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Aquarium Life Support and Facility Operations Technician

Position description:

The Seattle Aquarium is looking for a life support and facility operations technician to join the team. This position provides essential services, support and technical expertise for a variety of maintenance/repair activities and coordinates work with skilled crafts and with other departmental work units under the supervision of the Aquarium engineer. Responsibilities include being dependable and accountable across all assigned tasks; effectively communicating across departments; collaborating in team settings; coping with change and operating at times in environments of uncertainty; utilizing sound analysis, good judgment and experience when solving complex problems; and demonstrating a willingness to learn new methods and approaches to challenges. The life support and facility operations technician is expected to respond to emergencies on an as-needed basis.

Essential functions:

  1. Operate, maintain and repair Aquarium life support systems (LSS).
  2. Assist with operations and maintenance of facility mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems at the direction of the Aquarium engineer.
  3. Work alongside the Aquarium engineer or other Aquarium staff as needed to complete assigned/scheduled work tasks and projects. Requires the ability to work both independently and with team members to complete work tasks.
  4. Assist contractors; schedule and oversee vendors working on Aquarium grounds.
  5. Perform daily rounds. Monitor animal life support systems, building energy management systems, safety and security systems and other mechanical systems. Maintain records and logs. Communicate issues in a timely and effective manner and help to resolve as needed.
  6. Perform routine mechanical installations and repairs.
  7. Troubleshoot facilities equipment and systems and anticipate the impact these repairs will have on associated systems.
  8. Proactively communicate potential impact of work within the facilities team and to the broader Aquarium community.
  9. Assist with other repairs to the building and to exhibits as needed. May require working with wood, drywall, paint, metal, concrete, etc.
  10. Fulfill work orders (both preventative and reactive) as assigned through the established computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). Examples include LSS operations and maintenance, HVAC filter changes, water filter backwashes, etc.
  11. Organize, store and inventory parts, fittings and supplies in service areas on an as-needed basis. Create purchase requests when necessary.
  12. Attend and participate in regularly scheduled team meetings to discuss and coordinate work. Monitor the various institutional calendars to forecast and avoid conflicts with assigned work.
  13. Respond to emergencies as needed to take immediate and corrective action, including major systems failures and alarms in times of emergency or natural disaster to protect assets

Additional responsibilities:

  1. Act as point of contact for contractors or other internal and external work teams in the Aquarium engineer’s absence or at the request of the Aquarium engineer and/or facilities director.
  2. Proactively communicate any issues of concern that may arise during your shift to the appropriate staff. Establish and maintain cooperative and effective working relationships with others.
  3. Participate in regular trainings at the Aquarium’s discretion related to safety or improving the technician’s skill level. Remain current in trainings and techniques that ensure the well-being and safety of animals, employees and the visiting public. Includes attending Aquarium-sponsored trainings such as CPR, first aid, Zoonosis, etc.
  4. Perform other related duties as required.

Required skills, abilities:

  1. General knowledge of:
    1. Building mechanical, engineering and plumbing (MEP) systems (includes HVAC) and how to operate and troubleshoot them.
    2. Safety and PPE requirements for working in an industrial facility. Includes working with and around tools (hand and power), mechanical equipment, electrical equipment, hydraulics and chemicals.
    3. Federal, state and local building codes and statues pertaining to facilities operation.
  2. Operate and maintain a variety of power tools and equipment.
  3. Ability to work around water (at times from a rowboat) as needed.
  4. Read and interpret all related operating procedures, manuals and safety protocols.
  5. Read blueprints, schematics, datasheets and piping and instrumentation diagrams.
  6. Communicate verbally and in writing by clear, legible and organized presentation to multiple stakeholders internal and external to the Aquarium.
  7. Working knowledge of MS Office Suite, and possess the ability to learn other job-specific software systems to perform work duties.
  8. Detail-oriented, organized and diligent approach to both everyday tasks and problem-solving.
  9. Strong organizational and time-management skills; the ability to prioritize, allocate and monitor workload; use sound judgment to address problems and discrepancies.
  10. Requires interpersonal communication skills to successfully conduct operational activities and influence others to be operationally effective.
  11. Obtain training, certificates, etc., as required to perform duties outlined in the job description.
  12. The following training/certifications must be successfully completed in the first 180 days of employment (and maintained thereafter):
    1. Scissor lift training.
    2. Ladder safety training.
    3. Confined space training.
    4. Woodshop safety training.
    5. CPR training.
    6. Respirator fit test training.
    7. Fall protection training.
    8. Valid Washington state driver’s license and a clean driving record in order to be able to travel independently throughout western Washington.

Experience, education and certifications: We will consider various combinations of relevant experience and education in order to meet minimum requirements.


  1. Must have a minimum of two years’ experience in a building engineering, mechanical and/or technical field. Preference given to those with aquarium or like facility experience.
  2. A. degree/professional certifications in any life science or mechanical/technical field required. B.S. degree preferred.


  1. Life support systems in an aquarium or similar critical environment.
  2. Building automation systems.
  3. Experience working around general public and awareness of customer service norms.

Working conditions:

  • Regularly required to sit, use hands and fingers, handle or feel, and talk or hear.
  • Frequently required to reach with hands and arms, stand, walk, stoop, kneel, crouch and crawl and adjust focus, peripheral vision and close vision.
  • Frequently required to lift up to 50 pounds and may be required to “team lift” heavier weights.
  • Work in confined spaces, at heights (e.g., roof and use of aerial lifts), with biohazards and chemicals, over water and occasionally in watercraft.
  • Must be able to swim.
  • Work around animals, with exposure to potentially dangerous animals, and their feces/diseases.
  • Safely use scissor lift and other power equipment to complete responsibilities.
  • Exposure to outside weather conditions and noise from machinery and visitors when Aquarium is busy.
  • Work schedules that include one or more weekend days per work week and holidays. With notice, may be required to work any shift for special events and other business needs.
  • At times, be on call for emergencies.

Salary and benefits: $25.00–$29.00/hour ($52,000–$60,320 annual equivalent), D.O.E. Please include pay expectations in your materials. Full-time staff are eligible for Seattle Aquarium’s comprehensive benefits package to include medical, vision, dental, employer-funded health reimbursement account, medical and dependent care flexible spending accounts, life insurance, long-term disability, 403b retirement fund with employer match, access to a subsidized ORCA pass, a Family Plus membership and generous paid time off.

How to apply:The Seattle Aquarium is a progressive, equal-opportunity employer that values a diverse workforce. One of our core values is fostering an inclusive community and we want our staff to reflect our community. To that end, we encourage diverse candidates to apply, including but not limited to Black, Indigenous and People of Color applicants and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Interested candidates should upload a résumé to our online application in order to be considered. Application review will begin immediately.

Please let us know if you require a reasonable accommodation to apply for this job by emailing us at

*Note: Must pass a background check and motor vehicle records check, upon job offer, to be eligible for this position. Regarding driving records: Within the last three years you must not have had more than two moving traffic violations or any major violation (DUI, reckless driving, negligent driving, etc.).

About the organization:

The Seattle Aquarium is a respected authority on Puget Sound, the Salish Sea and the world’s one ocean. Our passionate staff increases awareness and drives the change needed to preserve and protect our marine environment through a variety of channels, including a compelling habitat experience and engaging daytime and evening events; conservation education programs for people of all ages and backgrounds; community outreach to underserved populations; research that advances understanding of animals in our care and their counterparts in the wild; advocacy and policy work; an award-winning volunteer program; strong and consistent marketing efforts; and more.

We’re noted for our collaborative, communicative and team-oriented working environment. Our values, developed in conjunction with our staff, include commitments to adopting and promoting sustainable practices; creating awe-inspiring experiences; constantly learning and improving; fostering an inclusive community; maintaining scientific credibility through evidence-based practices; and honoring our unique place by using our location and history as a lens for larger understanding.

Proudly accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, we’re the eighth-largest aquarium in the U.S. by attendance and, in non-pandemic times, we welcome over 850,000 people through our front doors each year. Guided by our mission of Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment, we’ve developed a master plan to substantially increase in size and impact by opening a new habitat building, the Ocean Pavilion. Our current annual budget is $20 million.

Regarding COVID-19:

Open daily, the Aquarium prioritizes health and safety for our staff and visitors, embracing science to guide our operations. Staff are required to wear face masks while working on-site and maintain physical distance during work hours. In addition, we maintain high standards of cleanliness and all high-touch surfaces (like windows, railings, restrooms and elevators) are continuously cleaned.

Per the recent King County health order, proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test result will be required for entry starting October 25. It was also announced recently by the federal government that employers of a certain size must require their employees to be vaccinated. We are working through these details and we may require all staff be vaccinated in the near future.