Habitat Fabricator

The habitat fabricator provides habitat fabrication and design for new and existing exhibits at the National Aquarium.

Essential Functions:

Perform fabrication, installation, and maintenance of habitat components.

  • Utilize various materials to fabricate habitat components including polyester resins and glass fiber, epoxy resins, vinyl & other plastics, urethane compounds, concrete, wood, metals, and all types of paints and coatings using a full range of technical, mechanical and chemical fastening methods.
  • Paint habitats using a variety of products and methods.
  • Select sources of outside vendors when needed for procurement, manufacturing, or installation of exhibit components.
  • Research best sources and prices for exhibit components using Internet, catalogs, periodicals, or colleague recommendation. Maintain permanent record of chosen vendor information.
  • Pursue development of creative and/or custom techniques where appropriate. Stay abreast of current exhibit industry developments.
  • Develop functional basic knowledge of pertinent animal husbandry issues and life support system functions in order to design live containment vessels.
  • Ensure that all exhibit-related activities within the NA campus are performed in such a manner as to absolutely minimize negative impact to the visitor experience.

Perform design for refurbishing small exhibit and habitat components.

  • Define aesthetics and ambiance with form, lighting, color, and specialty design elements; accuracy in habitat portrayal and species needs; complete functionality regarding staff, animal, & visitor needs.
  • Maintain established aesthetic standards throughout the Aquarium campus, promoting attractive, innovative and functional displays that maintain and strengthen NA design vernacular to produce world-class quality exhibitory.
  • Communicate design intent through written descriptions, thumbnail sketches, models, mock-ups, and computer cad renderings.
  • Coordinate with Exhibits and Design Project Manager to develop concise Action Plans and timelines, develop and manage budget requirements, and insure project deadlines. Organize assigned projects to identify essential roles/schedules of team player involvement.

Perform other responsibilities as assigned, including but not limited to the following.

  • Coordinate and occasionally participate in daily exhibit maintenance activities, interdepartmental requests, and new project.
  • Converse with direct supervisors frequently to exchange concise information and pertinent questions regarding workload. Specific focus is essential regarding issues threatening successful project completion.
  • Comply with and enforce required safety and security procedures at all times. Position involves work with inflammable materials, power tools, heavy items and equipment, scissor -lift and genie-lift.
  • Maintain concise, organized document records of all completed projects for future reference.
  • Maintain accurate time sheet.

Proper and safe maintenance of all tools, equipment, and facilities.

  • Disposal of all HAZCOM materials in full compliance with regulatory guidelines.
  • Proper operational practices and prompt maintenance of all tools and equipment.
  • Routine cleaning and organization of shop spaces and job sites.
  • Coordinate use of departmental vehicle with other staff. Participate with vehicle's cleanliness and regular maintenance in conjunction with NAIB Vehicle Fleet Manager.
  • Consistent, proper use and care of all safety equipment, including but not limited to: tool safety, personal respirators, eye protection, gloves, eye-wash stations, dust collection, ventilation systems, fall protection and Material Safety Data Sheets.

Miscellaneous Essential Functions:

  • Ensure absolute minimal impact to NA visitors at all times during the course of duty.
  • Ability to adjust work schedule to irregular hours and work overtime on a temporary basis as required by specific project conditions.
  • Utilize computer workstation for professional e-mail communication, and utilize existing databases to update record keeping of daily personal time accounting.
  • Research and procure materials, shop supplies, tools, and equipment involving contact with outside vendors, suppliers and sub-contractors.

Qualifications/Basic Job Requirements: 5 years of solid fabrication experience, including exposure to exhibit design, in Zoo/Aquarium habitats, museum exhibits, or related field required. BA/BS in Industrial Design/Fabrication or related field preferred. Valid driver's license for institutional vehicle use required.

Competencies: Ability to communicate clearly and concisely with all NA staff.

Must be proficient in optimal vendor selection and oversight in full accordance with purchasing policies.

Highly developed organizational, aesthetic, industrial design, and fabrication skills are mandatory.

Strong presentation skills required for accurately communicating design intent through written descriptions, thumbnail sketches, & model building skills, and hands-on development.

Knowledge of aquarium life support systems, exhibit lighting, natural history/husbandry issues relating to habitat issues. Practical knowledge of wide range of fabrication materials to include, but not limited to: polyester resins and glass fiber, epoxy resins, vinyl & other plastics, urethane compounds, concrete, wood, metals, and all types of paints and coatings.

Skills in applied techniques using these materials most effectively to create 'world class' specialty exhibits.

Knowledge of proper applications of the above materials for underwater installation or in other harsh environments. Artistic skills to include, but not limited to: sculpting, mold making and casting, model building, painting.

Proficiency with MS Office (Word and Excel) and MS Project software. Familiarity with manufactured products and wide range of fabrication materials and processes, basic plumbing and/or husbandry LSS requirements.

Familiar with ergonomics, ADA requirements, visitor use patterns, principles of structural engineering, general maintenance and functionality issues.

Problem Solving: Preventative problem solving through development of concise project action plans, schedules and budgeting to ensure meeting project goals. Creative approach required to meet technical/aesthetic/functional design challenges. Hands-on approach to prototyping models or mock-ups.

Human Relations: Active participation in inter-departmental communication, planning and scheduling of assigned tasks. May offer technical assistance to other employees when needed. Help to organize, define, and assign essential roles / schedules to project team members on special projects. Volunteer clear communication to supervisor and co-workers regarding project progress, problems or delays, or related off-site work requirements. Coordination with outside vendors and sub-contractors.

Accountability: Responsible for self-direction. Exhibit Builder is accountable for successful achievement of assigned project goals as set by institution, project manager, or direct supervisor. These goals typically mandate a high level of competent productivity, a successful adherence to schedule and completion of work within available budget. Exhibit Builder is requested to promptly inform direct supervisor of any significant issues or complications that may jeopardize the successful completion of assigned work. Responsive to supervisor's ongoing direction regarding priorities and policies. Accountable for maintaining design standards within entire scope of work. Accountable for efficient project communication / scheduling, accurate record keeping, accurate time recording and completion of all projects in accordance with accepted timelines and budgets.

Human Resources: No direct supervision of other NA staff. May supervise subcontractors and outside tradesmen.

Physical Requirements: The employee may frequently lift and/or move up to 30 pounds and occasionally: sit, kneel, reach overhead/forward, travel/drive, be exposed to extreme cold, heat, water/dust and animals.

The National Aquarium is committed to diversity and invites individuals who bring a diversity of culture, experience and ideas to apply.


Recently named one of Baltimore's Best Places to Work, the National Aquarium opened in 1981 as a nonprofit aquatic education and conservation organization, the jewel of the city's Inner Harbor redevelopment. SmartCEO Magazine honored the National Aquarium with the Healthiest Workplace award and the Corporate Culture award in 2016. With a mission to inspire conservation of the world's aquatic treasures, the Aquarium is consistently ranked one of the nation's two top aquariums and has hosted over 51 million guests since opening.

Today, the National Aquarium builds on a 36-year history of local, regional and global conservation initiatives that provide real solutions for protecting marine life, ecosystems and aquatic communities. Its Animal Rescue team has rescued, rehabilitated and released hundreds of marine mammals and endangered sea turtles throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Its Animal Welfare and Science teams participate in important research efforts to confront pressing ocean conservation issues and advocate for smarter policies at local, state and federal levels. Through education, research, conservation action and advocacy, the National Aquarium is pursuing a vision to change the way humanity cares for our ocean planet.

HOW TO APPLY Interested and engaged applicants should apply through our website http://aqua.org/jobs. Requests for reasonable accommodation can be made by e-mailing [email protected]

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