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Craftsworker – Life Support

Visiting a zoo reinforces how not only how critical water is but the comprehensive Life Support Systems that provide the healthy ecosystem for the diversity of animals we are privileged to care for.  Zoo Life Support Systems, from simple to large and complex must be maintained at the highest quality to provide safe and stable environments essential for animal welfare while providing a naturalistic and aesthetically pleasing design to guests.  Brookfield Zoo has over sixty (60) different aquatic systems (ranging from 10 gallons to 60,000 gallons) and water features along with the creation of special effect environments ranging from basic rain to humid rain forests to provide optimal environmental conditions for our over 4,500 animals’ unique needs and meeting the Association of Zoos and Aquariums standards.

The Craftsworker, Life Support will perform highly skilled crafts duties, with little or no supervision, associated with Life Support Systems located throughout 235 acres ensuring all systems, equipment, and facilities are operating to the highest standards as it relates to water quality, animal health and facility maintenance.  Responsibilities include daily water testing, pool and equipment checks, making adjustments as needed to pool and water chemistry; accurate recordkeeping; maintaining and making repairs to valves, actuators, piping, ozone generators, compressors, etc.

The Craftsworker, Life Support contributes to the success of the Chicago Zoological Society (“CZS”) by performing highly skilled craft duties throughout the park with a focus on life support systems.  Supports the Society’s mission and identified goals related to asset protection, financial sustainability, guest experience, and animal welfare.  Ensures work performed provides a safe environment for guests, employees, and the animal collection.  Ensures exhibits and facilities are functional, in a well-maintained state, and support Society objectives.

Primary duties and responsibilities:

Craftsworkers are expected to perform a variety of duties that may include any or all of the following.  Specific assignments will vary depending upon the nature of work performed and/or specific duties assigned:

Performs skilled crafts duties throughout the park with little or no supervision, ensuring services provided meet section standards, clients’ specifications, applicable codes and program goals and are aesthetically pleasing to guests. This includes operating, maintaining and troubleshooting several types of life support systems, including, but not limited to a dolphin/pinniped system, a salt-water fish building, bear exhibit and splash pads.  Works cooperatively with peers and managers and establishes and maintains productive working relationships with clients.

Participates in the execution of routine maintenance and repair projects:

As assigned, performs routine inspections and daily maintenance of the Society’s life support systems to ensure all systems, equipment and facilities are operated to the highest standards as it relates to water quality, animal health and facility maintenance.  Advises supervisor of needed repairs and client requests.  Advises staff of resource needs.  Evaluates schedule and communicates pertinent information timely to all affected parties.

Responsible for filter backwashing, daily water testing, pool and equipment checks and for making any required adjustments to pools and water chemistry.  Maintains accurate recordkeeping logs of results.  Maintains and makes repairs to valves, actuators, piping, ozone generators, compressors and other related equipment.

Ensures all work performed meets set standards and specifications and complies with established quality control standards.

Carries out craftsman tasks associated with the section’s functional programs as assigned.  Accurately fills out daily labor allocation sheets with orders.  Attends and participates in meetings as assigned.

Routinely inspects functional, structural and aesthetic systems in exhibits and facilities as assigned.

Troubleshoots, makes repairs and performs equipment maintenance as assigned.

Performs crafts work to specified quality standards.

Advises appropriate supervisor/manager of material needs in a timely manner.

Carries out tasks associated with the section’s standard operating procedures, which include, but are not limited to equipment and shop maintenance, safety, inventory and purchasing.

Provides supervisor with information on resources needed for budget development including providing facility and exhibit survey data. Assists in controlling the section’s operating budget by ensuring allocated resources are properly and efficiently utilized.

Performs various tasks associated with the Life Support Program.  This includes performing skilled craft duties, providing estimates, and communicating all pertinent information to supervisor and other appropriate parties.

Participates in the section’s emergency response and animal welfare program as assigned.

Other related duties as assigned or directed.

The requirements for this position include the following:

Graduate of an accredited apprenticeship plumbing, electrical or related program or two years relevant experience at a journeyman level.  High School diploma or GED equivalent.

NSPF Certified Pool Operator certificate at time of hire or within 6 months of hire.

SCUBA Certification by nationally recognized agency at time of hire or within 6 months of hire.

Ability to perform all required math commensurate with field of responsibility.

English fluency at a professional working proficiency.

Proactive, persistent, and helpful; team player.

Good communications and interpersonal skills.

Familiarity with all codes related to field.

Knowledge and experience in scheduling, estimating, purchasing, and project management.

Ability to perform all traditional tasks related to field.

Requires good mechanical, carpentry, electrical and plumbing skills including pumps and valves.

Requires the ability to learn and apply information regarding water chemistry and maintenance of closed water systems.  Ability to troubleshoot equipment and to make corrections to abnormal water result values.

Computer proficiency with Microsoft Office Outlook, Word, Excel, and/or similar.

Ability to effectively handle emergent issues and deal with individuals in a tactful and professional manner. Cultural competency; experience and/or ability to work and interact effectively with a diverse, multicultural audience.

Valid driver’s license required at time of hire.

Preferred qualifications include:

Associates degree directly related to field or equivalent preferred.

Waste Water license or Water Treatment Operator license desirable.

Experience in a public aquarium, zoo, animal theme park, waste treatment facility or other related experience preferred.

AALSO Life Support Operator Level I Certification desirable.

Familiarity with utilization of computerized maintenance management system desirable. Multilingual ability, Spanish fluency a plus.

Additional Information:   This position description summarizes the primary duties and functions of this position, but should not be considered a complete listing of every duty the incumbent may ever be called upon to perform.  Incumbent ensures the work being performed is done safely, provides a safe environment for guests, employees, and the animal collection, ensures life support systems are functional and in a well-maintained state, and supports the Society’s goals and objectives.  Incumbent is expected to gain an understanding of the

Society’s mission, vision, values, and operating philosophies, and to incorporate these into daily work performance.  Position requires work on weekends, holidays and after normal hours when required.  Required to carry a pager or cell phone and respond to emergencies as needed.

The Chicago Zoological Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Workplace safety is the Chicago Zoological Society’s top priority.  We require all employees to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 unless they request and receive a religious or medical exemption.  New hires must have at least received their first vaccine dose prior to their start date.  (Updated 9/16/22)

If interested in being considered for this opportunity, please visit the CZS Career Center to obtain more details about the position and to apply by submitting your profile.  Please visit our website at  Please use the Advanced Search feature to look for requisition number 2431BR.

$29.35/hr. – 2022 union rate

$30.24/hr. – 2023 union rate