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AVALON, Calif. – Tim Kielpinski, a West Point graduate and former Army captain who has managed facilities at both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, recently joined the Catalina Island Conservancy as its new chief operating officer. He replaces Tony Budrovich, who became the Conservancy’s president and CEO in June.
“We are thrilled to have a leader of Tim’s caliber join our team,” said Budrovich. “Knowing Tim’s management skills and experience, I’m certain he will be a great addition who will share our enthusiasm and commitment for fulfilling the Conservancy’s mission of protecting and restoring Catalina Island and keeping it accessible for the public and Catalina residents to enjoy nature-based recreation.”
Budrovich, who joined the Conservancy in 2015 after spending 18 years in leadership positions at the California Science Center, said he had a short time of overlap with Kielpinski at the California Science Center. Kielpinski served as the Science Center’s assistant deputy director for operations for the past three years. In that job, Kielpinski managed all aspects of the science center’s campus, which hosted about 2.3 million guests per year. He oversaw construction projects and managed a staff of about 80.
Kielpinski noted that “the California Science Center is a diverse campus with a wide range of facilities to be maintained and improved, as well as construction projects that needed oversight. I also gained experience in horticulture, fleet management and IT development. I am looking forward to bringing my understanding of this work to the Conservancy and building on its long history of achieving a balance between protecting the Island’s valuable resources and making the 42,000 acres it stewards available and accessible for the public.”
Kielpinski graduated from West Point and began his career in the U.S. Army, where he served for nine years and rose to the rank of captain and company commander. He then worked for two IT companies in Alabama, and moved to California in 2002 to become the owner and general manager of a retail garden center in Tehachapi before joining the California Science Center in 2013.
Kielpinski is an avid backpacker and lover of the outdoors. He has moved to Catalina where he said he’s looking forward to hiking and mountain biking. He has hiked parts of the Pacific Crest and John Muir trails and climbed to the top of Mount Whitney, the highest summit in the contiguous United States.
“Catalina is such a special place,” he said. “It is so close to LA but a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. I feel very fortunate to be here.”
The Catalina Island Conservancy was formed in 1972 and is one of California’s oldest land trusts. Its mission is to be a responsible steward of its lands through a balance of conservation, education and recreation. The Conservancy protects the magnificent natural and cultural heritage of Santa Catalina Island, stewarding approximately 42,000 acres of land, 62 miles of rugged shoreline and more than 80 miles of trails. It operates the Airport in the Sky, Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden and two nature centers. Twenty miles from the mainland, the Island is home to more than 60 plant and animal species found nowhere else in the world.
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