Director of Horticulture

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Director of Horticulture

Owned by the City of New York, the High Line is programmed, maintained, and operated by Friends of the High Line, in partnership with NYC Parks. We raise nearly 100% of the High Line’s annual budget.

Through excellence in operations, stewardship, innovative programming, and world-class design, we seek to engage the vibrant and diverse community on and around the High Line, and to raise the essential private funding to help complete the High Line’s construction and create an endowment for its future operations.

Job description

The High Line seeks a strong, intuitive leader with a passion for urban horticulture and public space management for our next director of horticulture.

The director of horticulture will lead the our team of talented urban horticulturists who together are responsible for all aspects of the management and long term care of the High Line’s landscape.

The director of horticulture is a key contributor to the overall park Operations team, and a champion of our horticulture program. They also, critically, support the integration of horticulture with the work of the rest of the organization and day-to-day operations of our active public space.

This is a full-time, exempt position that reports to the vice president of park operations.

Responsibilities/Duties

Primary responsibilities

  • Act as the leading member of the our Horticulture department, taking responsibility for long-term planning and oversight of the High Line’s unique landscape and gardens

  • Evaluate, build, and codify a cohesive landscape management plan that ensures long-term sustainability, consistency in best practices, and management techniques along 1.5 miles of internationally renowned, highly-visited public greenspace

  • Work closely with the Design department to implement and reinforce the design principles of our High Line plantings, while ensuring that the landscape can adapt and react to the rapidly changing cityscape that surrounds it

  • Participate in donor identification, cultivation, and stewardship efforts related to our horticulture; identify new opportunities for donor engagement around horticultural and operational initiatives

  • Actively promote and contribute to our sustainability initiatives in landscape and park management

  • Assess existing landscape challenges and work with Horticulture staff, landscape designers, and consultants to formulate appropriate responses and implement changes as necessary

  • Work in tandem with High Line Art and Public Programs to create horticulture programs

  • Create immediate and long-term strategic departmental goals; communicate updates and plans through the appropriate channels to park visitors, High Line donors, Board members, NYC Parks, and audiences both locally and abroad

  • Work directly with the horticulture manager and horticulture supervisors to oversee the safe day-to-day operations of the Horticulture team

  • Lead weekly meetings with Horticulture staff and articulate departmental priorities on a daily/weekly basis; ensure that work plans are designed and executed in conjunction with such priorities

  • Work with manager of horticulture and horticulture supervisors to provide direction related to individual and group projects, with attention to long-term planning and problem solving

  • Ensure the optimal staffing of the Horticulture team, recruiting, hiring, and training to build out the department and ensure that gardeners receive ongoing instruction and evaluation, while continually expanding their diverse skill sets

  • Communicate regularly with vice president of park operations on the status of projects, providing information and feedback on all horticulture areas

  • Act as part of High Line Operations management team, participating in weekly division meetings, responding to emergency situations on the High Line (including, but not limited to, snow removal), and creating a positive visitor experience

  • Draft RFPs for third party vendors as needed; review proposals, engage, and coordinate activities of third party vendors

  • Evaluate existing plant records and create a long-term plan for translating pertinent information to and print material

  • Work with the vice president of park operations, Horticulture staff, and Public Program staff to develop, organize, and implement horticulture programs, publications, and tours

  • Participate in a range of activities beyond the typical work day, including High Line events and programs, fundraising initiatives, tours, and stewardship and cultivation activities as needed

  • Hands-on support of the Horticulture staff in the field

Qualifications/Requirements

Qualifications

  • 10+ years of horticultural experience with in-depth knowledge of plant culture, maintenance, and identification
  • Successful track record managing a public or private garden and its staff
  • Intuitive understanding of urban and rooftop horticulture and the challenges that come with it
  • In-depth understanding of public/private partnerships
  • Excellent staff management skills
  • Ability to represent the High Line externally by leading tours and giving presentations for a variety of audiences
  • Ability to work long hours, holidays, and weekends as necessary
  • Valid New York State driver’s license or ability to obtain one
  • Solid computer skills required (Microsoft Word/Excel/Outlook)
  • Ability to operate electric equipment and power tools
  • Team-player, willing to physically and intellectually collaborate on all tasks required for maintaining the highest standards of landscape management and operations, programs, development, and communications

Preferred qualifications

  • Experience engaging with a wide variety of stakeholders, including high level donors, city partners and external design firms
  • Understanding or experience with Piet Oudolf design and techniques
  • Advanced degree in horticulture and in-depth knowledge of landscape care and maintenance is preferred
  • OSHA-certified or the ability to be certified
  • Pesticide Applicator’s license or ability to obtain one

Abilities

  • Ability to perform heavy, physical labor on a daily basis in all weather conditions (year-round)
  • Ability to walk, reach, stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl, and regularly lift and/or move 75lbs with proper tools

Additional Information

To apply

Submit a completed application including resume and cover letter via email to our search firm: cc@machlowitz.com. Only those whose applications are being considered will be contacted. No phone calls please.

The High Line is a proud equal opportunity employer and considers applicants for all positions without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, familial or veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected status.

Contact Information

Friends of the High Line
Contact Name: Cynthia Chapman
Email: cc@machlowitz.com