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Life Support Systems – Lead Construction and Maintenance Supervisor


The Life Support Systems Construction and Maintenance Lead Worker performs all job assignments with a positive attitude that reflects San Diego Zoo Global’s mission and vision of saving species worldwide by uniting our expertise in animal care and conservation science with our dedication to inspiring passion for nature and leading the fight against extinction. The Life Support Systems Construction and Maintenance Lead worker is responsible for proper management and maintenance of life support systems required to maintain the assigned marine collection at San Diego Zoo Global (SDZG). This position reports to the Construction & Maintenance Supervisor or Manager.


  • Manages and evaluates support staff as assigned
  • Maintains the life support systems for the animals in the collection
  • Conducts daily water quality testing, chlorine, salinity, and PH
  • Coordinates with Zoo Veterinarian Services clinical lab weekly coli-form testing
  • Operates, monitors and maintains the associated equipment (pumps, chillers, ozone generators, filters, and piping systems)
  • Writes and tests emergency procedures for life support systems
  • Works closely with SDZG team (vets, curators, architecture, etc.) to effectively plan for water quality needs for the animals
  • Maintains accurate records and distributes reports
  • Enters data into the Zoological Information Management Systems (ZIMS)
  • Keeps current with certifications necessary for the operation of the water quality lab
  • Develops water quality test schedules to ensure clear understandable data for each system
  • Maintains communication with General Curator, Director of Operations, Director of Veterinary Services, Animal Department Supervisors, C&M and other regarding water quality parameters for each system
  • Understands and follows AZA and USDA rules
  • Be familiar with regulations for housing marine mammals in terms of life support system
  • Understands and implements any testing and monitoring parameters required to comply with the Animal Welfare Act (AWA)
  • Maintains current records for review by USDA-APHIS inspector upon request
  • Develops and enforces water quality safety protocols
  • Recommends related standards for collection management
  • Provides specialized training for collection management personnel as needed
  • Participates in exhibit and facility planning, research and design
  • Adheres to all SDZG and department policies and practices
  • Exemplifies the highest standard of work ethics
  • Practices the GRRREAT Customer Service Standards


  • Ensures the highest standard of water quality, by conducting daily water quality testing, chlorine, salinity, and pH
  • Assists in defining the water quality parameters that are appropriate for the species housed within each aquatic and marine system
  • Makes chemical additions as necessary with the understanding of how it impacts the health of the animals
  • Troubleshoot and repair systems and water issues quickly
  • Oversees and participates in the preparation and maintenance of a variety of collection records required for collection maintenance
  • Assures effective organizational communication and team building
  • Maintains a variety of appropriate contacts in order to respond to inquiries, repairs and requests
  • Effectively coordinate collection husbandry and maintenance activities
  • Conducts special tours as required
  • Assures assigned operational protocol comply with established protocols, professional standards and government regulations
  • Conducts special projects as assigned
  • Reviews and comments on related legislation


Performs related duties and responsibilities as required.


Knowledge of:

  • Water quality systems
  • Water chemistry analysis techniques
  • Aquarium life support systems
  • Regulatory and membership agencies and regulations (USDA, USFWS, AZA, AALSO,etc.)
  • Exhibit design and maintenance desirable
  • Effective leadership skills
  • Using ZIMS
  • Marine animal husbandry
  • Automated life support systems and maintenance techniques
  •  Vacuuming, filter maintenance, and temperature monitoring


Work outdoors exposure to varying weather conditions; temperatures above 100 degrees in the summer months at the Safari Park; dust, allergens, and loud noises; exposure to potential hazards involved in working with various tools, equipment, and hot materials, potential electrical shock, allergens, and/or potentially toxic materials  work in confined or cramped spaces; exposure to noise.


This position has been identified as one requiring at least occasional lifting in excess of 75 pounds move moderate to heavy objects move about uneven surfaces and on slippery surfaces and work from elevated positions.