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Director of Operations - Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College - Wolflake, IN

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Job Information:

Company: Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College

Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College Logo

The Director of Operations provides leadership and coordination of all Natural Resources, Facilities, Grounds, Building, and Farm management at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College. This includes coordination and supervision of staff members, leading short- and long-term strategic planning and implementation efforts, and administrative tasks. This person will also engage in special projects relevant to their area of professional expertise as time permits in coordination with other Operations staff members.

In addition to providing leadership for Merry Lea’s Operations working group, the Director of Operations also serves as a senior Merry Lea staff member and assists the Executive Director in providing overall organizational leadership. In this capacity they contribute to organization-wide strategic planning efforts, budget management, grant writing, donor relations, personnel management, and planning and implementation of projects.

Lastly, the Director of Operations supports the educational mission of Merry Lea by supporting and/or directly delivering environmental education and outreach programs classes relevant to their field of expertise. These may include workshops, family programs, special events, or collegiate courses for undergraduate or graduate students.

This is a full-time, exempt salary position (1.0 FTE) with an annual salary of $50,795, plus benefits. Starting date is negotiable but preferred to be before September 30, 2024. Applications accepted until the position is filled.

Essential Functions: 

Coordination of Merry Lea Operations (~50%)

  1. Personnel management
    1. Serve as supervisor and provides leadership for Operations staff (Natural Resources Manager, Facilities & Grounds Manager, Building Manager, Farm Manager, and Operations Assistant), including leading meetings, conducting annual performance reviews, and reviewing/approving weekly time reports, time off requests, and credit card expenses
    2. Coordinate and ensure seamless integration of all aspects of Merry Lea Operations work, including management of natural resources/land, facilities, grounds, buildings and teaching farm, both within the Operations working group and among the entire Merry Lea team
    3. Support recruitment, selection and training of temporary staff and volunteers
    4. Assist in the preparation of policies and procedures for permanent staff, temporary staff, and volunteers related to Merry Lea Operations areas
  2. Planning and implementation
    1. Complete special projects relevant to area of expertise in coordination with relevant Operations staff members
    2. Lead short- and long-term Operations strategic planning within the framework of organization-wide strategic plans and mission
    3. Lead annual effort to determine and prioritize Operations task and projects lists
    4. Ensure that Operations staff achieves goals and objectives established in annual action plans and completes tasks in support of program areas in a timely, effective, cost efficient, and safe manner
    5. Coordinate creation of annual Operations budget with Operations staff
    6. Manage and monitor Operations budget and spending throughout each fiscal year and provide periodic updates to Executive Director
    7. Maintain records related to property, facilities, and natural resources management
    8. Provide reports on Merry Lea Operations activities as requested
    9. Serve as point of contact for county surveyor, planning commission, road commission, health department, and Noble County Rural Electric Membership Cooperative (REMC)

General administrative responsibilities (~40%)

  1. Financial, strategic planning, and reporting
    1. Contribute to short- and long-term organizational strategic planning
    2. Provide specialized reports to the Executive Director and others as needed
    3. Assist Executive Director in preparing and monitoring annual Merry Lea budget, including coordinating creation of program area budgets and drafting annual organizational budget
    4. Prepare quarterly organizational budget summaries and present these to the Merry Lea Board of Trustees
    5. Support organization-wide advancement efforts, including grant writing and donor relations
  2. Management of resources
    1. Oversee purchase of major equipment, such as vehicles
    2. Oversee major external contract projects
    3. Manage and coordinate vehicular registrations and insurance of Merry Lea fleet, as well as insurance issues related to Merry Lea buildings
    4. Coordinate use of Merry Lea property and resources by external and internal researchers, including Goshen College students and faculty, especially in regards to areas designated as IN State Nature Preserve
    5. Manage organizational permits and associated reporting, such as IN DNR Special Purpose Educational Permit, IN DNR Nuisance Wild Animal Control Permit, and USFWS Resident Canada Goose Nest and Egg Depredation Permit
    6. Identify and propose methods for improving efficiency of organizational operations
    7. Assist Executive Director with personnel management and organizational strategic visioning
    8. Provide organizational leadership when the Executive Director is not available
    9. Coordinate and implement special projects as assigned by Executive Director
  3. Board and committee service
    1. Serve as ex officio member of the Merry Lea Board of Trustees
    2. Serve as the Merry Lea representative on the Goshen College Health and Safety Committee and ensure that relevant policies and procedures are being implemented throughout the organization
    3. Represent Merry Lea on external boards and committees as requested and/or approved by the Executive Director

Education/outreach (~10%)

  1. Contribute to positive relationships with the local community members and other target audiences
  2. Provide support for and/or deliver undergraduate and/or graduate courses relevant to area of expertise
  3. Provide support for educational, public programs and special events for a variety of public audiences, including PreK-12, family and adult

Other responsibilities

  1. Participate in Merry Lea staff meetings and meetings of special working groups as necessary
  2. Complete other tasks as assigned

Supervisory Responsibility: 

  • Direct supervision of Operations staff, including Natural Resources Manager, Facilities & Grounds Manager, Building Manager, Farm Manager, and Operations Assistant

Education and/or Experience: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in field relevant to core job responsibilities, such as natural resource/land management, parks/recreational management, wildlife management, agricultural management, or nonprofit management
  • Master’s degree in related field preferred
  • 4 years of project management, personnel management, and/or administrative experience

Certifications, Licenses, Registrations: 

  • Driver’s License

Skills Required: 

  • Demonstrated personnel and operations management experience
  • Demonstrate a commitment to working with individuals and groups from diverse  backgrounds and experiences
  • Ability to establish and maintain positive working relationships with others, both internally and externally, to achieve the goals of the organization
  • Communicates effectively by speaking, writing and listening in a clear, thorough and timely manner
  • Provides positive leadership by coordinating and mentoring others to achieve results that are in the best interest of the organization
  • Foster teamwork within the Operations working group and throughout the organization as a whole to set goals, resolve problems and make decisions that enhance effectiveness
  • Thinks strategically by assessing options and actions based on current and potential future conditions and guided by the mission and strategic direction of the organization
  • Proficiency in word processing and database management; experience utilizing GIS for natural resource or facilities/utilities management is preferred
  • Sophisticated analytical reasoning aimed at providing solutions and increasing efficiency
  • Ability to simultaneously manage multiple projects and priorities
  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Self motivated with good time-management practices
  • Ability to work collaboratively within a team

Physical Demands 

  • Physical mobility: sitting, standing, walking, bending, kneeling
  • Ability to work outside in variable weather conditions
  • Ability to work sitting at a desk for extended periods

Work Environment and Environmental Conditions:  

Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College is a 1,189-acre nature sanctuary located near Wolf Lake, Indiana. We are dedicated to providing environmental education for people of all ages, conserving northern Indiana’s plants and animals, and providing a setting for passive, low-impact environmental recreation. We serve as a department of Goshen College and all employees are subject to Goshen College policies.

This position can expect moderate environmental conditions for the most part, but does include significant work outside where there may be exposure to inclement weather, pollen and spores, venomous snakes, ticks, biting insects and other elements that are part of an intentionally natural environment. This position also includes travel on foot to remote natural areas without pathways and in wet or snowy conditions.

The weekly schedule for this position may include some weekend and evening responsibilities.

All of the essential job functions are subject to reasonable accommodation. All job requirements  listed indicated the minimum level of knowledge, skills, and/or ability deemed necessary to  perform the job proficiently. This job description is not to be construed as an exhaustive  statement of duties, responsibilities or requirements. Individuals may be required to perform  other job-related tasks as requested by the supervisor, subject to reasonable accommodation. This position description may change at the option of the supervisor (or department head). Any major change will result in the position being reviewed for reclassification.


  • Health insurance (employee premium 100% covered)
  • Dental, vision, life and LTD insurance
  • Retirement plans
  • Tuition discounts
  • Free employee membership to Recreation/Fitness Center
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • Paid holidays, vacation and sick leave

See our website for additional benefits information.

How to Apply

Application materials may be attached to the Administrative Faculty Application Form or sent electronically to [email protected].


Job Status:

This job is currently active.