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National Aquarium Looks to the Future with Leadership Changes


Executive-level structural changes implemented as the non-profit continues strategic planning

(Baltimore) – The National Aquarium is pleased to announce several executive-level structural changes. Effective immediately, Dale Schmidt will serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer (COO), and Candace Osunsade will serve as senior vice president and chief of staff.

"I’m pleased to recognize the talent and experience of these two outstanding professionals, both of whom are essential to achieving our vision to set a new standard for aquariums in the 21st century,” said John Racanelli, National Aquarium chief executive officer. “These new roles for Dale and Candace embody our commitment to being a great place to work and developing the very best talent.”

Dale Schmidt, previously National Aquarium senior vice president and chief operating officer, has been promoted to executive vice president and COO. In addition to overseeing guest services, exhibits and design, and capital planning and facilities, Schmidt will now also be responsible for husbandry/animal care, visitor programs, finance/accounting, and information technology. Schmidt joined the National Aquarium in 2013 and has more than 30 years of experience working for accredited zoological organizations. Prior to the National Aquarium, he served as president and CEO of the Columbus Zoological Association; president and CEO of Oregon Coast Aquarium; executive director of Clearwater Marine Aquarium; and vice president of operations of The Florida Aquarium.

As part of the organizational restructure, Candace Osunsade, previously vice president of human resources, has been promoted to senior vice president and chief of staff for the National Aquarium’s new Administration department. In her expanded role, Osunsade will oversee volunteer programs and the administrative team responsible for the management of the Executive Office in addition to human resources. Osunsade also joins the National Aquarium Leadership Team, where she will play an integral role in Aquarium-wide strategic planning and implementation efforts. Prior to joining the National Aquarium in 2008, she served in human resources leadership positions at ADP, Chesapeake Insurance and Erickson Living.