Waterfront Park Programming Operations Manager

Waterfront Park Programming Operations Manager
Organization Friends of Waterfront Seattle
Location Seattle, Washington, United States
Job Type Full Time
Application Deadline Nov 30, 2019

To Apply:  Send cover letter explaining how your experience meets the qualifications and experience needed for the position, along with a resume, to [email protected]


Made possible by the demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, Seattle’s future waterfront park is more than a park—it is a once-in-a-generation opportunity when the community’s values, vision, and investments align to achieve lasting economic, social, and environmental value—now, and for the benefit of future generations. This will happen through the force of philanthropy leveraging public investment that capitalizes on major, necessary infrastructure projects: the Elliott Bay Seawall replacement completed in summer 2017, and the removal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct in 2019. These publicly funded infrastructure projects open up 20 acres of public right-of-way, which the community is transforming into well programmed park spaces from Pioneer Square to Belltown, funded by a mixture of public and philanthropic resources.


As the nonprofit partner to the City of Seattle established to ensure the park’s successful execution, stewardship, and programming, Friends of Waterfront Seattle (“Friends”) has committed to raise $110M by 2024 from philanthropic sources to support the park’s construction along with additional private contributions, sponsorship, earned revenue, and institutional giving to provide for its ongoing park operations. The operations of the future Waterfront Park will be carried out by Friends and Seattle Parks & Recreation (SPR) through a joint delivery model, with SPR handing horticulture and basic maintenance at a very high standard and Friends providing programming of the public spaces with cultural, recreational, and educational activities designed by and for all communities and cultures.


For the past five years, Friends has been programming the existing waterfront during the summers and welcomed more than 50,000 people to events, which has provided us with valuable Research & Development to apply to the park spaces as they open. Pier 62, a one-acre pier on Alaskan Way, is the first piece of the park to open in January 2020. Friends is ramping up its team to carry out programming and operations of Pier 62 in partnership with SPR.  We are looking for a Park Programming Operations Manager who will lead programming operations of Pier 62 and grow with the program as the entire future 20 acres of new public spaces opens in 2023.


This position is open to all qualified candidates. Friends values diverse perspectives and life experience, and encourages people of all backgrounds, communities, and cultures to apply, including people of color, women, LGBTQ, immigrants, refugees, people with disabilities, and veterans. We are seeking applicants with demonstrated, significant operations and management experience who are also committed to stewarding a waterfront that serves all communities and cultures, passionate about serving the public, and desire to continually improve Seattle as a place to live, work, and play with an entrepreneurial spirit.





Position Needs, Knowledge & Skill Sets

The Park Programming Operations Manager will quickly be able to recognize where the organization currently is and where it is going to ensure future success. The successful candidate will bring sound professional judgment, collaboration, and conflict management skills to the job. A dose of humility, appreciation for the contributions of all team members and partners, extreme flexibility, and a passion for public space and parks will also serve the Park Programming Operations Manager.

In this role, reporting to Friends’ Executive Director, the successful candidate will have the opportunity to build and lead park programming operations for the first piece of Seattle’s Waterfront Park, Pier 62 and manage existing Pier 58 until it is rebuilt. The position will change and grow with the construction of the complete Waterfront Park with 20 acres of new public space planned to open in 2023.

Essential skills and attributes of the ideal candidate include:

  • Strong decision-making skills that incorporate risk management, vision, strategic direction and ability to take into account the many partners, parties, and team members that are involved in overall park operations and oversight
  • Flexibility and ability to adaptively manage programming operations of public spaces that are newly created and inform long-term programming and operations
  • Desire and Commitment to apply an equity and inclusion lens to park programming operations grounded in analysis of systems of oppression and self-awareness
  • Politically savvy leader with the ability to maneuver through complex situations while remaining sensitive to how people and organizations function
  • Strategic agility to lead and grow new operations and programming
  • Passion for data driven performance measures used to adaptively manage
  • Use of creativity to inspire innovation and progress with authenticity and transparency
  • The ability to deal with ambiguity and constant change


Examples of job duties and responsibilities:

  • Develop and implement overall Friends programming operations plan for on-the-ground management of Pier 62 and Pier 58
  • Manage public space activation, security, public safety, social service resource coordination, park permitting, and revenue generation programs and associated employees and contractors
  • Manage on-the-ground planning, represent Friends in weekly coordination meetings with Seattle Parks & Recreation (SPR), and handle day-to-day interactions to coordinate SPR maintenance with Friends park programming
  • Work with data collection partners/vendors and Friends team to develop metrics by which success will be measured
  • Lead efforts to mature and fully utilize performance management systems and engagement with the newly established Waterfront Park oversight committee
  • Establish and manage contracts with event partners, producers, hired security, and staffing through other partner organizations
  • Work with Friends team and other partners to implement inclusive community programming
  • Develop and apply a deep understanding how successful park operations are critical to Friends comprehensive fundraising campaign for the future Waterfront Park and Friends + City park operations and maintenance partnership
  • Champion the vision, mission, values, and culture of Friends, and the public’s vision for the future Waterfront Park


Additional experience and desired skills include:

  • Demonstrated, senior management experience (5+ years) in a private or governmental organization, with a well-developed, broad range of leadership skills, at least some of which gained working in a highly collaborative working environment
  • Diversified experience in public and private sectors and outside of the non-profit realm
  • Track record of inclusive and inspiring leadership to deliver superior results
  • Event facilities or venue management experience highly desirable
  • Experience in budget development, financial management, and financial concepts; use of financial results to inform planning, operations, adaptive management
  • Ability to assess, analyze and mitigate risk and liability
  • Awareness of how public space operations effect communities who have been historically uninvited or underserved in our community due to institutional inequities
  • Experience working in a geographically dispersed and unionized environment desirable
  • Understanding of event production/promoter industry and permitting of large-scale events
  • Ability to communicate respectfully and diplomatically on sensitive issues
  • Confidence to defend/debate and constructively criticize ideas without ego
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills; ability to present complicated information simply and concisely in public forums
  • A bachelor’s degree in public, recreation or business administration, equivalent experience or related field is desired
  • Working knowledge of public-private partnership models extremely valuable

Organizational Values

Friends is an ambitious organization that welcomes diverse qualified team players who, like all members of the Friends team, possess a “do all jobs” mentality and strive to achieve excellence in all tasks. Friends offers team members the opportunity to take on significant responsibilities on multi-disciplinary projects in a congenial work environment.  While Friends is a 501c3 non-profit organization, Friends’ culture is more akin to a start-up with an entrepreneurial spirit compared to a traditional non-profit.  Friends is committed to an inclusive, diverse, multi-cultural atmosphere that we envision for the future Waterfront Park. Friends seeks to employ and engage all communities and cultures including people of color, those with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ community in an environment where everyone feels valued.


Compensation & Benefits

The Park Programming Operations Manager is a full-time exempt position with a work schedule that requires flexibility to be available on-call and work some evenings and weekends.  Starting salary range $85,000 to $120,000 commensurate with experience. Vacation, health care and dental coverage, and transit pass are paid by the organization. Ability to participate in defined contribution retirement plan with contribution by the organization.


To Apply:  Send cover letter explaining how your experience meets the qualifications and experience needed for the position, along with a resume, to [email protected]