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Executive Profile: Brian Joseph

Resume

Name: Brian E. Joseph, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.

Organization: Chula Vista Nature Center (Also serves with 109th Medical Detachment —Veterinary Services, Camp As Sayliyah, Doha, Qatar).

Title: Executive Director.

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Number of employees: 23.

Web site: www. chulavistanaturecenter.org.

Education: A.A., Southwestern Community College; B.S., San Diego State University; DVM, University of California Davis; presently in Master’s Degree Program in Public Health, University of Minnesota.

Age: 59.

Current Residence: Escondido.

Family: Wife, Sally; Sons Zack, 28, and Max, 25.

After 24 years in operation, the Chula Vista Nature Center is far from the new kid on the block. Yet, this “zoo” and “aquarium” on San Diego Bay and the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge has spent the past year reinventing itself after splitting with the City of Chula Vista to form a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in late-2009. Executive Director Brian Joseph has been at the helm of the organization during this challenging and exciting time.

ORGANIZATION

Mission: The Chula Vista Nature Center provides a quality zoological experience while promoting coastal resource conservation and environmental stewardship through education.

Year founded: 1987.

Milestones: Split from the City of Chula Vista and transitioned successfully to nonprofit status in fall of 2009.

Annual revenue: $900,000.

Annual revenue: $900,000.

Corporate supporters: AT & T; Goodrich Corp.; Pacifica Companies; Marine Group Boat Works; SDG & E; Cox Communications Inc.; Allied Waste Industries; Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLC; Winzer Corp.; Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; and several other companies and organizations.

Board Chair: Susan Fuller.

Number of board members: 19.

Number of volunteers: 200+

Major events: First Seasonal Exhibit opening in March — Art Aquatic: Sea Life + Glass Works; Annual “Where the Wild Things Are” Food & Wine Classic — May 14, 2011; Quarterly Critters & Cocktails Mixers; ongoing lecture series.

Wish list: Increased public funding, in-kind donations of products or services for projects, animals and programs.

OFFICE ISSUES

Recent challenge: Loss of nearly all public funding, transitioning to nonprofit operation, transitioning staff to nonprofit employees.

Measures of success: Increases in program revenue, fundraising and admissions, as well as greater community engagement.

Smartest move: Effectively hiring the most talented, most dedicated staff to transition to success.

Misconception: Perceived as part of the City of Chula Vista.

Professional Insights

Toughest aspect: Too much that needs to be done too quickly in the toughest economy in decades.

Most surprising aspect: City’s excellent cooperation during the transition.

Biggest pain: Being in Southwest Asia (serving in military) paying a debt to society. However, the military working dogs keep me company, and make me smile (Dr. Joseph serves with the U.S. Army Reserve Veterinary Corps).

Greatest pleasures: Working with outstanding associates and a dedicated, trusting board, with a wonderful mission.

INTROSPECTIONS

Best recent moment: Developing our first major seasonal exhibit — Art Aquatic

Worst recent moment: They never happen.

Downtime: Fishing from a kayak or boat and bottlenose dolphin field work.

Causes: Tijuana Humane Society, San Diego Blood Bank.

Most like to meet: Jimmy Carter, Lyndon Johnson (Yes, I know he is dead).

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