Guest Experience Assistant (Aquarium)

The Guest Experience Assistant, supervised by the Senior Curator of Live Exhibits Operations, is responsible and accountable for the coordination of Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Husbandry Department Premium Experiences. This position coordinates the logistics of revenue generating tours and Wild Encounters and assist the Senior Curator of Live Exhibits Operations with fostering effective communication with Operations, Administration, and Guest Services staff related to Premium Experiences. The Assistant will conduct sub-department meetings to support the efficient, safe, animal welfare-minded, and financially secure execution of Premium Experiences. Supports the exploration of premium experience integration into husbandry routines and is proactive in collaboration with husbandry staff to ensure safe husbandry and welfare best practices and procedures during premium experiences. The Guest Experiences Assistant is a working position and will be integrated into routine husbandry, enrichment, and behavioral training practices as necessary. The position may be asked to represent the Husbandry department in the development of Audubon Nature Institute wide initiatives related to guest enhancement s and premium experiences.

Job Description:

Provide a guest experience of outstanding quality

  • Approach all encounters with employees and guests in a friendly, service-oriented manner. 
  • Maintain the highest industry standards related to premium experiences and in support of Husbandry requirements and procedures.
  • Work evening, weekend, holiday hours – required.
  • Return telephone messages and e-mails in a timely fashion. 
  • Handle problems in the workplace, including anticipating, preventing, identifying, and solving problems as necessary.
  • Make decisions consistent with Audubon Nature Institute policies and procedures. 
  • Perform facility and exhibit maintenance, including but not limited to, trash and debris removal, floor cleaning, painting, building repair, horticultural duties, etc. 
  • Interact positively and establish and maintain effective, efficient and cooperative relationships with employees, senior administration, vendors, and customers. 
  • Maintain high standards of personal appearance and grooming including proper uniform standards, 
  • Ensure that educational and fee-based programming is entertaining and enhances the guest experience.
  • Oversee and participate in public interaction including behind the scenes tours, speaking engagements, media communication, and guest education.
  • Maintain a welcoming, positive and uplifting office environment.
  • Cultivate positive relationships with staff, and guests.
  • Practice selecting among alternative courses of action quickly and accurately to resolve guest problems that arise prior to and during each program occurrence.
  • Assume full responsibility for the clerical functions of the Husbandry Premium Experiences so that the programs run efficiently.
  • Work overtime as needed to ensure all details are finalized and logistics are fine-tuned.
  • Seek out opportunities to promote conservation and activism through guest enhancement sand premium experiences in accordance with the Audubon Mission.

Weave quality entertainment through the guest experience

  • Support the welfare and care of the AAOA live animal collection through safe and collection-sensitive tour and experience practices and procedures 
  • Assist with health and care of the animal collection, including treatment procedures as directed by Curatorial staff. 
  • Ensure timely and effective communication with husbandry staff to support quality welfare and care of the live collection and exhibit physical condition.
  • Ensure safe and animal-sensitive approaches to premium experience planning and execution
  • Available to step in to a premium experience, tour, or PR engagement to conduct the event.
  • Assist the Husbandry Department in all phases of development, organization and follow-up with all Husbandry Department experiences, to include but not be limited to Premium Experiences (Husbandry) and Behind the Scenes tours and Animal Access Opportunities.
  • Serve as a Husbandry Department liaison to various Audubon Nature Institute departments to facilitate efficient program operation, for each Husbandry department experience.
  • Ensure that guests have a high-quality experience, striving to exceed all guest expectations, regularly evaluating and implementing program improvements as needed.

Experience the diversity of wildlife.

  • Convey information and ideas clearly. 
  • Compose premium experiences-related information for publication in the following: Audubon’s website, AZA’s website and other publications.
  • Work in partnership with husbandry staff and veterinarians to ensure effective health management and of the live collection as requested. 

Provide a safe and efficient workplace that supports effective facility operations.

  • Monitor and evaluate Guest Enhancements and Premium Experience operations and safety compliance.
  • Assist in the development and preparation of educational materials associated with the program.
  • Schedule and lead regularly scheduled program team meetings to facilitate timely and effective communications.
  • Assist with the development, implementation, and evaluation of program operations and safety protocols, program procedures, and training.
  • Review and recommend innovative technology and procedures that can enhance programming.
  • Assist in the evaluation of staff with regard to knowledge, and program quality

Educate our diverse audience about the natural world. 

  • Coordinate and communicate program activities to Director of Husbandry, Husbandry staff, volunteers, and other Audubon departments as requested.
  • Conduct behind-the-scenes tours for VIP’s, donors, and Audubon Education programs as scheduled.
  • Interact with the public which may include on and off grounds educational and media presentations.
  • Develop and present educational programs as required. 
  • Function as an interpreter and an ANI spokesperson.

Operate a financially self-sufficient collection of museums and parks

  • Provide assistance to Husbandry Department in the daily management of existing experiences, new programs, animal training/conditioning, and other facets of animal care related to Premium Experiences. 
  • Maximize of revenues by controlling cost and operating efficiently.

Experience: At least two years’ experience in project logistics coordination. Experienced SCUBA diving in a leadership role is preferred. Experience with AZA Animal Handling techniques required.

Education: Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology, Mariculture, Aquaculture, Fisheries Management or related field preferred.

Licensure/Certification: 

  • Valid driver’s license
  • Certified Diver Preferred
  • SCUBA Certification Preferred

Software Requirements: Proficiency in Microsoft Office.

Machinery/Tools/Equipment Requirements: Must have the ability to use mobile devices, computer, fax, scanner, phone, and copy machine.

Physical Requirements:

  • Heavy work: lifting up to 80lbs pounds occasionally, or a negligible amount of force frequently to lift, carry, push, pull, or otherwise move objects. Will involve standing most of the time, but may involve walking or sitting for brief periods of time.
  • Must be able to lift 80 pounds.
  • Must possess strong swimming skills and be able to pull oneself out of a pool.
  • Must be able to walk, bend, kneel, and climb stairs and ladders while in dive gear.
  • 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.
  • Must have cognitive and communication skills required to function within the department. 
  • Regular hearing and the ability to perceive the nature of sounds.
  • Must possess excellent organizational skills.
  • Must be able to read, write and speak English.
  • Must be safety conscious. 
  • Demonstrate effective communication skills with supervisors and co-workers.
  • Demonstrate the ability to make sound decisions in the absence of supervision, assume responsibility without direction and willingness to assist in achieving facility and Audubon Nature Institute goals.

If SCUBA certified the Coordinator will be:

  • Able to swim efficiently at the surface
  • Able to swim efficiently underwater
  • Able to tow another diver while in full SCUBA gear
  • Able to tread water/float on the surface
  • Able to assemble, ditch and don SCUBA gear 
  • Excellent control of buoyancy
  • Able to clear SCUBA mask and swim without a mask underwater
  • Regulator skills – recover and clear, and breathe through free-flowing regulator
  • Comfort underwater in all conditions, stressful or otherwise

Environmental/Working Conditions:

  • Must be willing and able to dive up to four hours per day in temperate (50F- 78F) fresh and salt water.
  • Working long hours between breaks or meals required.
  • Ability to work under and handle stress in an appropriate manner required.
  • Must be able to work in moderately noisy environments, dirty conditions and cramped spaces.
  • Must be willing and able to handle raw seafood.
  • Must be able to work with potentially hazardous chemicals associated with analysis and treatment of exhibits.
  • Must be able to work unsupervised and with a team.
  • Affinity for animals preferred.
  • Exposure to fluctuations in air temperatures may be required.
  • Must be able to work in all types of weather both indoors and outdoors Working long hours between breaks or meals required

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