Vice President of Park Operations
The Vice President of Park Operations (VPPO) is a key leadership position in the management of the High Line. Reporting to Friends of the High Line’s (FHL) Chief Operating Officer (COO), the VPPO is responsible for overseeing the High Line’s daily operations, as well as long-term planning for future operational and horticultural needs for the park and the continued development of park management protocols and staff.
The VPPO will oversee the following teams: Operations & Facilities, Maintenance, Custodians, Horticulture, and Park Services. The position works closely with other departments including Development, Communications, Planning & Design, Public Programs & Education, Venue Rentals, Art, and Food & Revenue. In addition this position works closely with the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR). This position is critical to maintaining the operational excellence of the High Line and to identifying and executing new and innovative ways to ensure an exceptional visitor experience in the park.
Primary responsibilities include:
- Organizational Strategy: Contribute to the evolution of organizational vision and values, representing the needs and goals of the broader operations staff. Achieve short-term operational goals according to season while maintaining a solid strategy for long-term projects. Continue to build on FHL’s long-term operational objectives for the park, encompassing design, horticulture, facilities & maintenance, management strategy, and public programming. Communicate these objectives to local, national, and international communities, acting as a lead spokesperson for establishing and promoting the High Line as a unique example of urban green space reclamation and renewal.
- Planning and Management: Develop and oversee maintenance and operations protocols for the High Line, consistent with standard Division of Parks and Recreation (DPR) practices and Park Rules, and adapted with specific techniques to address the unique condition of an elevated open space; establish specific goals, priorities, and management strategies for the departments of Maintenance, Custodial, Horticulture, and Visitor Services; participate in Leadership meetings to establish goals and priorities for the organization.
- Staff Management: Serve as a leader and a manager of managers. Work with departmental managers to coordinate long- and short-range protocols and work plans, including management of all facilities, maintenance, custodial, horticultural, and park services staff. Serve as a leader for the departments, ensuring good morale. Lead a large, diverse team of 51 individuals. Act as a visible and trusted leader of the organization through regular on-site interactions with the staff and public. Participate in hiring, advancement, disciplinary, and termination decisions and actions, when appropriate.
- Maintenance and Operations (M+O) Facility Management: Ensure a high level of organization and upkeep of Park Operations facilities, including office space and staff common spaces, as well as storage areas in a 20,000 sq ft M+O building at Gansevoort Street and along the High Line.
- Horticulture: Provide support for the Director of Horticulture and horticulture staff to approve plans for long-term management of a diverse group of plantings, including trees & shrubs, grasses, perennials, bulbs, and wetland plantings using sustainable methods; collaborate with the planting designers James Corner Field Operations and Piet Oudolf to manage the cultivation of, and changes to, the planting design over time.
- Programming and Events: Partner with Chief Curator, VP of Programming and VP of Development and their staff to provide operations planning, support and problem solving for events, installations and programs taking place in the park and in the building. Ensure that all staff producing events or programs in the park understand the opportunities and limitations in the space.
- Public Events and Crowd Control: Working with Development, Art and Public Programming departments, act as FHL’s authority for ensuring crowd control and emergency policies and procedures are in place for all public facing events. Work closely with departmental manager to prioritize visitor safety.
- Safety, Security and Emergencies: Act as organizations chief safety officer, ensuring that all staff are trained on emergency and safety plans and that they are regularly reviewed, updated and re trained. Identify and correct areas of potential vulnerability in the park and building both from a staff and public safety perspective. Act as FHL’s authority for ensuring continued effective relations with Park Enforcement Patrol (PEP) – who are employed by the Parks Department; maintain a safe environment for all park staff. Work closely with Parks Services Manager to prioritize visitor safety in all conditions.
- Inclement Weather: Act as point of contact for all weather related emergencies, determining if/when park is safe for both staff to work and to be opened for visitors. Ensure all logistics and processes are in place for efficient, safe snow and ice removal, including the use of plows, snow shovels, and snow blowers, on an emergency and non-emergency basis during weekdays and weekends. Coordinate with Communications Department on weather-related park closures. This requires being on-call outside traditional hours.
- Contract Management: Craft and/or review requests for proposals (RFPs), write specifications for contracts and work with project managers to supervise all contractors working on-site; ensure that the written specifications are fulfilled and work is conducted in a safe manner; manage outside contractors as necessary; supervise contractors and ensure that work is completed in accordance with protocols laid out in FHL/DPR License Agreement.
- Budget Management: Working closely with the COO and FHL’s Finance Department, draft the annual park operation budget; monitor expenses throughout the year ensuring adherence to budget.
- Communications: Keep the Leadership Staff, FHL’s Board of Directors, and DPR informed concerning work progress, including present and potential problems and suggestions for new or improved/innovative ways of addressing problems. Make regular personal observations and analyses of all facilities, plantings, programs, events, and concessions stations and communicate any changes, problems, or alterations to be made with an eye toward win-win solutions and outcomes. Represent FHL to the community, private funders, and other outside organizations; participate in professional organizations as a representative of FHL; work with programming staff to present tours and other educational programs. Establish and maintain effective working relationships with DPR and other city, state, and federal departments/agencies.
- A minimum of eight years combined operational and administrative experience with a minimum of five years in a hands-on supervisory/managerial capacity
- Strong computer skills (facility with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint)
- U.S. driver’s license required
- Track record of leadership, managing a sizable staff, and exceptional interpersonal skills
- Track record of fostering effective teamwork within diverse groups
- Ability to articulate strategy, and provide ongoing direction to implement that strategy
- Comfortable interacting with both the newest employee and the largest donor
- Strong written and oral communications and presentation skills, including the ability to deploy tact and diplomacy in pursuit of results
- Ability to look at the big picture and search for insightful, creative solutions; the flexibility to say Yes instead of No
- Ability to consult and work effectively across a wide range of professions and areas of expertise
- Ability to maintain cohesion and positive work relations among staff from various departments
- Enjoyment of interacting with colleagues and City officials, all of whom face different goals and employ different styles
- Experience in complex organizations, project management, multi-party efforts, and logistics in a multi-use or multi-purpose settings (cultural institutions, college campuses, recreational settings, etc.); prior parks/horticultural experience is not required
- Proven ability to bring creative and innovative solutions to bear on projects/issues and remove roadblocks
- Appreciates and relentlessly pursues the high level of excellence required in all aspects of the operation of this high-profile, locally- and internationally-renowned public space
- Adroit with the unexpected and with meeting aggressive deadlines
- Ability to quickly focus on pragmatic solutions, and negotiate with multiple partners to realize those; must be nimble
- Appreciation for aesthetics and design
For confidential consideration, please submit your cover letter, resume, and salary requirements to the search firm Machlowitz Consultants, Inc. at firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls, please. Those whose candidacy is-being considered will be contacted. Please do not apply via this applicant portal.
- Paid vacation, sick time and holidays
- Paid parental leave
- Medical, dental and vision insurance
- Commuter benefits
- Flexible spending accounts
- Contribution in a 403(b) retirement plan
- Citi Bike membership
- Discount on High Line merchandise