Vice President of Animal Health & Chief Veterinarian - The Florida Aquarium

Posted: 8 March 2022  |   Full-Time   | The Florida Aquarium
Location: Tampa, Florida, United States
Service Group: Animal Care & Health / Animal Health
Reports to: Senior Vice President of Animal Care & Health Exemption Status: Exempt (salaried)

Position Summary

The Vice President of Animal Health & Chief Veterinarian will provide leadership and direction to a best- in-class animal care program that is in alignment with and advances the strategic vision and mission of The Florida Aquarium. The position must have exemplary leadership and management skills with the ability to work with a wide variety of staff across departments throughout the aquarium. This post will manage the clinical veterinary services for the living collection at The Florida Aquarium and its outposts including preventative and emergency care, diagnostic services, and pathology. Strong written and verbal communication skills are paramount as well as the ability to work in a dynamic environment requiring flexibility and creativity.

This position will work closely and collaboratively with the Director of Animal Care to foster a positive and proactive working relationship between Animal Care and Animal Health and develop effective, practical and efficient processes and protocols to achieve exhibit goals and guest facing programming involving the animal collection. This person will also play a leadership role, working with external partners as appropriate, to develop health assessment and certification of cultured corals for transfer to other coral nurseries as well as release into the Florida Reef Tract, and oversee the veterinary care program for the rehabilitation of stranded sea turtles.

The Vice President & Chief Veterinarian is responsible for managing a team of professionals dedicated to ensuring the health of the animal collection; coordinating efficient animal health processes to timely assess and, as appropriate, treat animals entering and exiting the collection; supporting exhibit development/expansion, and species diversity; and overseeing the veterinary care program for the aquarium’s sea turtle rehabilitation and coral conservation programs in Apollo Beach, FL.

The Vice President & Chief Veterinarian will also establish and develop partnerships with organizations that support and advance the Aquarium’s mission and vision.

Essential Position Functions

  • Implements and maintains effective and efficient animal health related protocols for the aquarium’s living collection including quarantine protocols, preshipment testing, and preventative medical program standards.
  • Manages the long-term preventative medicine program for the animal collection including regular examinations, infectious disease screening, parasite surveillance, immunization, birth control, and dental prophylaxis.
  • Oversees the management of veterinary care for the aquarium’s coral conservation and sea turtle rehabilitation programs.
  • Communicates animal health and welfare concerns with the Senior Vice President of Animal Care & Health and the Director of Animal Care.
  • Leads the veterinary care team, directly supervising the Staff Veterinarian.
  • Responsible for the animal health on-call schedule, ensuring 24 hour/365 day coverage is maintained; participates in on-call rotation schedule with Staff Veterinarian, Associate Veterinarian, and/or relief veterinarian(s).
  • Maintains all mandated federal and/or state licensing as required, including the appropriate DEA licensing.
  • Ensures compliance of the veterinary care program with regulatory agencies as well as certifying and accrediting organizations such as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and American Humane Association (AHA).
  • Responds to and manages animal emergencies.
  • Examines sick or injured animals and performs necessary procedures including surgery, radiography, or other required diagnostics/treatments.
  • Oversees, reviews, and as necessary, performs necropsies and pathological analysis on mortalities of the collection.
  • Oversees the maintenance of up-to-date animal medical records in accordance with industry standards.
  • Conducts daily rounds to review the health of animal collection; fosters communication between the Animal Health and Animal Care teams.
  • Directs the teaching of visiting veterinarians, veterinary student externs, and interns/residents.
  • Overseas veterinary related research projects relevant to the collection and works to publish results in peer-reviewed scientific journals and present findings at professional conferences and meetings as appropriate.
  • Manages the Animal Health budgets.
  • Works to further the mission of the organization.
  • Serves with other key operational leadership colleagues from various departments on the Aquarium Management Team.
  • Serves on various aquarium committees as appointed.
  • Represents the aquarium at selected conferences and speaking engagements; gives media interviews
  • Perform other related duties assigned by the Senior VP of Animal Care & Health.

People Management Responsibilities

Staffing and development
  • Includes hiring, coaching, counseling, workload balancing, development and training
Evaluation and recognition
  • Establishes performance goals, conducts periodic coaching reviews, and evaluates performance and merit pay increases in recognition of contributions
  • Communicates The Florida Aquarium’s purpose, vision, mission and values to all group team members
  • Creates an atmosphere of team concepts, integrity, risk-taking, empowerment, and trust among team members
Managing diversity
  • Ensures the commitment to equal opportunity is demonstrated through the implementation of The Florida Aquarium’s equal opportunity/affirmative action programs
  • Utilizes the potential of all team members without discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, or veteran status

Education Requirements and Technical Skills

  • Doctor of Veterinary medicine degree or equivalent (D.V.M. or V.M.D.)
  • State of Florida Veterinary License or ability to obtain within 1 year
  • Minimum of eight (8) years’ experience in exotic animal medicine from a zoo, aquarium or related field with specific knowledge of avian, icthyological and herpetological medicine
  • Minimum of five (5) years direct supervisory experience
  • Post-mortem examination experience
  • Working knowledge of animal record keeping software desirable
  • DEA Certificate required
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office software (Excel, Power Point, Access, Scheduler, Mail)
  • SCUBA certification desirable
  • Valid driver’s license

Core Competencies

  • Customer Service Orientation — Listening to and understanding the customer (both internal and external) and anticipating and evaluating the customer’s needs; making the customer’s satisfaction a high priority in all areas of responsibility
  • Teamwork — Supporting, facilitating, and participating in activities that promote team effectiveness; demonstrating sensitivity for the feelings and needs of team members and supporting team goals
  • Communication (oral and written) — Effectively expressing ideas verbally and non-verbally and actively listening to individuals and groups; preparing and focusing presentations to the characteristics and needs of the audience; expressing ideas clearly and concisely in written form, through memoranda, letters, reports, and other documents
  • Leadership (Individual) — Effective and appropriate use of interpersonal skills to motivate individuals toward the accomplishment of goals; co-creating and communicating in a clear vision through emphasis on the organization’s mission, individual and team goals, systems and rewards
  • Professional/Technical Knowledge and Competency — Remains current on developments in the field within and outside the organization; maintains proficiencies
  • Analysis — Obtaining relevant information and identifying key issues and relationships from a base of information; comparing data from different sources (both interactive and written); defining underlying problems or opportunities and recognizing trends; defining and structuring functions and teams based on key strategies and goals
  • Planning and organizing — Establishing a course of action with specific long-range goals for the aquarium; setting priorities among competing requirements and allocating resources in the most efficient and effective way; developing contingency plans that anticipate changes in the work environment

Typical Physical Requirements

  • Sitting (4 hours per day)
  • Standing (4 hours per day)
  • Walking (4 hours per day)
  • Bending/Stooping — Occasionally
  • Squatting — Occasionally
  • Climbing stairs —Frequently
  • Reaching above shoulders — Occasionally
  • Crouching — Occasionally
  • Kneeling — Occasionally
  • Pushing/Pulling — Occasionally
  • Carrying (up to 25 lbs.) — Occasionally
  • Lifting (up to 25 lbs.) — Occasionally
  • Working near moving machinery — Occasionally
  • Exposure to marked changes in temperature and humidity
  • Exposure to dust, fumes and gases
  • Typing on a computer keyboard
  • Viewing a computer screen for extended periods
  • Coping with demands (stresses that are associated with the job and/or the work environment so that acceptable levels of performance and overall contribution are maintained)
  • Ability to travel (car) as needed — locally and/or nationally
  • Ability to travel (air) as needed
  • Ability to conduct field work in collection and research
  • Daily contact with a living collection of plants and animals in a central Florida climate
  • Flexibility in working weekends, evenings, and holidays
  • Available for on-call emergencies
  • Ability to interact and be around wild animals
  • Exposure to various plants and birds
  • Subject to bites, stings and scrapes

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is the global alliance of regional associations, national federations, zoos and aquariums, dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats around the world.

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