Aquarium President Accepts Position In Ohio

September 05, 2008

Schmidt will move closer to family in the Midwest

Dale Schmidt, Oregon Coast Aquarium President and Chief Executive Officer, submitted his notice of resignation this week after accepting a position as Assistant Zoo Director and Chief Operating Officer at The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, Ohio. The move will bring Schmidt closer to his family in the Midwest. A national search for Schmidt’s replacement has begun.

Fred Postlewait, Chairman of the Aquarium Board of Directors, said Schmidt has served well in his position as President and CEO at the Aquarium. “Dale has done a marvelous job in leading us the past four years and we wish him the very best. We are grateful for everything he has done for the Aquarium and the community.”

Schmidt began his tenure at the Aquarium December 1, 2004, coming from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, Florida where he served as Executive Director. He previously served as the Vice President of Operations at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa following a career of increasingly responsible positions with Busch Gardens and Universal Studios Florida.

“I am very proud to have had the opportunity to lead such a fine team of staff and volunteers,” Schmidt said. “Our accomplishments over the last four years are truly a testament to the dedication and hard work of the board of directors, staff, and volunteers. I have really enjoyed my tenure at the Aquarium, but the opportunity to move closer to family and become part of a dynamic institution such as the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium was an offer too good to refuse. I have every confidence that the positive steps we have taken since my arrival will continue making this the preeminent attraction and ocean education center we all envision it can become.”

The Aquarium has seen significant milestones during Schmidt’s tenure at the Aquarium:

  • Was named a Top Ten Aquarium 5 times in the last four years;
  • The Aquarium's financial position was stabilized;
  • Attendance and revenues increased;
  • A county room tax was passed to help support the Aquarium and Fairgrounds;
  • A 5 year strategic plan was completed charting a clear course for the future;
  • Improved local and state perception of the Aquarium through regular public outreach;
  • Instituted state legislative initiative to develop ocean education programs with Oregon State University, Oregon Coast Community College, and Lincoln County School District; and
  • Developed a talented and dedicated team of senior managers able to lead the Aquarium forward.