Sudbury, Ontario, Canada – Science North CEO Jim Marchbank has announced that he will step down from leadership of the science centre on May 6, 2011. Marchbank has been CEO of Science North since March of 1987 and will be in his 25th year as CEO when he leaves the position.
Marchbank says now is a good time for the science centre to have new leadership. “When the science centre reopens in March we will have completed the biggest ever exhibit change at Science North. We have now successfully launched an expanded outreach program across the North. We have a great staff team and we are financially stable. This is great time for new ideas, new enthusiasm and new leadership”, said Marchbank.
Marchbank joined Science North two years before it opened in March, 1982, as Director of Development. When he became CEO 5 years later the young science centre had a staff of 42 and a budget of $3.2 million. Today it has almost 100 full-time staff and a budget of almost $18 million.
Marchbank has led a continuously changing science centre. First, it expanded to take over the former Bell Grove arena and convert it to a special exhibits hall. Then it added the F.Jean MacLeod Butterfly Gallery and an IMAX® theatre. Marchbank also led the development of the $22 million Dynamic Earth project and most recently added a digital Planetarium to the science centre’s group of attractions.
Under Marchbank’s leadership the science centre has developed a major export business selling and leasing exhibits. Exhibits have been sold to centres as far afield as Singapore, Sweden, Scotland and Barbados. Science North travelling exhibits have toured all of North America. Its first travelling exhibit, Discovering Chimpanzees, was seen by more than 2.1 million people.
Marchbank led Science North to begin the production and distribution of IMAX films. He served as Executive Producer of three of those films; Jane Goodall’s Wild Chimpanzees, Gold Fever and Mysteries of the Great Lakes.
During his tenure as Science North CEO Jim Marchbank also provided leadership to industry associations. He served as President of the Giant Screen Cinema Association, a worldwide body of educational giant screen theatres. He served twice as President of the Canadian Association of Science Centres after being instrumental in establishing the national body. He served two terms on the board of the international Association of Science Technology Centers.
Jim Marchbank has been recognized for his work as a recipient of the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal and the Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award of the Canadian Association of Science Centres. He was recently presented one of Laurentian University’s 50 Alumni Achievement Awards celebrating the university’s 50-year history. He received an Honourary Doctorate from Sudbury’s Thorneloe University in 2006.
Marchbank says he is moving to a new phase of his career. “I plan to take the summer off but after that I will be out looking for work. I don’t plan another full-time long term job but I think I could offer my experience through part-time, short term or consulting work in the science centre, and cultural and tourism industry sectors both in Canada and abroad. I look forward to new professional challenges”, said Marchbank.
Marchbank credits the success of Science North to others. “Science North enjoys tremendous community support. It has a great Board which encourages innovation. And it has the best, most creative staff of any science centre, anywhere. Those ingredients have been the key to past success and will be the foundation of the ongoing success of Science North.”
Science North Chair Scott Lund paid tribute to Jim Marchbank’s leadership at Science North over the past quarter century. “Jim has always ensured the science centre has clear and focused goals that were shared by the whole organization. He has always seen opportunities to match our goals with government funding initiatives. And, he’s always ensured our great staff team delivers on the centre’s promises. Those have been the leadership ingredients which enable Science North to be recognized worldwide as a leader in informal science learning”, said Lund.
Lund says the Science North Board will soon begin a search process for a new CEO. It plans to have a new CEO appointed before Jim Marchbank leaves the job on May 6.
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