exhibits, the Director of Exhibit Design serves as a project lead to direct day-to-day design, schedule, and budget of new exhibits and exhibit upgrades/renovations for Audubon Nature Institute. This task included management of outside vendors and consultants, interactions with department heads and curators/husbandry to coordinate design, construction documents, budgets and construction administration of exhibit design. Primarily located at Audubon Zoo, but may be required to work at satellite facilities.

Job Description:

Provide a guest experience of outstanding quality 

  • Effectively gather information from Audubon interested parties and disseminate/communicate effectively to design teams to ensure appropriate programming and execution of exhibit designs.
  • Design and produce drawings to illustrate design ideas to stakeholders for review, input, and approval.
  • Design and produce drawings to support Development Department efforts for donor “asks”.
  • Work with VP of Construction and Exhibits and Director of Procurement to develop, design and produce bid packages and specifications that adhere to Audubon Standards and Public Bid Law for projects to be executed “in-house” and those put out to bid.
  • Develop budgets for exhibits to assist in development of Capital Project budget plans and other department budgets annually.
  • Minimize planning contract amendments and fabrication change orders by efficient and thorough review of all construction documents prior to bid.
  • Maintain and communicate a project list with estimated timelines and budgets to VP of Construction and Exhibits.
  • Effectively assess and communicate to assist VP in prioritizing projects, incorporating funding/budget issues, scheduling, guest impact, etc.
  • Meet weekly with VP to present updates and ask questions regarding all current and future projects.
  • Participate in regularly scheduled management meetings; provide accurate and pertinent information regarding exhibit designs.
  • Review all possible effects to animal safety with the support of husbandry team, facility operations, and department personnel due to proposed exhibit projects.
  • Daily site manager on exhibit projects in conjunction with contracted construction management team, animal staff, and facilities as necessary.
  • Participate in department budgeting exercise.
  • Ensure that all projects are systematically budgeted utilizing Audubon’s Purchasing department and Consulting Construction Management Firm to secure competitive pricing, etc.

Weave quality entertainment through the guest experience 

  • Demonstrate advanced exhibitry skills and knowledge of production techniques.
  • Be able to work independently to present thematic and interpretive material on graphics in an organized, logical
  • Be expected to keep up with technology advancement in required software and tools.

Weave quality entertainment through the guest experience.

  • Ensure that a professional work environment is maintained during all construction projects with minimum negative impact to guests.
  • Coordinate with Exhibit staff and outside contractors to design and fabricate graphics, signs, exhibits, and interpretive materials for all Audubon facilities.
  • Manage outside contractors and consultants, Architects, fabricators, sculptors, copywriters, and designers to meet installation goals.
  • Coordinate with Exhibts AV content staff and other vendors to produce videos and computer interactive/games and show services.

Operate a financially self-sufficient collection of museums and parks.

  • Work with VP of Construction and Exhibits as a project lead to ensure that exhibits for all capital projects are within budgeted including adequate margins to cover anticipated overages or change orders.
  • Work with VP of Construction and Exhibits as a project lead to manage budget expectations of executive team.
  • Work with VP of Construction and Exhibits as a project lead to develop project implementation and phasing that minimizes negative impact on revenue generation.
  • Minimize impact of changes throughout design and construction stages of capital projects.
  • Effectively monitor actual expenditures to budget, providing management with timely expenditure variances.
  • With support of Administrative Coordinator, submit and monitor invoices and pay applications for reimbursement to appropriate funding sources – FEMA, FP&C, City of New Orleans, Donors, and Grants.
  • Work with VP of Construction and Exhibits to support Development team in application for grants and Donor “asks”.

Desired Skills:

  • Supervision: Consultants and coordinates with Audubon staff (exhibits, facilities, husbandry, VPs and department heads, etc.). Supervises outside vendors and consultants.
  • Experience: 7 – 10 years exhibit design and interpretive design experience at the management level. Previous experience in sculpting, drafting or technical drawing, interior design, photography, video production, copy writing and editing.

Education: Minimum Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Design, Architecture or related field.

Licensure/Certification: N/A.

Software Requirements: Working knowledge of basic computer software programs, i.e., Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook or Outlook Express, and expertise in Adobe Creative Suite: Illustrator, Photoshop, and proficiency with AutoCAD or other computer assisted design software

Machinery/Tools/Equipment Requirements: Must have the ability to use mobile devices, computer, fax, scanner, and phone and copy machine. Must have ability to learn and use different signage production tools. Must have the ability to learn to use multiple types of tools for fabrication and installation of exhibit graphics. Such tools include drills, hammers, screwdrivers, saws, etc.

Physical Requirements:

  • Heavy Work: exerting up to 50 pounds of force occasionally, or a negligible amount of force frequently to lift, carry, push, pull, or otherwise move objects, including the human body. May involve sitting most of the time, but may involve walking or standing for brief periods of time.
  • Sitting or standing, bending, stooping, and the ability to carry items weighing up to 50 pounds.
  • Constant adequate range of motion and mobility required.
  • Regular near acuity with clarity of vision at 20 inches or less required.
  • Typical ability to collect and analyze numerical and written data and verbal information to reach logical conclusions and ability to determine the time, place and sequence of operations or actions required.
  • Regular talking and the ability to express and exchange ideas by means of language expected.
  • Regular hearing and the ability to perceive the nature of sounds.
  • Constant ability to read, record, or type data quickly and accurately required.
  • Standing for extended periods to construct or install signage or exhibit graphics
  • Sitting, kneeling, crawling on floor or ground.
  • Climbing, standing on a ladder or scaffolding.
  • Working from a bucket truck.
  • Using various paints, solvents and chemicals.

Environmental/Working Conditions:

  • Working long hours between breaks or meals required.
  • Ability to work under and handle stress in an appropriate manner required.
  • May be exposed to high, medium, or low noise intensity.
  • Constant contact with co-workers required.
  • Affinity for animals preferred.
  • Exposure to fluctuations in temperatures may be required.
  • Exposure to outdoor conditions may be required.

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