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We're Hiring A Director of Park Operations

Job Title: Director, Park Operations

About the Ralph Wilson Park Conservancy

The Ralph Wilson Park Conservancy (RWPC) is the not-for-profit organization that will advance Ralph Wilson Park, creating a safe, vibrant, accessible and inclusive waterfront park for generations to come, in partnership with the City of Buffalo

Established in 2021, the Conservancy reflects the priorities laid out through the community-driven vision and design process, Imagine LaSalle and establishes the framework by which Ralph Wilson Park will be operated and maintained once construction is complete (2025). It will work closely with the community and the City of Buffalo Parks Department  to operate Ralph Wilson Park as a world-class park, through a high level of maintenance, sustainable and innovative management practices, exceptional greenspace and waterfront access, and deliver diverse, community-led programming and recreation. 

Our mission is to create a safe, vibrant, accessible and inclusive waterfront park for generations to come. While Ralph Wilson Park is under construction, the Conservancy will focus its efforts on building relationships with our community and partners, and building a sustainable and innovative organization so we can hit the ground running once the transformed park re-opens.

Director of Park Operations

The Director of Park Operations is an executive role reporting to the Executive Director and working closely with the Board of Directors. The DPO is responsible for supporting the mission, vision and overall advancement of the Ralph Wilson Park Conservancy, developing a vision and strategy for operating and maintaining Ralph Wilson Park. The DPO will have the opportunity to build the park’s innovative management practices and team recruitment and development practices from the ground up, ensuring we are developing a pipeline of environmental stewards through learning and development opportunities. The DPO will ensure that the park’s landscapes are maintained to industry-leading standards of care, remain in line with the park’s original design intent, and are managed with a cohesive vision throughout the park.

This role provides strategic and operational leadership on all matters related to the Conservancy and park operations including landscape management, park maintenance, facility operations, technical services, and park use management. Responsibilities include the development and management of a park team dedicated to the park’s landscapes, smooth operation, cleanliness, safety, and respectful use, as well as the development and management of park-based operations budgets. This role will collaborate closely with the City of Buffalo Parks and Recreation Department and a number of other city, state and federal agencies (BPD, DEC, NOAA).

The position is a member of the Conservancy’s executive leadership team and will work in partnership with the Executive Director and the Conservancy’s Board of Directors in the execution of the Conservancy’s mission.


Strategy, Vision and Leadership

  • Develop a long-term stewardship strategy and operational plan for the park
  • Develop a well-researched opinion about the long-term staffing structure for the operations, landscaping and maintenance of the park.
  • Maintain a pulse on who and what organizations are best-in-class in park management, landscaping, and security and learn from them. 
  • Share ownership of building and maintaining collaborative team culture and exceptional organizational performance.
  • Partner with City of Buffalo Parks and Recreation Department and other city, state and federal agencies. 

Park Operations

  • Provide leadership for the management of the park’s landscapes—including natural areas management, tree care, turf care, and gardens
  • Provide leadership for the management of park maintenance and facilities including trash management, facilities and & infrastructure maintenance, technical services, and fleet maintenance.
  • Provide leadership for the management of park use issues, focusing on the many groups with myriad interests all using the park’s facilities and landscapes in different ways and for different purposes.
  • Provide leadership by fostering cross-functional collaboration and process development among the Conservancy team.
  • Prepare annual and multi-year budgets, and manage expenditures as well as workforce planning for efficiencies and improvements.
  • Assure compliance with city, state, federal, and other governmental agencies’ regulations related to facility and property management.
  • Ensure the development and annual updating of an Emergency Response Plan.
  • Assess and evaluate short-term and long-term space planning, utilization, and management.
  • Develop and monitor benchmarks and key performance indicators for park-based operations and facility and infrastructure maintenance, which includes work control systems.
  • Develop a strategy to enhance the utilization of green technology to improve operational effectiveness.

Team Development

  • Develop and implement a strategy for recruiting, hiring, and retaining high-quality employees
  • Develop and implement a strategy to create a pipeline of environmental stewards who will work in service of Ralph Wilson Park and other green spaces through Americorps, volunteerism, etc.
  • Ensure park-based staff are connected to the organizational mission, vision, and values.
  • Ensure park-based staff are constantly learning and growing.
  • Develop and oversee a strategy for staff training to ensure workplace safety.
  • Develop a comprehensive strategy for evaluating performance of all park-based staff.
  • Address all matters which may impact efficiency, and propose and implement changes as necessary to ensure staff meets departmental and individual goals.

Organizational Stewardship

  • Work in partnership with the Executive Director to ensure the organization achieves its community engagement, communications, and development goals.


  • Reside in the City of Buffalo
  • 15 years of demonstrated success and senior level responsibility in operations management and long-term strategy and execution at a park, museum, arboretum, botanical garden, outdoor attraction, or similar public space or venue.
  • Experience in maintenance of designed landscapes with frequent public use.
  • Experience creating and managing a collaborative, positive, and high-performing staff.
  • Experience creating and managing a complex budget with capital expenses, staff and contracted workers.
  • Ability to build and maintain strong relationships across networks
  • Excellent writing, verbal, analytical and research skills.
  • Experience speaking to the media is desirable.
  • Interest in urban park management and the mission of the Ralph Wilson Park Conservancy

Salary: $100,000-$150,000 (depending on experience) + Benefits 

Application Deadline: Wednesday, September 6 at 11:59pm. We hope to fill this position by late fall and ideally the role will begin in December 2023.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled

Application Instructions

To apply for this position, please submit your resume and a cover letter to In your cover letter, please address why you are interested in this position, why you think you would be great in this role, and what your vision is for building and managing the team that will operate and maintain Ralph Wilson Park as a world class park.

Interested applicants should familiarize themselves with Ralph Wilson Park. You can read more about Imagine LaSalle, the foundational step in which the community developed their vision for Ralph Wilson Park. You can read what was shared at our most recent community meeting here and read the latest construction updates here