Vice President, Facilities
Bob Wengel is committed to advancing the aquarium’s conservation goals by minimizing the environmental impact of its operations. As vice president of facilities, his responsibilities include managing the Maintenance, Operations, Environmental Services, and Safety and Security departments. In addition, he oversees the administration of 20 maintenance service contracts that include elevator, chiller and fire system testing and maintenance, roofing and tuckpointing, and landscaping services. Wengel’s strong relationships with Shedd executives and employees at all levels have enabled him to advance his vision of a sustainable future for the aquarium.
Wengel’s experience includes managing the 2008 shutdown and renovation of the Abbott Oceanarium, including the temporary relocation of Shedd’s marine mammals to other accredited aquariums and the nine-month construction process. During the renovation, he redesigned the Abbott Oceanarium’s life-support systems with variable frequency drives, which will reduce energy use by an estimated 30 percent over the systems' lifetimes.
In 2012, Wengel was named Facility Executive of the Year by Today’s Facility Manager, a leading specialized trade publication for the nation’s top corporate facility executives in all industry and service sectors. The award recognized Wengel’s success integrating sustainability into the aquarium’s five-year facilities plan. Wengel champions the aquarium’s energy, water and construction sustainability goals by pursuing cutting-edge resource conservation programs that prioritize animal care and comfort for a collection of animals ranging from arctic beluga whales to tropical fishes.
Under his leadership, the Facilities department has accomplished significant savings in energy and water use aquarium wide. Working with teams around the building, Wengel set up a rainwater harvesting system on Shedd’s roof, installed systems that allow water to be reused across exhibits and secured funding to replace thousands of energy-inefficient incandescent light bulbs with LED lights. Most recently, Wengel and executive leaders at Shedd collaborated with the City of Chicago and a team of regional energy experts to create Shedd’s Master Energy Roadmap, which aims to make the aquarium the first clean-energy-powered cultural institution by 2020.
Wengel’s commitment to operational sustainability extends beyond Shedd. He is an active member of the Aquarium and Zoos Facilities Association and serves on the Green Scientific Advisory Group for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Wengel began his career at Shedd as a maintenance carpenter in 1995. He attended Moraine Valley Community College and graduated from Lewis University. Wengel holds a Federal Aviation Administration airframe and powerplant license.