Schindler, a native San Diegan who will join the aquarium on Wednesday, June 18, served until recently as senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the National Aquarium in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., working cross-departmentally to raise National's reputation, improve programming and guest satisfaction, and increase revenues. During his tenure, his team launched two major new exhibits and revamped its communications programs.
Schindler’s appointment is expected to last one year. He replaces Nigella Hillgarth, who served as aquarium executive director for nearly 12 years and was recently named president and CEO of the New England Aquarium in Boston.
Schindler's appointment was announced by Margaret Leinen, director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and UCSD's vice chancellor for marine sciences.
“Birch Aquarium,” Leinen said, “serves the vital role as the public outreach center for Scripps Oceanography with education, interpreting Scripps’ science and conservation at the core of its mission. I’m extremely pleased to have Steve, an outstanding aquarium professional, take the helm as we plan our next chapter of engaging visitors to use critical thinking and to make science relevant to their daily lives.”
“It is an honor,” Schindler said, “to help broaden the reach of Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s science and a privilege to lead Birch Aquarium in its mission of science education and ocean conservation. As a native San Diegan, joining Birch Aquarium to help design plans and strategies to even more deeply engage with the public, on site and virtually, is a dream come true.”