Director of Horticulture and Operations

South Santa Barbara County
Santa Barbara
Full Time
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden


The Director of Horticulture and Operations is responsible for the direct management of all operations of the physical gardens – horticulture, collections management, nursery production and retail sales, landscape design, maintenance, and infrastructure and facilities repairs. The Director of Horticulture and Operations manages five specialized managers as direct reports, and an overall staff of 23 full and part-time employees. The position is an essential part of the Garden’s senior leadership team, and works closely on planning for all new projects. This position interacts with the Garden Board of Trustees, as well as donors, members, and the general public in developing the support for Garden projects.

This full-time (40 hours/week), exempt position reports to the Executive Director. The salary range is between $105,000 and $125,000, annually. Onsite rental housing is available.

Senior Leadership

  • Participate as one of seven team members who make up the Garden’s Senior Staff, leading strategic planning, problem-solving, and institutional growth and development.
  • Assumes the role of team leader and/or project manager for all multi-departmental activities that affect the onsite guest experience or the ability for the staff to undertake their duties while onsite.
  • Ensure the Garden operates within the limits imposed by the Santa Barbara County issued Conditional Use Permit.
  • Work with other senior staff on organization wide initiatives.
  • Work with Development staff to maintain and cultivate relationships with current or potential major donors as requested.
  • Serve as a native plant horticulture leader/advocate for the region and beyond. Convey the value and importance of native plants as a way to preserve and enhance biodiversity and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Provide expert opinion associated with native plant horticulture issues for community projects as needed.

Department Leadership

  • Supervise and motivate team of employees and volunteers; carry out annual plan and both short and long-range goals.
  • Manage annual budget.
  • Work with Development staff in the development of grant proposals and individual major gift solicitation and manage grant activities, including report development.
  • Coordinate staffing and operational activities for physical plant maintenance and project management.
  • Generally, oversee the merchandising space to ensure alignment with the Garden’s mission and brand. Ensure profitable operation of the retail business.
  • Coordinate regular meetings of the Horticulture & Facilities Committee.

Plan and Design Garden Displays and Exhibits

  • Provide vision for, and manage implementation of, the Garden’s Landscape Master Plan and Cultural Landscape Master Plan including setting timelines and priorities, conceptualizing and designing garden displays, setting aesthetic standards, and supporting donor development efforts as requested.
  • Work with internal teams and external consultants to conceptualize and design garden displays and set aesthetic standards.
  • Arrange for and oversee work of hired contractors.
  • Work with landscape designers and architects in development of new gardens.
  • Actively guide the short and long-term planning for the development, organization and care, of living collections, including acquisition of new materials, physical collection management, and the database cataloguing the collection.
  • Lead planning for short- and long-term development of the living collections, including acquisition of new materials and collection maintenance.
  • Collaborate with the Education Department to support programming and interpretation surrounding the horticultural use of native plants.

Facilities Oversight:

  • Participate in the development and implementation of goals, objectives, policies, and priorities for the physical plant; recommend and implement policies and procedures.
  • Work with staff throughout the organization to coordinate construction and management activities affecting the physical plant and Garden exhibits.
  • Ensure the preparation of reports or submittal materials associated with Conditional Use Permit (CUP) compliance issues.
  • Supervise maintenance and security staff.
  • Provide oversight of the Garden’s security and facilities monitoring systems, staff, and procedures.

Knowledge and Abilities:

  • Supervisory skills essential
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills including the ability to prioritize and delegate
  • General knowledge of plant taxonomy, plant propagation, and horticulture
  • Ability to multi-task and manage time to meet deadlines and priorities
  • Familiar with the operational characteristics, services, and activities of horticulture and infrastructure maintenance
  • Knowledge of native California flora highly desirable
  • Ability to occasionally work weekends, holidays and evenings
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite

Qualifications and Experience:

  • Degree in horticulture or related field preferred
  • 3-5 years supervisory experience required

Certificates & Licenses:

  • Must have valid California driver license and maintain acceptable driving record

Physical Functions:

  • Must be capable of occasional strenuous physical work including:
  • Sitting for up to 2.0 hours at a time and using computer and phone for lengthy periods
  • Standing/walking for extended periods of time
  • Lifting and carrying 40 lbs., bending, squatting and walking stairs and the SBBG trails
  • Tolerance of an outdoor work environment including exposure to outdoor environmental conditions, including extreme temperature fluctuations, rain, dust, allergens, poison oak, insects, small wild animals, and sun exposure
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